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Title: The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare
Author: Jusserand, J. J. (Jean Jules), 1855-1932
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  | w^ch                                                       |


     =SHAKESPEARE IN FRANCE.= Illustrated. Demy 8vo, cloth, 21s.
     Also 20 Copies on Japan paper, signed, £2 2s.

     Fourth and Revised Edition. Illustrated. Large crown 8vo,
     cloth, 7s. 6d.

     "A handsome volume, which may be warmly recommended to all
     who wish to obtain a picture of one aspect of English life
     in the fourteenth century."--_Academy._

     "An extremely fascinating book."--_Times._

     DE COMINGES).= From his Unpublished Correspondence. Ten
     Portraits. Large Crown 8vo, cloth, 7s. 6d.

     "Is sure to interest any one who takes it up."--_Speaker._

     "The whole book is delightful reading."--_Spectator._

     Frontispiece and 4 other Full-page Illustrations. Large
     Crown 8vo, cloth, 7s. 6d.

     =PIERS PLOWMAN, 1362-1398: A Contribution to the History of
     English Mysticism.= With a Heliogravure Frontispiece and
     Twenty-three other Engravings. Demy 8vo, cloth, gilt top,

     "M. Jusserand has once more made English literature his
     debtor by his admirable monograph on Piers Plowman.... It is
     a masterly contribution to the history of our literature,
     inspired by rare delicacy of critical

     "The work is marked by the felicitous insight and vivid
     suggestiveness that charm us in previous writings by the
     same author."--_Saturday Review._

     to the Renaissance.= Demy 8vo, cloth, 12s. 6d. nett.


[Illustration: QUEEN ELIZABETH.]












_First Edition, May, 1890._
_Reprinted November, 1895._
_Reprinted March, 1899._

[_All rights reserved._]

_The work here presented to English readers was published in French
three years ago in an abbreviated form. Worthy of attention as are the
older novelists of Great Britain, it was not to be expected that details
about Chettle, Munday, Ford, or Crowne, would prove very acceptable
south of the Channel, especially when it is remembered that the history
of French fiction, not an insignificant one, from "Aucassin" to "Jehan
de Saintré," to "Gargantua," and to "Astrée," still remains to be
written. A compressed account of the subject, amounting to scarcely more
than a hundred pages of the present volume, was therefore deemed
sufficient to satisfy such craving as there was for information
concerning Nash, Greene, Lodge, and the more important among their
peers. According to the publishers of the book this estimate was not
fallacious, and there were no complaints of omission.

When the honour of a translation was proposed for the small volume, it
appeared that a more thorough account of the distant forefathers of the
novelists of to-day would perhaps be acceptable in England; for here the
question was of countrymen and ancestors. The work was for this reason
entirely remodelled and rewritten in order to furnish fuller particulars
on our authors' lives and works, and to extract from their darksome
place of retirement such forgotten heroes as Zelauto, Sorares, Parismus,
who had, some of them, once upon a time, been known to fame, and had
played their part in the toilsome task of bringing the modern English
novel to shape.

In writing of Shakespeare's contemporaries, care has been taken to enable
the reader to judge them on their own merits. With this view an effort has
been made to illustrate their spirit by what was best in their books, and
not necessarily what would recall the master-dramatist's works, and would
expose them to the extreme danger of being dwarfed by him beyond desert,
and of fading away in his light as moths in the sunshine. Considered from
this standpoint, they will not, however, cease to offer some degree of
interest to the Shakespearean student, for this process makes us aware not
merely of what materials Shakespeare happened to use, but from what stores
he chose them. On this account such works as Greene's tales of real life
have been studied at some length, and a chapter has been devoted to Nash,
who, high as he stands among the older novelists, has been allowed to pass
unnoticed as a tale writer by all historians of fiction. If, therefore, a
large use has been made of the publications of learned societies devoted
to the study of Shakespeare, liberal recourse also has been had to the
depositories of old original pamphlets, to the Bodleian library
especially, where, surprising as it may be in this age of reprints, single
copies of early novels, not to be met anywhere else, are even now to be
found. Some other writings of the same kind, even less known, such as
"Zelinda," a very witty parody of a romantic tale by Voiture, the
"Adventures of Covent Garden," illustrative of the novel and the drama in
the seventeenth century, were found in the primitive and only issue nearer
at hand, in that matchless granary of knowledge, whose name no student can
pronounce without a feeling of awe, because it is so noble, and of
gratitude, because it is so generously administered, the British Museum.

Engravings have been added, for it seemed that scattered as the rare
originals of our tales remain, it would be of assistance to gather
together those curious characteristics. They give an idea of the kind of
illustrations then in fashion, of the sort of appearance some of our
authors wore; they show how in the course of centuries, Guy of Warwick
was transformed from an armour-clad knight into a plain squire with a
cane and a cocked hat; and they exemplify the way in which foreign
artists were in several cases imitated with the burin, in the same books
in which foreign literary models were imitated with the pen. Objection
having been taken, in the very kindly criticisms passed upon this work,
to the absence of the only known representation of Greene, this defect
has been supplied in the present edition.

I need not say that the translator of the portions written originally in
French took the trouble to overlook my additions, and to revise my
revisions. I need say that my heartiest thanks are due also to the
well-known Elizabethan scholar, Mr. A. H. Bullen, who, putting aside for
a while much more important work, has shown me the great kindness of
reading the proofs of this volume.              J._




TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                    5

EXPLANATORY LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                                   11

INTRODUCTION                                                        23


_BEFORE SHAKESPEARE_                                                31

   I. Remote origin of the novel--Old historical romances or

   The French conquest of England in the eleventh
   century--The mind and literature of the new-comers--Their
   romances, their short tales                                      31

   II. Effects of the conquest on the minds of the English
   inhabitants--Slow awakening of the native
   writers--Awakening of the clerks, of the translators and
   imitators--The English inhabitants connected through a
   literary imposture with Troy and the classical nations of
   antiquity--Consequences of this imposture.

   Chaucer--His lack of influence on later prose
   novelists--The short prose tales of the French never
   acclimatized in England before the Renaissance--More's
   Latin "Utopia"                                                   37

   III. Printing--Caxton's _rôle_--Part allotted to fiction
   in the list of his books--Morte Darthur.

   Development of printing--Mediæval romances set in type in
   the sixteenth century                                            52


NOVEL_                                                              69

   I. The Renaissance and the awakening of a wider
   curiosity--Travelling in Italy--Ascham's censures                69

   II. Italian invasion of England--Italian books
   translated, Boccaccio, Ariosto, Tasso, &c.

   English collections of short stories imitated from the
   French or Italian--Separate short stories--Lucrece of
   Sienna--A "travelling literature"                                74

   III. Learning--Erasmus' judgment and prophecies--The part
   played by women--They want books written for
   themselves--Queen Elizabeth, her talk, her tastes, her
   dress, her portraits--The "paper work" architecture of
   the time                                                         87


_LYLY AND HIS "EUPHUES"_                                           103

   I. "Euphues," a book for women                                  103

   II. "Euphuism," its foreign origin--How embellished and
   perfected by Lyly--Fanciful natural history of the
   time--The mediæval bestiaries--Topsell's scientific works       106

   III. The plot of the novel--Moral tendencies of
   "Euphues"--Lyly's precepts concerning men, women and
   children                                                        123

   IV. Lyly's popularity--Courtly talk of the
   time--Translations and abbreviations of "Euphues" in the
   seventeenth and eighteenth centuries                            135


_LYLY'S LEGATEES_                                                  145

   I. Lyly's influence--His principal heirs and successors,
   Riche, Dickenson, Melbancke, Munday, Warner, Greene,
   Lodge, &c.                                                      145

   II. Robert Greene's biography--His autobiographical
   tales--His life and repentance, characteristic of the
   times                                                           150

   III. His love stories and romantic tales--His
   extraordinary success--His tales of real life--His fame
   at home and abroad                                              167

   IV. N. Breton, an imitator of Greene--Thomas Lodge, a
   legatee of Lyly--His life--His "Rosalynd" and other
   works--His relation to Shakespeare                              192


ROMANCE_                                                           217

   Of shepherds.

   I. Sidney's life--His travels and friendship with
   Languet--His court life and love--His death--The end of
   "Stella"                                                        219

   II. Sidney's works--Miscellaneous writings--The
   "Apologie"--Sidney's appreciation of the poetic and
   romantic novel.

   The "Arcadia," why written--Sidney's various heroes:
   shepherds, knights, princesses, &c.--Eclogues and
   battles, fêtes, masques and tournaments--Anglo-arcadian
   architecture, gardens, dresses and furniture.

   Sidney's object according to Fulke Greville, and
   according to himself--His lovers--Youthful love, unlawful
   love, foolish love, innocent love--Pamela's prayer--The
   final imbroglio.

   Sidney's style as a novel writer--His wit and
   brightness--His eloquence--His bad taste--His fanciful
   ornaments                                                       228

   III. Sidney's reputation in England--Continuators,
   imitators, and admirers among dramatists, poets and
   novelists--Shakespeare, Jonson, Day, Shirley,
   Quarles--Lady Mary Wroth and her novel--Sidney's
   reputation in the eighteenth century, Addison, Young,
   Walpole, Cowper--Chap-books.

   In France--He is twice translated, and gives rise to a
   literary quarrel--Charles Sorel's judgment in the "Berger
   extravagant," and Du Bartas' praise--Mareschal's drama
   out of the "Arcadia"--Niceron and Florian                       260


REALISTIC NOVEL_                                                   287

   I. Merry books as a preservative of health--Sidney's
   contempt for the comic.

   Studies in real life--The picaresque tale; its Spanish
   origin--Its success in Europe---Lazarillo and Guzman            287

   II. Thomas Nash--His birth, education and life--His
   writings, his temperament--His equal fondness for mirth
   and for lyrical poetry--His literary theories on art and
   style--His vocabulary, his style.

   His picaresque novel, "Jack Wilton"--Scenes and
   characters--Observation of nature--Dramatic and
   melodramatic parts--Historical personages--Nash's
   troubles on account of "Jack Wilton."

   His other works--Scenes of light comedy in
   them--Portraits of the upstart, of the sectary, &c.             295

   III. Nash's successors--H. Chettle--Chettle's combined
   imitation of Nash, Greene and Sidney.

   Dekker--His dramatic and poetical faculty--His prose
   works--His literary connection with Nash--His pictures of
   real life--His humour and gaiety--Grobianism--A gallant
   at the play-house in the time of Shakespeare--Defoe and
   Swift as distant heirs                                          327


_AFTER SHAKESPEARE_                                                347

   I. Heroical romances--Their origin mainly French--The new
   heroism _à panache_ on the stage, in epics, in the novel,
   in real life--The heroic ideal--The Hôtel de Rambouillet        347

   II. Heroes and heroism _à panache_ migrate to
   England--Their welcome in spite of the
   Puritans--Translations of French romances--Use of French
   engravings--Imitation and appreciation of French
   manners--Orinda, the Duchess of Newcastle, Dorothy
   Osborne, Mrs. Pepys                                             362

   III. Original English novels in the heroical style--Roger
   Boyle, J. Crowne--Heroism on the stage                          383

   IV. Reaction in France--Sorel, Scarron, Furetière,
   &c.--Reaction in England--"Adventures of Covent Garden,"
   "Zelinda," &c.                                                  397

   V. Conclusion--The end of the period--Ingelo, Harrington,
   Mrs. Behn; how she anticipates Rousseau.

   Connection between the master-novelists of the eighteenth
   century and the prentice-novelists of the sixteenth             411

INDEX                                                              419

[Illustration: ARIES.]

[Illustration: TAURUS.]


1.--Queen Elizabeth in State costume, with the royal
     insignia, after the engraving by William Rogers (born
     in London, about 1545)                             _Frontispiece_

2 to 13.--The signs of the Zodiac, after Robert Greene's
     "Francesco's Fortunes," 1590. Towards the end of this
     novel a palmer is asked by his host to leave a
     remembrance of his visit in his entertainer's house;
     the palmer engraves on an ivory arch verses and
     drawings illustrating at the same time, and in the same
     way as the signs of the Zodiac, both the course of the
     year and the course of human life                _p. 9 et passim_
     [_tail-pieces to all the chapters_]

14.--An Elizabethan Shepherdess, from a wood-block
     illustrating a ballad (the inscription added)                  23

15.--Beginning of the unique MS. of "Beowulf," preserved
     in the British Museum                                          31

16.--Chaucer's pilgrims seated round the table of the
     "Tabard" at Southwark, a reproduction of Caxton's
     engraving in his second edition of the "Canterbury
     Tales," 1484                                                   45

17.--Robert the devil on horseback (_alias_ Romulus), being
     the frontispiece of several romances in verse published
     by Wynkyn de Worde, London, 1510 (?), 8vo. The history
     of Robert is illustrated throughout                            57

18.--The knight of the swan, from the frontispiece of the
     metrical romance: "The Knight of the Swanne. Here
     beginneth the history of ye noble Helyas knyght of the
     swanne, newly translated out of frensshe," London,
     Copland, 1550 (?), 4to                                         61

19.--"Then went Guy to fayre Phelis." From the metrical
     romance "Guy of Warwick," London, 1550 (?), 4to, Sig.
     Cc. iij                                                        65

20.--Drawing by Isaac Oliver (b. 1556) after an Italian
     model, from the original preserved in the British
     Museum; illustrative of the cultivation of Italian art
     by Englishmen in Tudor times                                   69

21.--Frontispiece to Harington's translation of Ariosto,
     London, 1591, fol. This engraving and the numerous
     copper-plates adorning this very fine book are usually
     said to be English. But these plates were in fact a
     product of Italian art, being the work of Girolamo
     Porro, of Padua; they are to be found in the Italian
     edition of Ariosto published at Venice in 1588, and in
     various other editions. The English engraver, Thomas
     Coxon (or Cockson), whose signature is to be seen at
     the bottom of the frontispiece, only drew the portrait
     of Harington in the space filled in the original by a
     figure of Peace. Coxon, according to the "Dictionary of
     National Biography" and other authorities, is supposed
     to have flourished from about 1609 to 1630 or 1636. The
     date on this plate (1st August, 1591), shows that he
     began to work nearly twenty years earlier.

     It must be added that this portrait of Harington has an
     Italian softness and elegance, and differs greatly in
     its style from the other portraits signed by Coxon
     (portrait of Samuel Daniel on the title-page of his
     Works, 1609; of John Taylor, "Workes," 1630, etc.). It
     is possible that Harington's portrait was merely drawn
     by Coxon, and engraved by an Italian                           77

22.--How the knight Eurialus got secretly into his
     lady-love's chamber. From the German version of the
     history of the Lady Lucrece of Sienna, 1477, fol. (a
     copy in the British Museum)                                    82

23.--Queen Cleopatra as represented on the English stage in
     the eighteenth century: Mrs. Hartley in "All for
     Love"; Page's engraving, dated 1776, for Bell's
     "Theatre"                                                      97

24.--Sketches made by Inigo Jones in Italy, 1614; from his
     sketch-book reproduced in fac-simile by the care of the
     Duke of Devonshire, London, 1832                              100

25.--Persians standing as caryatides, from a drawing by
     Inigo Jones for the circular court projected at
     Whitehall, and reproduced by W. Kent: "The Drawings of
     Inigo Jones," London, 1835, 2 vols., fol.                     101

26.--A dragon according to Topsell, "The historie of
     Serpents," London, 1608, fol., p. 153                         103

27.--The "Ægyptian or land crocodile," according to
     Topsell's "Historie of Serpents," London, 1608, fol.,
     p. 140                                                        109

28.--A Hippopotamus taking its food, according to Topsell's
     "Historie of foure footed beastes," London, 1607, fol.,
     p. 328                                                        113

29.--"The true picture of the Lamia," _ibid._, p. 453              117

30.--"The boas," from Topsell's "Serpents," 1608,
     frontispiece                                                  121

31.--The Great Sea-serpent, _ibid._, p. 236                        125

32.--Knightly pastimes; Hawking; illustrative of Gerismond's
     life in the forest of Arden as described in Lodge's
     "Rosalynd"; from Turberville's "Booke of Faulconerie,"
     London, 1575, 4to, frontispiece                               144

33.--Another dragon from Topsail's "Serpents," 1608, p. 153        145

33A.--Robert Greene in his shroud, from Dickenson's "Greene
     in conceipt," 1598                                            161

34.--Yet another dragon, from Topsell's "Serpents," p. 153         171

35.--Velvet breeches and cloth breeches, from Greene's
     "Quip," 1592, frontispiece                                    190

36.--Preparing for the Hunt, from Turberville's "Noble Arte
     of Venerie or Hunting," London, 1575, 4to, frontispiece       205

37.--Penshurst, Sidney's birthplace, from a drawing by
     M. G. du Thuit.

        "Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show
         Of touch or marble ...
         Thou hast thy walks for health as well as sport ...
         That taller tree which of a nut was set
         At his great birth, where all the Muses met."

     (Ben Jonson, "The Forest")                                    217

38.--A shepherd of Arcady, as seen on the title-page of various
     editions of Sidney's "Arcadia," _e.g._, the third, 1598       242

39.--A Princess of Arcady, _ibid._ 243

40.--Argalus and Parthenia reading a book in their garden; from
     Quarles' poem of "Argalus and Parthenia," London, 1656,
     4to, p. 135                                                   265

41.--"The renowned Argalus and Parthenia":

        "See the fond youth! he burns, he loves, he dies;
         He wishes as he pines and feeds his famish'd eyes."

     From "The unfortunate Lovers, the History of Argalus and
     Parthenia, in four books," London, 12mo, a chap-book of
     the eighteenth century. Frontispiece                          273

42.--"How the two princesses, Pamela and her sister
     Philoclea, went to bath themselves in the river Ladon,
     accompanied with Zelmane and Niso: And how Zelmane
     combated with Amphialus for the paper and glove of the
     princess Philoclea, and what after hapned." From "The
     famous history of heroick acts ... being an abstract of
     Pembroke's Arcadia," London, 1701, 12mo, p. 31. Not
     without truth does the publisher state that the book is
     illustrated with "curious cuts, the like as yet not
     extant"                                                        275

43.--"How the two illustrious princesses, Philoclea and
     Pamela, being Basilius's only daughters, were married to
     the two invincible princes, Pyrocles of Macedon and
     Musidorus of Thessalia: and of the glorious
     entertainments that graced the happy nuptials," from the
     same chap-book, p. 139                                         277

44.--An interior view of the Swan Theatre in the time
     of Shakespeare, from a drawing by John de Witt, 1596,
     recently discovered in the Utrecht library by M. K. T.
     Gaedertz, of Berlin. Reproduced as illustrative of
     Dekker's "Horne-booke," 1609 (_infra_, ch. vi. § 3).
     Spectators have not been represented. They must be
     supposed to fill the pit, "planities sive arena," where
     they remained standing in the open air, and the covered
     galleries. The more important people were seated on the
     stage. Actors, to perform their parts, came out of the
     two doors inscribed "mimorum ædes." The boxes above
     these doors, concerning which some doubts have been
     expressed, seem to be what was called "the Lords'
     room." "Let our gallant," says Dekker, "advance himself
     up to the throne of the stage. I meane not the Lords
     roome (which is now but stages suburbs): no, those
     boxes, by the iniquity of custome, conspiracy of
     waiting women and gentlemen ushers, that there sweat
     together, and the covetousness of sharers are
     contemptibly thrust into the reare, and much new satten
     is there dambd by being smothrd to death in darknesse.
     But on the very rushes, where the comedy is to daunce,
     yea and under the state of Cambises himselfe must our
     fethered Estridge be planted valiantly, because
     impudently, beating downe the mewes and hisses of
     opposed rascality" ("Works," ed. Grosart, vol. ii. p.
     247)                                                          286

45.--Elizabethan gaieties. The actor Kemp's dance to
     Norwich, from the frontispiece of "Kemps nine daies
     wonder performed in a from London to Norwich,
     containing the pleasure, paines and kind entertainment
     of William Kemp betweene London and that city ...
     written by himselfe to satisfie his friends," London,
     1600, reprinted by Dyce, Camden Society, 1840, 4to            287

46.--Portrait of Nash, from "Tom Nash his ghost ...
     written by Thomas Nash his ghost" (no date). A copy in
     the British Museum                                            326

47.--Portrait of Dekker, from "Dekker his dreame," a
     poem by the same, London, 1620, frontispiece                  333

48.--Heroical deeds in an heroical novel. "Pandion
     slayes Clausus," from "Pandion and Amphigenia," by J.
     Crowne, London, 1665, 8vo                                     347

49.--Sir Guy of Warwick addressing a skull, in a
     churchyard, from "The history of Guy, earl of Warwick,"
     1750? (a chap-book), p. 18                                    350

50.--Burial of Sir Guy of Warwick, from the same chap-book         351

51.--A map of the "tendre" country. The original map
     was inserted by Mdlle. de Scudéry in her novel of
     "Clélie," Paris, 1654, _et seq._, 10 vols., 8vo, vol.
     i. p. 399. It was a map drawn by Clelia and sent by her
     to Herminius, and which "showed how to go from New
     Friendship to Tender." It was reproduced in the English
     translations of "Clélie"; the plate we give is taken
     from the edition of 1678                                      359

52.--Endymion plunged into the river in the presence of
     Diana, after an engraving by C. de Pas, in "L'Endimion
     de Gombauld," Paris, 1624, 8vo, p. 223. The French
     plates were sent to England and used for the English
     version of this novel: "Endimion, an excellent fancy
     ... interpreted by Richard Hurst," London, 1639, 8vo          367

53.--Frontispiece to Part IV. of the translation of La
     Calprenède's "Cléopatre," by Robert Loveday: "Hymen's
     præludia or Loves master-piece," London, 1652, _et
     seq._, 12mo. This frontispiece was drawn according to
     the instructions of Loveday himself, "Loveday's
     Letters," Letter lxxxiii.                                     371

54.--A fashionable conversation, from the frontispiece
     of "La fausse Clélie," by P. de Subligny, Amsterdam,
     1671, 12mo. An enlarged plate was made after this one,
     to serve as frontispiece to the English version of the
     same work: "The mock Clelia, being a comical history of
     French gallantries ... in imitation of Don Quixote,"
     London, 1678, 8vo                                             375

55.--Conversations and telling of stories at the house
     of the Duchess of Newcastle, from a drawing by Abr. a
     Diepenbeck, engraved for her book: "Natures pictures
     drawn by Fancies pencil to the life," London, 1656, fol.      379

56.--Moorish heroes, from an engraving in Settle's
     drama: "The Empress of Morocco," London, 1673, 4to            393

57.--A poet's dream realized, from the English version
     of Sorel's "Berger Extravagant," "The extravagant
     Shepherd," London, 1653, fol., translated by John
     Davies. The usual description of the heroine of a novel
     has been taken to the letter by the engraver, who
     represents Love sitting on her forehead, and lilies and
     roses on her cheeks. Two suns have taken the place of
     her eyes, her teeth are actual pearls, &c.                    401

[Illustration: GEMINI.]


The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare.


The London publishers annually issue statistics of the works that have
appeared in England during the year. Sometimes sermons and books on
theology reach the highest figures; England is still the England of the
Bible, the country that at the time of the Reformation produced three
hundred and twenty-six editions of the Scriptures in less than a
century, and whose religious literature is so abundant that to-day
twenty-eight volumes of the British Museum catalogue treat of the single
word Bible. When theology does not obtain the first rank, it holds the
second. The only writings that can compete with it, in the country of
Shakespeare, of Bacon and of Newton, are neither dramas, nor books of
philosophy nor scientific treatises; they are novels. Theology had the
supremacy in 1885; novels obtained it in 1887, 1888, and 1889. Omitting
stories written for children, nine hundred and twenty-nine novels were
published in England in 1888, and one thousand and forty in 1889. Thus
the conscientious critic who wished to acquaint himself with all of them
would have to read more than two novels and a half, often in three
volumes, every day all the year round, without stopping even on Sundays.

This passion for the novel which does not exist in the same degree in
any other nation, only acquired its full strength in England in the
eighteenth century. At that time English novels produced in Europe the
effect of a revelation; they were praised extravagantly, they were
copied, they were imitated, and the popularity hitherto enjoyed by the
"Princesse de Clèves," "Marianne," and "Gil Blas," was obscured for a
while. "I say that Anglicism is gaining on us," wrote d'Argenson; "after
'Gulliver' and 'Pamela,' here comes 'Tom Jones,' and they are mad for
him; who could have imagined eighty years ago that the English would
write novels and better ones than ours? This nation pushes ahead by
force of unrestricted freedom."[1]

Modern society had at length found the kind of literature which could
be most suitably employed to depict it. Society had been presented on
the English stage by the authors of domestic comedies; Steele and
Addison had painted it in their essays. But in both forms the portrait
was incomplete. The exigencies of the stage, the necessary brevity of
the essay, made it impossible to give adequate expression to the
infinite complexity of the subject. The novel created anew by Defoe,
Fielding, and Richardson, made it an easy thing to introduce into the
arena of literature those men and women of intelligence and feeling who,
for long ages, had been pleased to see other people the chief subjects
of books and inwardly desired that authors should at last deal more
especially with themselves. The age of chivalry was gone; the time of
the Arthurs and the Tristans had passed away; such a society as the new
one could not so well be sung in verse; but it could extremely well be
described in prose.

As Fielding remarked, the novel takes the place of the old epic. We
think of the Harlowes when in the olden time we should have dreamed of
the Atridæ. While man's attachment to science and demonstrated truth is
growing year by year, so, simultaneously, the art of the historian and
the art of the novelist, both essentially empirical, become more highly
valued and more widely cultivated. As for the lengthy tales devoted to
Tristan and to "l'Empereur magne," we know that their day is done, and
we think of them with all the pensive tenderness we cannot help feeling
for the dead, for the dim past, for a race without posterity, for
childhood's cherished and fast-fading dreams. Thus in the same age when
Clarissa Harlowe and Tom Jones came to their kingdom, the poets
Chatterton, Percy, Beattie, and others, turned back lovingly to the
Middle Ages; and thus too the new taste for history, archæology, and the
painting of real life, all put together and combined, ended by producing
a particular school of novel, the _romantic_ school, at whose head
stands Sir Walter Scott.

Perhaps, however, something besides poetry is to be sought for in these
bygone epochs. Movements of human thought have seldom that suddenness
with which they are sometimes credited; if those literary innovations,
apparently so spasmodic, are carefully and closely studied, it will be
nearly always found that the way had been imperceptibly prepared for
them through the ages. We are in the habit of beginning the history of
the English novel with Defoe or Richardson; but was there no work of the
kind in England before their time? had they to invent it all, matter and
method? It is not enough to say that the gift of observation and
analysis was inborn in the race, as shown already, long before the
eighteenth century, in the work of the dramatists, moralists and
philosophers. Had not the same gift already manifested itself in the

The truth is that the novel shed its first splendour during the age of
Elizabeth; but the glory of Shakespeare has overshadowed the multitude
of the lesser authors of his time, a multitude which included the early
novelists. While they lived, however, they played no insignificant part;
now they are so entirely forgotten that it will perhaps be heard with
some surprise that they were prolific, numerous, and very popular. So
great was the demand for this kind of literature that some succeeded in
making an income out of their novels. Their books went through many
editions for that age, many more than the majority of Shakespeare's
plays. They were translated into French at a time when even the name of
the great dramatist was entirely unknown to the French people. Lyly's
"Euphues," for example, went through five editions in five years; in the
same period "Hamlet" passed through only three, and "Romeo and Juliet"
through two editions. Not a line of Shakespeare was put into French
before the eighteenth century, while prose fictions by Nash, Greene, and
Sidney were translated more than a century earlier.

As in our own day, some of these novelists busied themselves chiefly
with the analysis of passion and refined emotion; others chiefly
concerned themselves with minute observation of real life, and strove to
place before the reader the outward features of their characters in a
fashion impressive enough to enable him to realize what lay below the
surface. Many of these pictures of manners and of society were
considered by contemporaries good likenesses, not the less so because
embellished. Thus, having served as models to the novelists, the men and
women of the day in their turn took as example the copies that had been
made from them. They had had their portraits painted and then tried hard
to resemble their counterfeit presentments. Lyly and Sidney embellished,
according to the taste of the age, the people around them, whom they
chose as patterns for the heroes of their novels; and as soon as their
books were spread over the country, fashionable ladies distinguished
themselves from the common sort by being "Arcadian" or "Euphuizd."[2]

Thus through these very efforts, a literature, chiefly intended for
women, was arising in England, and this is one characteristic more that
links these authors to our modern novelists. So that, perhaps, bonds,
closer than we imagine, unite those old writers lost in a far-off past
with the novelists whose books reprinted a hundred times are to be found
to-day on every reading-table and in everybody's hands.

We make no pretence of covering in the present volume this vast and
little trodden field. To keep within reasonable bounds we shall have to
leave altogether, or barely mention, the collections of tales translated
by Paynter, Whetstone and others from the Italian or French, although
they were well known to Shakespeare, and provided him with several of
his plots. In spite of their charm, we shall in like manner pass by the
simple popular prose tales, which were also very numerous, the stories
of Robin Hood, of Tom-a-Lincoln, of Friar Bacon, however "merry and
pleasant," they may be, "not altogether unprofitable, nor any way
hurtfull, very fitte to passe away the tediousness of the long winters
evenings."[3] We intend to deal here chiefly with those writers from
whom our modern novelists are legitimately descended. These descendants,
improving upon the early examples of their art left by the Elizabethan
novelists, have won for themselves a lasting place in literature, and
their works are among the undisputed pleasures of our lives. Our
gratitude may rightly be extended from them to their progenitors. We
must be permitted, therefore, to go far back in history, nearly as far
as the Flood. The journey is long, but we shall travel rapidly. It was,
moreover, the customary method of many novelists of long ago to begin
with the beginning of created things. Let their example serve as our

[Illustration: CANCER.]


[1] "Mémoires et Journal inédit du Marquis d'Argenson," Paris, 1857, 5
vols.; vol. v., "Remarques en lisant."

[2] Dekker, "The Guls Horne-booke," 1609.

[3] "The Gentle Craft," 1598. "Early English Prose Romances," ed. W. J.
Thoms, London, 2nd edition, 1858, 3 vols., 8vo, contents: "Robert the
Devyll," "Thomas of Reading," by Thomas Deloney, "Fryer Bacon," "Frier
Rush," "George a Green," "Tom-a-Lincoln," by Richard Johnson, "Doctor
Faustus," &c. Nearly all the stories in this collection bear the date of
Shakespeare's time.





Minute research has been made, in every country, into the origin of the
drama. The origin of the novel has rarely tempted the literary
archæologist. For a long time the novel was regarded as literature of a
lower order; down almost to our time, critics scrupled to speak of it.
When M. Villemain in his course of lectures on the eighteenth century
came to Richardson, he experienced some embarrassment, and it was not
without oratorical qualifications and certain bashful doubts that he
dared to announce lectures on "Clarissa Harlowe" and "Sir Charles
Grandison." He sought to justify himself on the ground that it was
necessary to track out a special influence derived from England, "the
influence of imagination united to moral sentiment in eloquent prose."
But this neglect can be explained still better. We can at need fix the
exact period of the origin of the drama. It is not the same with the
novel. We may go as far back as we please, yet we find the thin
ramifications of the novel, and we may say literally that it is as old
as the world itself. Like man himself, was not the world rocked in the
cradle of its childhood to the accompaniment of stories and tales? Some
were boldly marvellous; others have been called historical; but very
often, in spite of the dignity of the name, the "histories" were nothing
but collections of traditions, of legends, of fictions: a kind of novel.
This noble antiquity might doubtless have been invoked as a further
justification by M. Villemain and have confirmed the reasons drawn from
the "moral sentiment and eloquence" of novels, reasons which were such
as to rather curtail the scope of his lectures.

In England as much and even more than with any other modern nation,
novelists can pride themselves upon a long line of ancestors. They can,
without abusing the license permitted to genealogists, go back to the
time when the English did not inhabit England, when London, like Paris,
was peopled by latinised Celts, and when the ancestors of the puritans
sacrificed to the god Thor. The novelists indeed can show that the
beginning of their history is lost in the abysm of time. They can recall
the fact that the Anglo-Saxons, when they came to dwell in the island of
Britain, brought with them songs and legends, whence was evolved the
strange poem of "Beowulf,"[4] the first epic, the most ancient history,
and the oldest English romance. In it, truth is mingled with fiction;
besides the wonders performed by the hero, a destroyer of monsters, we
find a great battle mentioned by Gregory of Tours, where the Frenchmen,
that were to be, cut to pieces the Englishmen that were to be; the first
act of that bloody tragedy continued afterwards at Hastings, Crécy,
Agincourt, Fontenoy, and Waterloo.

The battle of Hastings which made England subject to men from France
resulted in a complete transformation of the literature of the Teutonic
inhabitants of the island. Anglo-Saxon literature had had moments of
brilliance at the time of Alfred, and afterwards at that of Saint
Dunstan; then it had fallen into decay. By careful search, accents of
joy, though of strange character, may be discovered in the texts which
now represent that ancient literature. Taking it as a whole, however,
this literature was sad; a cloud of melancholy enveloped it, like those
penetrating mists, observed by Pytheas and the oldest travellers, which
rose from the marshes of the island and concealed the outlines of its
impenetrable forests. But the conquerors who came from Normandy, from
Brittany, from Anjou, from all the provinces of France, were of a
cheerful temperament; they were happy: everything went well with them.
They brought with them the gaiety, the wit, the sunshine of the south,
uniting the spirit of the Gascon with the tenacity of the Norman. Noisy
and great talkers, when once they became masters of the country, they
straightway put an end to the already dying literature of the conquered
race and substituted their own. God forbid that they should listen to
the lamentations of the Anglo-Saxon mariner or traveller! They had no
concern with their miserable dirges. "Long live Christ who loves the
French!"[5] Even in the laws and religion of the French there now and
then appeared marks of their irrepressible _entrain_. Shall we not,
then, find it in their stories?

The new-comers liked tales of two kinds. First, they delighted in
stories of chivalry, where they found marvellous exploits differing
little from their own. They had seen the son of Herleva, a tanner's
daughter of Falaise, win a kingdom in a battle, in course of which the
cares of a conqueror had not prevented him from making jokes. When,
therefore, they wrote a romance, they might well attribute extraordinary
adventures and rare courage to Roland, Arthur and Lancelot: in face of
the behaviour of the bastard of Normandy, it would be difficult to tax
the exploits attributed to those heroes with improbability. The
numberless epic romances in which they delighted had no resemblance with
the "Beowulf" of old. These stories were no longer filled with mere
deeds of valour, but also with acts of courtesy; they were full of love
and tenderness. Even in the more Germanic of their poems, in "Roland,"
the hero is shaken by his emotions, and is to be seen shedding tears.
Far greater is the part allotted to the gentler feelings in the epics of
a subsequent date, in those written for the English Queen Eleanor, by
Benoit de Sainte More in the twelfth century, which tell for the first
time of the loves of Troilus and Cressida; in those dedicated to Arthur
and his knights, where the favour of the mortal deities of whom the
heroes are enamoured, is responsible for more feats of chivalry than is
the search after the mysterious Grail.

They can take Constantinople, or destroy the Roman armies; they can
fight green giants and strange monsters, besiege castles of steel, put
traitors to death, and escape even the evil practices of enchanters; but
they cannot conquer their passions. All the enemies they have in common
with Beowulf, be they men or armies, monsters or sorcerers, they can
fight and subdue; but enemies unknown to the Gothic warrior oppose them
now more effectually than giants, stormy seas, or armed battalions;
enemies that are always present, that are not to be destroyed in battle
nor left behind in flight: their own indomitable loves and desires. What
would the conqueror of Grendel have thought of such descendants? One
word in his story answers the question: "Better it is," says he, "for
every man, that he avenge his friend than that he mourn much." This is
the nearest approach to tenderness discoverable in the whole epic of

In this contest between heroes differing so greatly in their notion of
the duties and possibilities of life with whom do we side, we of to-day?
With Beowulf or with Lancelot? Which of the two has survived? Which of
them is nearest of kin to us? Under various names and under very
different conditions, Lancelot still continues to live in our thoughts
and to play his part in our stories. We shall find him in the pages of
Walter Scott; he is present in the novels of George Eliot. For better or
for worse, the literature begun in England by the conquerors at the
battle of Hastings still reigns paramount.

Moreover, the new possessors of the English country were fond of tales
and short stories, either moving or amusing, in which a word would make
the reader laugh or make him thoughtful; but where there was no tirade,
no declamation, no loud emphasis, no vague speculation, a style of
writing quite unknown to the islanders and contrary to their genius.
When they returned of an evening to their huge and impregnable castles,
in perfect security and in good humour, they liked to hear recited
stories in prose, some of which are still extant and will never be read
without pleasure: the story of Floire and Blanchefleur, for instance, or
perhaps, also that of Aucassin, who preferred "his gentle love" to
paradise even more unconcernedly than the lover in the old song rejected
the gift of "Paris la grand ville;" of Aucassin, in whose adventures the
Almighty interposes, not in the manner of the Jehovah of the Bible, but
as "God who loveth lovers;"[6] and where Nicolete is so very beautiful
that the touch of her fair hands is enough to heal sick people.
According to the author the same wonder is performed by the tale itself;
it heals sorrow:

    "Sweet the song, the story sweet,
     There is no man hearkens it,
     No man living 'neath the sun,
     So outwearied, so foredone,
     Sick and woful, worn and sad,
     But is healed, but is glad
         'Tis so sweet."[7]

So speaks the author, and since his time the performance of the same
miracle has been the aim of the many tale-writers of all countries; they
have not all of them failed.

The fusion of these two sorts of stories, the epic-romance and the tale,
produced long afterwards in every country of Europe the novel as we know
it now. To the former, the novel owes more especially its width of
subject, its wealth of incident, its occasionally dignified gait; to the
second, its delicacy of observation, its skill in expression of detail,
its naturalness, its realism. If we care to examine them closely, we
shall find in the greater number of those familiar tragi-comedies, which
are the novels of our own day, discernible traces of their twofold and
far-off origin.


The first result of the diffusion in England, after the Conquest, of a
new literature full of southern inventions and gaieties, and loves, and
follies, was the silencing of the native singers. This silence lasted
for a hundred years; the very language seemed doomed to disappear. What
was the good of writing in English, when there was hardly any one who
cared to read it, and even those few were learning French, and coming by
degrees to enjoy the new literature? But it turned out that the native
English writers had not been swept away for ever. Their race, though
silenced, was not extinct; they were not dead, but only asleep.

The first to awake were the scholars, the men who had studied in Paris.
It was quite natural that they should be less deeply impressed with
nationalism than the rest of their compatriots; learning had made them
cosmopolitan; they belonged less to England than to the Latin country,
and the Latin country had not suffered from the Conquest. Numerous
scholars of English origin shone forth as authors from the twelfth
century onwards; among them Geoffrey of Monmouth, of Arthurian fame,
Joseph of Exeter, John of Salisbury, Walter Map, Nigel Wireker, and many
others of European reputation.

In the thirteenth century another awakening takes place in the palace
which the Norman enchanter had doomed to a temporary sleep. Translators
and imitators set to work; the English language is again employed; the
storm has abated, and it has become evident that there still remain
people of English blood and language for whom it is worth while to
write. Innumerable books are composed for them, that they may learn,
ignorant as they are of French or Latin, what is the thought of the day.
Robert Manning de Brunne states, in the beginning of the fourteenth
century, that he writes:

    "Not for the lerid bot for the lewed,
     Ffor tho that in this land wone,
     That the Latyn no Frankys cone,
     Ffor to haf solace and gamen
     In felawschip when thay sitt samen."

They are to enjoy this new literature in common, be it religious, be it
imaginative or historical; they will discuss it and it will improve
their minds; it will teach them to pass judgments even on kings:

    "And gude it is for many thynges
     For to here the dedis of kynges
     Whilk were foles and whilk were wyse."[8]

In their turn the English poets sang of Arthur; in all good faith they
adopted his glory as that of an ancestor of their own. Among them a man
like Layamon accepted the French poet Wace for his model, and in the
beginning of the thirteenth century, devoted thirty-two thousand lines
to the Celtic hero; nor was he ever disturbed by the thought that
Arthur's British victories might have possibly been English defeats.[9]
Then came innumerable poems, translated or imitated from French
romances, on Charlemagne and Roland, Gawain and the Green Knight, Bovon
of Hanstone, Percival, Havelock the Dane, King Horn, Guy of Warwick,
Alexander, Octavian, and the Trojan War.[10] Hundreds of manuscripts,
some of them splendidly illuminated, testify at the present day to the
immense popularity of these imitations of French originals, and provide
endless labour for the many learned societies that in our century have
undertaken to print them.

Layamon's indifference to the price paid by his compatriots for Arthur's
glory was not peculiar to himself. It is characteristic of a policy of
amalgamation deliberately followed from the beginning by the Normans. As
soon as they were settled in the country they desired to unify the
traditions of the various races inhabiting the great island, in the
belief that this was a first and necessary step towards uniting the
races themselves. Rarely was literature used for political purposes with
more cleverness and with more important results. The conquerors set the
example themselves, and from the first adopted and treated all the
heroic beings who had won glory in or for England, and whose fame
lingered in ballads and popular songs, as if they had been personal
ancestors of their own. At the same time they induced the conquered
race to adopt the theory that mythic Trojans were their progenitors, a
theory already discovered and applied by the French to their own early
history, and about which fables were already current among the Welsh
people: both races were thus connected together as lineal descendants,
the one of Brutus, the other of Francus; and an indissoluble link united
them to the classic nations of antiquity.[11] So it happened that in
mediæval England French singers were to be heard extolling the glory of
Saxon kings, while English singers told the deeds of Arthur, the
arch-enemy of their race. Nothing gives a better idea of this
extraordinary amalgamation of races and traditions than a certain poem
of the thirteenth century written in French by a Norman monk of
Westminster, and dedicated to Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III.,
in which we read:

"In the world, I may confidently say, there never was country, kingdom
or empire, where so many good kings, and holy too, were found, as in the
English island.... Saints they were, martyrs and confessors, of whom
several died for God; others most strong and hardy, as were Arthur,
Edmund, and Knut."[12]

Rarely was the like seen in any literature; here is a poem dedicated to
a Frenchwoman by a Norman of England, which begins with the praise of a
Briton, a Saxon, and a Dane. The same phenomenon is to be noticed, after
the Conquest in romances, chronicles and histories. Whoever the author
may be, whether of French or English blood, the unity of origin of the
two races receives almost invariably the fullest acknowledgment; the
inhabitants of the great island cease to look towards Germany, Denmark
and Scandinavia, for their ancestors or for the sources of their
inspiration; they look rather, like their new French companions, to
Rome, Greece and Troy. This policy produced not only momentous social
results, but also very important literary consequences; the intellectual
connection with the north being cut off, the Anglo-French allowed
themselves to be drilled with the Latin discipline; the ancient models
ceased to appear to them heterogeneous; they studied them in all good
faith as the works of distant relations, with such result that they,
unlike the Germanic and Scandinavian peoples, were ready, when the time
of the Renaissance came, to benefit by the great intellectual movement
set on foot by southern neo-classic nations; and while Italy produced
Ariosto and Tasso, while Spain possessed Cervantes, and France
Montaigne, Ronsard and Rabelais, they were ready to give birth to the
unparalleled trio of Spenser, Bacon and Shakespeare.

From the fourteenth century this conclusion was easy to foresee; for,
even at that period, England took part in a tentative Renaissance that
preceded the great one of the sixteenth century. At the time when Italy
produced Petrarca and Boccaccio, and France had Froissart, England
produced Chaucer, the greatest of the four.

Famous as Chaucer was as a story-teller, it is strange that he was to
have almost no influence on the development of the novel in England.
When we read of Harry Bailly and the Wife of Bath, of the modest Oxford
clerk and the good parson; when we turn the pages of the inimitable
story of Troilus and the fickle, tender, charming Cressida, it seems as
if nothing was lacking to the production of perfect novels. All the
elements of the art are there complete: the delicate analysis of
passions, the stirring plot, the natural play of various characters, the
very human mixture of grossness and tenderness, of love songs and rough
jokes, the portraits of actual beings belonging to real life and not to
dreamland. It was only necessary to break the cadence of the verse and
to write such stories in prose. No one did it; no one tried to do it.


The fact is the stranger if we remember that Chaucer's popularity never
flagged. It was at its height in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries;
in the following period the kings of literature, Dryden and Pope, did
homage to him. His works had been amongst the first to be printed.
Caxton's original edition was quickly followed by a second.[13] The
latter was adorned with illustrations, and this rapid publication of a
second and amended text testifies to the great reverence in which the
author was held. Nevertheless it is the fact that Chaucer stands alone;
authors of prose novels who wrote nearly two centuries after his time,
instead of trying to follow in his footsteps, sought their models either
in the old epic literature or in French and Italian story-books. This is
exactly what Chaucer had done himself; but they did it with very
different success, and entirely missed the benefits of the great advance
made by him. By another strange caprice of fate it was these
sixteenth-century writers, and not Chaucer, who were to be the ancestors
of the world-famous novelists of a later age, of the Richardsons and
Fieldings of the eighteenth century.

In one thing, then, the French conquerors entirely failed; they never
succeeded in acclimatizing during the Middle Ages those shorter prose
stories which were so popular in their own country, in which they
themselves delighted and of which charming and sometimes exquisite
models have come to us from the twelfth century downwards. When this art
so thoroughly French began, as we shall see, to be cultivated in
England, it was the outcome of the Renaissance, not of the Conquest.
Hundreds of volumes of mediæval English manuscripts preserve plenty of
sermons, theological treatises, epic-romances, poems of all sorts; but
the student will not discover one single original prose story to set by
the side of the many examples extant in French literature; nothing
resembling the French stories of the thirteenth century, so delightful
in their frank language, their brisk style and simple grace, in which we
find a foretaste of the prose of Le Sage and Voltaire; nothing to be
compared, even at a distance, in the following century, with the
narratives of Froissart, who, it is true, applied to history his genius
for pure romance; nothing like the anecdotes so well told by the Knight
of La Tour Landry for the instruction of his daughters; nothing that at
all approaches "Petit Jehan de Saintré" or the "Cent nouvelles" in the
fifteenth century. To find English prose tales of the Middle Ages we
should be forced to look through the religious manuscripts where they
figure under the guise of examples for the reader's edification. A very
troublesome search it is, but not always a vain one; some of these
stories deserve to be included among the most memorable legends of the
Middle Ages. To give an idea of them I will quote the story of a scholar
of Paris, after Caesarius, but told in far better style by the holy
hermit Rolle de Hampole, in the fourteenth century. It is short and
little known:

"A scolere at Pares had done many full synnys the whylke he had schame
to schryfe hym of. At the last gret sorowe of herte ouercome his schame,
& when he was redy to schryfe till (to) the priore of the abbay of
Saynte Victor, swa mekill contricione was in his herte, syghynge in his
breste, sobbynge in his throtte, that he moghte noghte brynge a worde
furthe. Thane the prioure said till hym: Gaa & wrytte thy synnes. He dyd
swa, & come a-gayne to the prioure and gafe hym that he hade wretyn,
ffor yitt he myghte noghte schryfe hym with mouthe. The prioure saghe
the synnys swa grette that thurghe leve of the scolere he schewede
theyme to the abbotte to hafe conceyle. The abbotte tuke that byll that
ware wrettyn in & lukede thare one. He fande na thynge wretyn & sayd to
the priour: What may here be redde thare noghte es wretyne? That saghe
the priour & wondyrd gretly & saide: Wyet ye that his synns here warre
wretyn & I redde thaym, bot now I see that God has sene hys contrycyone
& forgyfes hym all his synnes. This the abbot & the prioure tolde the
scolere, & he, with gret joy thanked God."[14]

But instances of this kind of story lack those features of gaiety and
satirical observation of which French stories are full, and which are an
important element of the novel. Some are mystical; others, in which the
devil figures on whom the saints play rude tricks, are intended to raise
a loud laugh; in both cases real life is equally distant. A keen faculty
of observation however existed in the nation; foibles of human nature
did not escape the English writer's eye any more than its higher
aspirations. This is illustrated not only by Chaucer, who chose to write
poetry, but by such men as Nigel Wireker[15] and Walter Map who chose to
write Latin.[16] But not one English author before the Renaissance
employed such gifts in writing prose studies of real life in his native
tongue. Owing to the Conquest a certain discredit seemed to rest for
generations on England's original language. Long after an English
nation, rich in every sort of glory had come into being, writers are to
be found hesitating to use the national idiom. This circumstance is
chiefly noticeable in prose where the use of a foreign tongue offers
less difficulties than in poetry. Prose was less cultivated in England
even so late as the commencement of the sixteenth century than in France
during the thirteenth. At the time of the Renaissance, Sir Thomas More,
the wittiest Englishman of his day, whose English style was admirable
and who moreover loved the language of his native land, wishing to
publish a romance of social satire, the "Utopia,"[17] wrote it in Latin.
It is one of the oldest examples in modern literature of that species of
book which includes at a later date the story of Gargantua and
Pantagruel, Bacon's "New Atlantis," Cyrano de Bergerac's "Etats et
empires de la lune et du soleil," Fénelon's "Télémaque," "Gulliver's
Travels," Voltaire's tales, &c. More's use of Latin is to be the more
regretted since his romance exhibits infinite resources of spirit and
animation; of all his writings it is the one that best justifies his
great reputation for wit and enlightenment. His characters are living
men and their conversation undoubtedly resembles that which delighted
him in the society of his friend Erasmus.

The subject of the book is the quest for the best possible government.
More and his companions meet at Antwerp one of the fellow voyagers of
Amerigo Vespucci the famous godfather of America, and they question him
concerning the civilizations he has seen. "He likewise very willingly
tolde us of the same. But as for monsters, by cause they be no newes, of
them we were nothyng inquisitive. For nothyng is more easye to bee
founde, then bee barkynge Scyllaes, ravenyng Celenes, & Lestrigones
devourers of people, & suche lyke great, & incredible monsters. But to
find citisens ruled by good & holsome lawes, that is an exceding rare, &
harde thyng."[18] By good luck Amerigo's companion had discovered an
empire which presented this admirable quality: the island of Utopia, or
the country of "Nowhere." This country became immediately famous all
over Europe, so much so that Pantagruel would not look to any other
place for immigrants to people his newly conquered kingdom of Dispodie.
There he transported "Utopians to the number of 9,876,543,210 men," says
Rabelais, with his usual care for exact numbers, "without speaking of
women and little children." He did so to "refresh, people, and adorn the
said country otherwise badly enough inhabited and desert in many
places."[19] His acting in this manner was only natural, for, as is well
known, connections existed between his family and the Utopians, his own
mother Badebec, the wife of Gargantua, being "daughter to the king of
the Amaurotes in Utopia."[20]

A hundred years later, something of this want of confidence in the
future of English prose still lingered. Bacon, after having employed it
in his essays and treatises, was seized with anxiety and kept in his pay
secretaries with whose help he meant to translate all his works into
Latin, in order to assure himself of their permanence.


Some years before Sir Thomas More wrote his "Utopia," an Englishman, who
had long lived abroad and had there learnt a new industry, unknown in
his own land, returned to England and settled in Westminster. He and his
trade were destined to exercise a very important influence on the
diffusion of literature, and especially on the development of romances.
His art was printing, and his name was Caxton. We can judge of the
amazement he produced among his countrymen by his new art, from his own
wonder; one of his prefaces shows clearly enough how extraordinary his
performance seemed to himself: "And for as moche, says he, as in the
wrytyng of the same my penne is worn, myn hande wery & not stedfast, myn
eyen dimed with overmoche lokyng on the whit paper & my corage not so
prone & redy to laboure as hit hath ben & that age crepeth on me dayly &
febleth all the bodye, & also be cause I have promysid to diverse
gentilmen & to my frendes to addresse to hem as hastely as I myght this
sayd book, therfore I have practysed & lerned at my grete charge &
dispense to ordeyne this said book in prynte after the maner & forme as
ye may here see, & is not wreton with penne & ynke as other bokes ben,
to thende that every man may have them attones, ffor all the bookes of
this storye named the recule of the historyes of troyes thus enpryntid
as ye here see were begonne in oon day & also fynysshid in oon day."[21]

The list of his books shows that he was no less intent upon diverting
his customers than upon improving their knowledge and morals. The part
allotted to fiction was extremely large, not perhaps quite so extensive
as that occupied by the novel proper in the publishers' lists of to-day;
but regarding it as merely a beginning, it must be admitted to be very
promising. Not only did he print the tales of Chaucer, the confessions
of Gower, with their numerous stories, several poems of Lydgate, a
number of mediæval epic romances in verse, but he also issued from his
press the prose story of "Reynard the Fox," which contains so much
excellent dialogue and so many fine scenes of comedy; and, besides, the
most remarkable prose romance that had yet been written in the English
language, the famous "Morte d'Arthur" of Sir Thomas Malory. Its
appearance marks an epoch in the history of English romance literature.

Why, among so many famous works, should this publication have obtained
the preference and the attention of the printer? Caxton states his
reasons very clearly: firstly, for him as for Layamon, Arthur is a
national hero, and Englishmen should be proud of him: then again he is
one of the nine worthies of the world. These nine dignitaries were, as
is well known, three pagans, Hector, Alexander and Cæsar; three Jews,
Joshua, David and Judas Maccabæus; three Christians, Arthur, Charlemagne
and Godfrey of Bouillon. And lastly, Caxton considered his undertaking
justified by the great lessons that were to be drawn from Arthur's
example: "And I accordyng to my copye have doon sette it in enprynte to
the entente that noble men may see & lerne the noble actes chyvalrye the
jentyl & vertuous dedes that somme knyghtes used in tho dayes by whyche
they came to honour & how they that were vycious were punysshed & ofte
put to shame & rebuke, humbly byseching al noble lordes & ladyes wyth al
other estates of what estate or degree they been of, that shal see &
rede in this sayd book & werke, that they take the good & honest actes
in their remembraunce & to folowe the same. Wherein they shalle fynde
many joyous & playsaunt hystoryes & noble & renomed actes of humanyte
gentylnesse & chyualryes. For herein may be seen noble chyvalrye,
curtosye, humanyte, frendlynesse, hardynesse, love, frendshyp,
cowardyse, murdre, hate, vertue & synne. Doo after the good & leve the
evyl & it shal brynge you to good fame & renommee."[22]

Everything, in fact, is to be found in Malory's book; everything, except
those marks of character which transform traditional types into living
personalities; everything except those analyses of feeling which are for
us the primary _raison d'être_ of the modern novel and its chief
attraction. The old knight's book is a vast compilation in which he has
melted down and mixed together a large number of tales about Arthur,
Lancelot, Gawain, Galahad, Percival, and all the Knights of the Round
Table. An infinite number of short chapters, written in a clear and
quiet style, possessing no other charm than its simplicity, tell of the
loves and of the fights of these famous men; "of theyr marvaylous
enquestes and adventures," as Caxton has it, "thachyevyng of the
Sangraal, and in thende the dolorous deth and departyng out of thys
world of them al." Malory never made the slightest effort to reach a
grand style; he did not think that there could be any other method of
writing than that of putting on paper, without preparation, what first
came into his mind. Since he possessed neither a passionate temperament
nor a wandering imagination, he tells, without any apparent emotion, the
most important of his stories, even the last battle of his hero[23] and
his final disappearance, when he is borne by fairies into the Vale of
Avilion. It is for sensitive hearts to weep over these misfortunes, if
they choose. As for him, he goes on his way, telling tale after tale, in
the same clear and even voice; but very rarely giving us his confidence
or opening to us his heart.

[Illustration: ROBERT THE DEVIL, ABOUT 1510.]

Once in the whole length of this immense work he does impart to us his
personal opinion on a question of importance: in the twenty-fifth
chapter of his eighteenth book, Malory confesses what he thinks of love,
and lays aside his usual reserve: and thus furnishes the first attempt
at analysis of feeling to be found in the English prose romance. Malory
declares that every man should love God first and his mistress
afterwards; and so long as a man does love his God first, the other
love seems to him to be not only permissible but even commendable; it is
a virtue. "Therfore, as may moneth floreth & floryssheth in many
gardyns, soo in lyke wyse, lete every man of worship florysshe his herte
in this world, fyrst unto God & next unto the joye of them that he
promysed his feythe unto: for there was never worshypful man or
worshipfull woman but they loved one better than another ... & suche
love, I calle vertuous love." But now-a-days, continues the old knight,
little suspecting that his grievance is one of all ages, men cannot love
seven-night but they must have all their desires. The old love was not
so. Men and women could love together seven years, and no wanton lusts
were between them, and then was love truth and faithfulness. "And loo,"
Malory adds forgetting that his Lancelot and his Tristan waited much
less than seven years, "in lyke wyse was used love in Kynge Arthurs

Very strikingly does this view of love contrast with the southern
irrepressible impetuosities of young Aucassin, who, considering, three
centuries earlier, this same question of holy and profane love, of earth
and paradise, in the above-mentioned exquisite prose tale which bears
his name, simply alters the order of precedence afterwards adopted by
good Sir Thomas: "Tell me," says he, "where is the place so high in all
the world that Nicolete, my sweet lady and love, would not grace it
well? If she were Empress of Constantinople or of Germany, or Queen of
France or England, it were little enough for her.... In Paradise what
have I to win? Therein I seek not to enter, but only to have Nicolete my
sweet lady that I love so well.... For in Paradise go none but ... these
same old priests, and halt old men and maimed, who all day and night
cower continually before the altars, and in the crypts.... These be they
that go into Paradise; with them have I naught to make. But into Hell
would I fain go; for into Hell fare the goodly clerks and goodly knights
that fall in tourneys and great wars.... And thither pass the sweet
ladies.... Thither goes the gold and the silver and cloth of vair, and
cloth of gris, and harpers and makers, and the prince of this world.
With these I would gladly go, let me but have with me Nicolete my
sweetest lady."[25]


No one perceived the coldness of Malory's stories. He wrote for a
youthful and enthusiastic people; it was a period of new birth
throughout Europe, the period of the spring-time of modern literature,
the epoch of the Renaissance. There was no need to depict in realistic
fashion the passions and stirrings of the heart in order to excite the
emotion of the reader; a relation of events sufficed for him; his own
imagination did the rest, and enlivened the dull-painted canvas with
visions of every colour. The book had as much success as Caxton could
have expected; it was constantly reprinted during the sixteenth century,
and enchanted the contemporaries of Surrey, of Elizabeth, and of
Shakespeare. It was in vain that the serious-minded Ascham condemned
it; it survived his condemnation as the popularity of Robin Hood
survived the sermons of Latimer. Vainly did Ascham denounce "Certaine
bookes of Chevalrie.... as one for example, _Morte Arthure_: the whole
pleasure of whiche booke standeth in two speciall poyntes, in open mans
slaughter, & bold bawdrye. In which booke those be counted the noblest
knightes, that do kill most men without any quarell, & commit fowlest
aduoulteres by sutlest shiftes."[26]

When the people became more thoughtful or more exacting in the matter of
analysis, they neglected the old book. After 1634, two hundred years
passed without a reprint of it. In our time it has met with an aftermath
of success, not only among the curious, but among a class of readers who
are not more exacting than Caxton's clients, and who are far more
interested in fact than in feeling. Children form this class of readers;
in the present century Malory's book has been many times re-edited for
them, and it is to Sir Thomas Malory, rather than to Tennyson, Swinburne
or Morris, that many English men and women of to-day owe their earliest
acquaintance with King Arthur and his Knights.

Caxton's example was followed by many; printing presses multiplied, and
with most of them fiction kept its ground. A new life was infused into
old legendary heroes, and they began again, impelled not by the genius
of new writers, but simply by the printer's skill, their never ending
journeys over the world. Their stories were published in England in
small handy volumes, often of a very good appearance, and embellished
with woodcuts. There were prose stories of "Robert the devyll," and
there were verse stories of "Sir Guy of Warwick" and of "Syr Eglamoure
of Artoys." Many of the cuts are extremely picturesque and excellently
suited to the general tone of the story. On the title-page the hero of
the tale usually sits on his horse, and indomitable he looks with his
sword drawn, his plume full spread, his mien defiant. A faithful squire
sometimes follows him, sometimes only his dog; between the feet of the
horse fabulous plants spread their unlikely leaves, and give the sole
and very doubtful clue to the country in which the knight is travelling,
certainly a very desolate and unpleasant one. In this fashion does Duke
Robert of Normandy travel, and so does Eglamoure, and Tryamoure, and
Bevis, and Isumbras. In the same series too is to be seen "Y^e noble
Helyas, Knyght of the Swanne," drawn by the said swan, a somewhat wooden
bird, not very different from his successor of a later age whom we are
accustomed to see swimming across the stage to the accompaniment of
Wagner's famous music.[27]

[Illustration: "Then went Guy to fayre Phelis."


The means by which English printers supplied themselves with these
engravings, is a mystery that they have kept to themselves. Many of
the blocks were, very probably, purchased in the Low Countries. A very
few are almost certainly of English manufacture, and among them are
Caxton's illustrations of the Canterbury Tales: on this account we have
given a fac-simile of the most important of them, representing the
pilgrims seated round the table at the "Tabard" prior to starting on
their immortal journey. What is certain is that many of these wood-block
portraits of knights, supplied to the printers by English or Dutch
artists, underwent many successive christenings. The same knight, with
the same squire, the same dog and the same fabulous little wooden plants
between the legs of the horse was sometimes Romulus and sometimes Robert
of Normandy. In one book a rather fine engraving of a lord and a lady in
a garden, represents Guy of Warwick courting "fayre Phelis,"[28] but in
another book the same engraving does duty for "La bel Pucell" and the
knight "Graund Amoure."[29] It may be observed, in passing, that these
romances might be soundly criticized without much study of their
contents by simply inspecting their illustrations. Full as they are of
extraordinary inventions and adventures, unrestricted as their authors
were by considerations of what was possible or real, some dozen
well-chosen engravings seem enough to illustrate any number of them.
For, alas, there is nothing more stale and more subject to repetitions
than these series of extraordinary adventures; all their heroes are the
same hero, and whether he was following the philosophical turn of his
mind, or merely the thrifty orders of his printer, the engraver was well
justified in leaving as he did in most of his drawings an empty scroll
over the head of his knights, for the publisher to label them at will,
Robert the Devil or Romulus.

We are thus fairly advanced into the sixteenth century; the Renaissance
has come; before long Spenser will sing of the Fairy Queen and
Shakespeare will leave his native Stratford to present to a London
audience the loves of Juliet and Romeo. Scarcely any sign of improvement
appears yet in the art of novel-writing; nothing but mediæval romances
continue to issue from the press; it is even difficult to foresee an
epoch in which something analogous to the actual novel might be produced
in England. Contrary to what was taking place in France at the same
time, that period seemed far off. In reality, however, it was near at
hand; the great age of English literature, the age of Elizabeth and of
Shakespeare, was about to furnish, at least in the rough draft, the
first specimens of the true novel.

[Illustration: LEO.]


[4] "Beowulf, a heroic poem," ed. T. Arnold, London, 1876, 8vo. The
unique MS. of this poem, discovered in the last century, is preserved at
the British Museum; it has been reproduced in fac-simile by the Early
English Text Society (Ed. J. Zupitza, 1882, 8vo). We give in fac-simile
the first few lines of the MS.

[5] "Vivat qui Francos diligit Christus!" ("Prologue of the Salic Law,"
Pardessus, 1843, p. 345.)

[6] "Nouvelles Françaises en prose," ed. Moland and d'Héricault, Paris,
1856. Four English versions of the story of Floire and Blanchefleur are
extant. The story of Amis and Amile was also very popular. "Amis and
Amiloun," ed. Kölbing (Heilbronn, 1884). The cantefable of Aucassin is
of the twelfth century (G. Paris, "Littérature française au moyen âge,"
1888, § 51).

[7] Mr. Andrew Lang's translation, "Aucassin and Nicolete" (London,
1887, 16mo.).

[8] "The Story of England," A.D. 1338, ed. F. J. Furnivall, London,
1887, two vols. 8vo, vol. i. p. 1.

[9] "Layamon's Brut," ed. Madden, London, 1847, three vols. 8vo.

[10] See, among others, the publications of the Early English Text
Society, the Camden Society, the Percy Society, the Roxburghe Club, the
Bannatyne Club, the Altenglische Bibliothek of E. Kölbing (Heilbronn);
the "Metrical Romances of the XIIIth, XIVth, and XVth Centuries," of H.
W. Weber (Edinburgh, 1810, three vols. 8vo); the "Catalogue of MS.
Romances in the British Museum," by H. L. D. Ward (London, 1887);
"Bishop Percy's Folio MS.; Ballads and Romances," ed. J. W. Hales and F.
J. Furnivall, London, Ballad Society, 1867, &c.

The publications of the Early English Text Society include, among
others, the romances of "Ferumbras," "Otuel," "Huon of Burdeux,"
"Charles the Grete," "Four Sons of Aymon," "Sir Bevis of Hanston," "King
Horn," with fragments of "Floriz and Blauncheflur," "Havelok the Dane,"
"Guy of Warwick," "William of Palerne," "Generides," "Morte Arthure,"
Lonelich's "History of the Holy Grail," "Joseph of Arimathie," "Sir
Gawaine and the Green Knight," &c. Others are in preparation.

[11] The adoption by Geoffrey of Monmouth, in the twelfth century, of
Brutus the Trojan as father of the British race, as Nennius had done two
centuries earlier, did much for the spreading of this belief; the
popularity and authority of Geoffrey's fabulous history was so great
that for several centuries the gravest English historians accepted his
statements concerning Brutus without hesitation. Matthew Paris, the most
accurate and trustworthy historian of the thirteenth century, gives an
account of his coming to the island of Albion, "that was then inhabited
by nobody but a few giants": "Erat tunc nomen insulæ Albion, quæ a
nemine, exceptis paucis gigantibus habitabatur." Brutus proceeds to the
banks of the Thames, and there founds his capital, which he calls the
New Troy, Trojam novam, "quæ postea, per corruptionem vocabuli
Trinovantum dicta fuerit" ("Chronica Majora," Rolls Series, I. pp.
21-22). In the fourteenth century Ralph, in his famous "Polychronicon,"
gives exactly the same account of the deeds of the Trojan prince, and
they continued in the time of Shakespeare to be _history_. Here is the
learned account Holinshed gives of these events in his "Chronicles":

     "Hitherto have we spoken of the inhabitants of this Ile
     before the coming of Brute, although some will needs have it
     that he was the first which inhabited the same with his
     people descended of the Troians, some few giants onelie
     excepted whom he utterlie destroied, and left not one of
     them alive through the whole ile. But as we shall not doubt
     of Brutes coming hither ..." &c.

     "This Brutus or Brytus (for this letter Y hath of ancient
     times had the sounds both of V and I) ... was the sonne of
     Silvius, the sonne of Ascanius, the sonne of Aeneas the
     Trojan, begotten of his wife Creusa, and borne in Troie,
     before the citie was destroied" (book ii. chap. i.).


    "En mund ne est (ben vus l'os dire)
     Pais, reaume, ne empire
     U tant unt esté bons rois
     E seinz, cum en isle d'Englois ...
     Seinz, martirs e confessurs
     Ki pur Deu mururent plursurs;
     Li autre forz e hardiz mutz,
     Cum fu Arthurs, Aedmunz, e Knudz."

("Lives of Edward the Confessor," ed. H. R. Luard, London, Rolls, 1858,

[13] Both editions are undated; the first one seems to have been
published in 1478, the second in 1484 (W. Blades, "Life and Typography
of William Caxton," 1861, two vols. 4to).

[14] "English Prose Treatises of Richard Rolle de Hampole," ed. G. G.
Perry, London, Early English Text Society, 1866, 8vo. p. 7. Rolle de
Hampole died in 1349. Cæsarius' tale (Cæsarius Heisterbacensis, d. 1240)
begins thus: "Erat ibi juvenis quidam in studio, qui, suggerente humani
generis inimico, talia quædam peccata commiserat, quæ, obstante
erubescentia, nulli hominum confiteri potuit: cogitans tamen quæ malis
præparata sunt tormenta gehennæ, & quæ bonis abscondita sunt gaudia
perennis vitæ, timens etiam quotidie judicium Dei super se, intus
torquebatur morsu conscientiæ & foris tabescebat in copore...."
("Illustrium miraculorum ... libri xii.," bk. ii. ch. 10).

[15] "Speculum Stultorum," in "Anglo-Latin Satirical Poets ... of the
Twelfth Century" ed. Th. Wright, London, 1872, 2 vols. 8vo.

[16] "Gualteri Mapes De nugis curialium distinctiones quinque," ed. Th.
Wright, Camden Society, 1850, 4to. Part IV. of this work contains the
celebrated "Disuasio Valerii ad Rufinum de ducenda uxore," long
attributed to St. Jerome, and one of the principal text-books of the
authors of satires against women during the Middle Ages. It was well
known to the Wife of Bath, who held it in special abomination.

[17] The "Utopia" was composed in 1515-1516, and was published
anonymously at Louvain, under the title: "Libellus vere aureus, nec
minus salutaris quam festivus de optimo reipublicæ statu ... cura P.
Ægidii ... nunc primum ... editus." Louvain 1516, 4to. It was translated
into English by Ralph Robinson in 1551, and this translation has been
reprinted by Arber, London, 1869. Another famous novel of the same class
was written in the following century also in Latin by another
Englishman, or rather Scotchman, the celebrated "Argenis" of John
Barclay (1582-1621). It was translated into English by Sir Robert Le
Grys, 1629, 4to. Queen Elizabeth appears in it under the name of

[18] Ralph Robinson's translation (_ut supra_).

[19] "Pantagruel, après avoir entièrement conquesté le pays de Dispodie,
en icelluy transporta une colonie des Utopiens, en nombre de
9,876,543,210 hommes, sans les femmes et petitz enfans, artisans de tous
mestiers et professeurs de toutes sciences liberales, pour ledict pays
refraischir, peupler et aorner, mal aultrement habité et désert en
grande partie" ("Pantagruel," bk. iii. ch. 1).

[20] "Pantagruel," bk. ii. ch. 2.

[21] "Recueyll of the historyes of Troye," Bruges, 1474? Epilogue to
Book iii.

[22] "Le Morte Darthur by Syr Thomas Malory," ed. O. Sommer and Andrew
Lang, London, 1889, 2 vol. 8vo. Caxton's Preface, p. 3. The book was
originally published at Westminster, in 1485, under the title: "The
noble and ioyous book entytled Le Morte Darthur notwythstondyng it
treateth of the byrth, lyf and actes of the sayd kyng Arthur of his
noble knyghtes of the rounde table, theyr marvayllous enquestes and
adventures, thachyevyng of the Sangraal, and in thende the dolorous deth
and departyng out of thys world of them al, whiche book was reduced into
englysshe by Syr Thomas Malory knyght."

It ends with the statement that it was printed and "fynysshed in thabbey
of Westmestre the last day of Juyl the yere of our lord M cccc lxxxv.
Caxton me fieri fecit."

[23] "And then kyng Arthur smote syr mordred under the shelde wyth a
foyne of his spere thorughoute the body more than a fadom. And when syr
mordred felte that he had hys dethes wounde, he thryst hymself wyth the
myght that he had up to the bur of kyng Arthurs spere. And right so he
smote his fader Arthur wyth his swerde holden in bothe his handes, on
the syde of the heed, that the swerde persyd the helmet & the brayne
panne, & therwythall syr Mordred fyl starke deed to the erthe, & the
nobyl Arthur fyl in a swoune to the erthe & there swouned ofte times"
(_Ut supra_, book xxi. ch. iv. p. 847).

[24] "Le Morte Darthur," ed. Sommer and Lang, London, 1889, 8vo., book
xviii. ch. 25, p. 771.

[25] "Aucassin and Nicolete," done into English by Andrew Lang, London,
1887, pp. 6, 11, and 12.

[26] "The Scholemaster," London, 1570, 4to.

[27] "Robert the deuyll," London, Wynkyn de Worde, 1510? 8vo. "Syr
Tryamoure," "Syr Beuys of Hampton," "Syr Isumbras," "Syr Degore," "The
Knight of the Swanne," "Virgilius," and many others were published by W.
Copland about 1550. "Guy of Warwick" was printed in the same style about
1560, "Syr Eglamoure of Artoys," about 1570. Many others were at this
period printed in the same way with engravings from the same wood

[28] London, 1560? 4to.

[29] "The history of Graund Amoure and la bel Pucell, called the Pastime
of pleasure," by Stephen Hawes, London, Tottell, 1555, 4to. The same
engraving embellishes also "The Squyr of Lowe Degre," published by W.
Copland, &c.





One of the most remarkable effects of the Renaissance was the awakening
of a slumbering curiosity. The _régime_ of the Middle Ages was just
ended; its springs were exhausted, its mysteries unveiled, its terrors
ridiculed. Armour was beginning to be thought troublesome; the towers of
the strong castles, dark and too much confined for the pleasures of
life; the reasonings of the schoolmen had grown old: blind faith was
out of fashion; a world was ending, and all that was sinking with it
appeared in the eyes of the young generation, out of season and "tedious
as a twice-told tale." The rupture between the Middle Ages and modern
times was complete in certain countries, partial in others, and
consequently the Renaissance had very different results among the
various peoples of Europe. But the same characteristic symptoms of an
eager, newly awakened curiosity manifested itself in all. There was no
longer question of continuing, but of comparing and of discovering. What
did the ancient Greeks and the old Romans say? What do our neighbours
think? What are their forms of style, their recent inventions? England
competed with France in her youthful curiosity, and English poets and
travellers following the example of their rivals beyond the seas,
"plundered" (in the words of Joachim du Bellay's famous manifesto[30]),
not only Athens and Rome, but Florence, Paris, Venice, and all the
enlightened towns of France, Italy, and Spain.

This curiosity spurred on the English in the different paths of human
knowledge and activity with an audacity worthy of the Scandinavian
Vikings. After having destroyed the Armada, they were going to burn the
Spanish fleet at Cadiz, to discover new lands in America and to give
them the name of "Virginia" in honour of their queen, and to attempt
the impossible task of discovering a way to China through the icy
regions of the North Pole. The fine gentlemen and the fine wits, even
the lack-dinner, lack-penny Bohemians of literature crossed the Channel,
the Alps, and the Pyrenees, seeking, they too, for gold mines to work,
gathering ideas, listening to stories, noting down recent discoveries,
and often appropriating the elegant vices and the light morals of the
southern nations. "An italianized Englishman is a devil incarnate" is a
popular proverb which quiet home-keeping men were never tired of

Kindly Ascham who had personally visited Italy, had come back as much
horrified with the sights he had seen as Luther had been when he
returned from Rome. Of the masterpieces of art, of madonnas and palaces
he has little to say; but he has much to note concerning the loose
morals of the inhabitants. He beseeches his compatriots not to continue
to visit this dangerous country: they will meet "Circe" there, and will
certainly greatly enjoy themselves; but, behold, they will come back to
their native land with an ass's head and a swine's belly. In Italy,
according to his experience, a man may sin to his heart's content and no
one will in any way interfere. He is free to do so, "as it is free in
the citie of London to chose without all blame, whether a man lust to
weare shoo or pantocle." Yet he speaks of what he has seen with his own
eyes: "I was once in Italie my selfe; but I thanke God my abode there
was but ix dayes. And yet I sawe in that little tyme in one citie more
libertie to sinne than ever I heard tell of in our noble citie of London
in ix yeare ... The lord maior of London, being but a civill officer,
is commonlie for his tyme more diligent in punishing sinne ... than all
the bloodie inquisitors in Italie be in seaven yeare."

When Englishmen come back from Italy they are full of smiles; they have
a ready wit, and delight in vain talk. They give up all idea of getting
married; love and no marriage is their only wish; they arrange
assignations; they behave most improperly. "They be the greatest makers
of love, the daylie daliers, with such pleasant wordes, with such
smilyng & secret countenances, with such signes, tokens, wagers,
purposed to be lost before they were purposed to be made, with bargaines
of wearing colours, floures & herbes, to breede occasion of often
meeting of him & her & bolder talking of this & that, &c."[31]

According to some, travelling increased, in a certain number of
Englishmen, the tendency we have already noticed, to feel contempt
towards their mother tongue. There are persons, wrote George Pettie in
1581, "who will set light by my labours, because I write in English: and
those are some nice travailours who retourne home with such queasie
stomachs that nothing will downe with them but French, Italian or
Spanish ... They count [our tongue] barren: they count it barbarous:
they count it unworthy to be accounted of." The more reason, thinks
Pettie, to try to polish it; if it is barren it can be enriched by
borrowing from other languages, especially the Latin: "It is indeed the
readie waie to inrich our tongue and make it copious; and it is the
waie which all tongues have taken to inrich themselves."[32] Pettie, as
we see, wished Du Bellay's advice to be followed, and Rome to be

But Ascham's pleading, though many others spoke to the same effect,[33]
had very little result. Learned and well informed as he was, his
"conservatism" in all things was so intense that much might be laid to
the account of this tendency of his mind. Had he not written that "his
soul had such an horror of English or Latin books containing new
doctrines that, except the psalter and the New Testament, this last,
too, in the Greek text, he had never taken any book, 'either small or
big,' to use Plato's words, concerning Christian religion"?[34] Had he
not recommended the bow as, even in those gunpowder times, the best
weapon in war? "If I were of authority, I would counsel all the
gentlemen and yeomen of England not to change it with any other thing,
how good soever it seems to be; but that still, according to the old
wont of England, youths should use it for the most honest pastime in
peace, that men might handle it as a most sure weapon in war."[35] The
other "strong weapons" must not lead men to forget this one: a thing
they have nevertheless done.

Nothing dismayed by the threat of the dire consequences of Circe's
wiles, travellers eager to see her crowded to the south. They continued
not to "exchewe the way to Circes court, but go & ryde & runne & flie
thether."[36] No education was complete without a sojourn on the
continent. Surrey, Wyatt, Sidney, penniless Robert Greene, and hundreds
if not thousands of others went there. There was an eagerness to see and
to learn that no sight and no knowledge could satisfy, that no threat
nor sermon could stop. Paris, Venice, Rome, Vienna, the Low Countries,
received an ever-increasing flood of English visitors.


England in her turn, not to mention the classics of antiquity that were
being speedily translated, was flooded with French, Spanish, and Italian
books, again to the great dismay of good Ascham. If "Morte d'Arthur" was
bad, nothing worse could well be imagined than Italian books in general.
"Ten 'Morte d'Arthures' do not the tenth part so much harme as one of
these bookes made in Italie and translated in England." They are to be
found "in every shop in London," and each of them can do more mischief
than ten sermons at St. Paul's Cross can do good. They introduce into
the land such refinements in vice "as the single head of an Englishman
is not hable to invent."[37]


But, if unable to invent, the English seemed at least determined to
enjoy and imitate, for translating and adapting went on at a marvellous
pace. Boccaccio's "Filocopo,"[38] for instance, to speak only of the
better known of these works, was translated in 1567, his "Amorous
Fiametta, wherein is sette downe a catalogue of all and singular
passions of love," in 1587; his "Decameron" in 1620. Guazzo's "Civile
Conversation" was translated in 1586; Tasso's "Amynta" in 1587, and his
"Recoverie of Hierusalem" in 1594. Castiglione's "Courtier ... very
necessary and profitable for young gentlemen abiding in court, palace or
place" was published in English in 1588. It was "profitable" in a rather
different sense from the one Ascham would have given the word, for it
contains lengthy precepts concerning assignations and love-making: "In
my minde, the way which the courtier ought to take, to make his love
knowne to the woman, me think should be to declare them in figures and
tokens more than in wordes. For assuredly there is otherwhile a greater
affection of love perceived in a sigh, in a respect, in a feare, than in
a thousand wordes. Afterwarde, to make the eyes the trustie messengers
that may carrie the Ambassades of the hart."[39] Many heroes in the
English novels we shall have to study were apparently well read in
Castiglione's "Courtier." Montemayor's Spanish "Diana," a tale of
princes and shepherds, well known to Sidney, was published in 1598.
Ariosto's "Orlando furioso" appeared in 1591, in a magnificently
illustrated edition, and was dedicated to the Queen. The engravings,
though sometimes said to be English, were in fact printed from the
Italian plates of Girolamo Porro, of Padua, and had been used before in
Italy.[40] Their circulation in England is none the less remarkable,
and the influence such a publication may have had in the diffusing of
Italian tastes in this country cannot be exaggerated. For those who had
not been able to leave their native land, it was the best revelation yet
placed before the public of the art of the Renaissance. That it was an
important undertaking and a rather risky one, the translator, John
Harington, was well aware; for he prefaced his book not only with his
dedication to the Queen, a sort of thing to which Ascham had had great
objection,[41] but by a "briefe apologie of poetrie," especially of that
of Ariosto. It must be confessed that his arguments are far from
convincing, and it would have been much better to have left the thing
alone than to have defended the moral purposes of his author by such
observations as these: "It may be and is by some objected that, although
he writes christianly in some places, yet in some other, he is too
lascivious.... Alas if this be a fault pardon him this one fault; though
I doubt too many of you, gentle readers, wil be to exorable in this
point, yea me thinks I see some of you searching already for those
places of the booke and you are halfe offended that I have not made some
directions that you might finde out and reade them immediately. But I
beseech you ... to read them as my author ment them, to breed
detestation and not delectation," &c. And he then appends to his book a
table, by means of which the gentle readers will have no trouble in
finding the objectionable passages enumerated in the "Apologie" itself.

At the same time as translations proper, many imitations were published,
especially imitations of those shorter prose stories which were so
numerous on the continent, and which had never been properly
acclimatized in England during the Middle Ages. Their introduction into
this country had a great influence on the further development of the
novel; their success showed that there was a public for such literature;
hence the writing of original tales of this sort in English. Among
collections of foreign tales translated or imitated may be quoted
Paynter's "Palace of Pleasure," 1566,[42] containing histories from
Boccaccio, Bandello, Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, Straparole, the Spaniard
Guevara, the Queen of Navarre, "and other italian and french authours."
One of them is the history of "Rhomeo and Iulietta," from which
Shakespeare derived his immortal drama; another tale in the same
collection supplied the plot of "All's Well," and another the main
events of "Measure for Measure." Then came G. Fenton's "Tragicall
Discourses," 1567, finished at Paris and published by the author as the
first-fruits of his travels; T. Fortescue's "Foreste or collection of
histories ... done out of French," 1571; George Pettie's "Pettie Pallace
of Pettie his pleasure," 1576; Robert Smyth's "Straunge and tragicall
histories translated out of french," 1577; Barnabe Rich's "Farewell to
militarie profession," 1584, where Shakespeare found the plot of
"Twelfth Night"; G. Whetstone's "Heptameron of civill discourses," 1582;
Ed. Grimeston's translation of the "Admirable and memorable histories"
of Goulart, 1607, and several others.

Besides such collections many stories were separately translated and
widely circulated. A number have been lost, but some remain, such, for
instance, as "The adventures passed by Master F. I.," adapted by
Gascoigne from the Italian,[43] or a certain "Hystorie of Hamblet,"
1608,[44] which was destined to have great importance in English
literature, or the "Goodli history of the ... Ladye Lucres of Scene in
Tuskane and of her lover Eurialus," a translation from the Latin of
Æneas Sylvius Piccolomini, and one of the most popular novels of the
time. It went through twenty-three editions in the fifteenth century,
and was eight times translated, one of the French translations being
made "à la prière et requeste des dames." A German translation by
Nicolaus von Wyle is embellished with coloured woodcuts of the most
naïve and amusing description. Three English translations were
published, one before 1550, another in 1669, and a third in 1741.[45]

CHAMBER, 1477.]

It is a tale of unlawful love, and tells how Lucrece a married lady of
Sienna, fell in love with Eurialus, a knight of the court of the Emperor
Sigismond. It is, we are told, a story of real life under fictitious
names. The dialogue is easy, vigorous, and passionate, and the
translator has well succeeded in transmuting these qualities into his
yet unbroken mother tongue. Here, for instance, Lucrece is discussing
with the faithful Zosias the subject of her love.

"Houlde thy peace quod Lucrece, there is no feare at all. Nothynge he
feareth that feareth not death ...

"Oh! unhappie quod Zosias, thou shalt shame thy house, and onlye of all
thy kynne thou shalte be adulteresse. Thinkest thou the deede can be
secreate? A thousand eyne are about thee. Thy mother, if shee do
accordinge, shall not suffer thy outrage to be prevye, not thy husbande,
not thy cousyns, not thy maidens, ye, and thoughe thy servauntes woulde
holde theyr peace, the bestes would speake it, y^e dogges, the poostes
and the marble stones, and thoughe thou hyde all, thou canste not hyde
it from God that seeth all ...

"I knowe quod she it is accordinge as thou sayest, but the rage maketh
me folow the worse. My mynde knoweth howe I fall hedling, but furour
hath overcom and reygneth, and over all my thought ruleth love. I am
determined to folow the commandement of love. Overmuche alas have I
wrestled in vaine; if thou have pytie on me, carye my mesage."[46]

If the German translation was adorned with woodcuts, the English text
had an embellishment of a greater value; it consisted in the conclusion
of the tale as altered by the English writer. In the Latin original of
the future pope, Pius II., Lucrece dies, and Eurialus, having followed
the Emperor back to Germany, mourns for her "till the time when Cæsar
married him to a virgin of a ducal house not less beautiful than chaste
and wise," a very commonplace way of mourning for a dead mistress. This
seemed insufferable to the English translator. Faithful as he is
throughout, he would not take upon himself to alter actual facts, yet he
thought right to give a different account of his hero's feelings: "But
lyke as he folowed the Emperoure so dyd Lucres folow hym in hys sleep
and suffred hym no nygtes rest, whom when he knew hys true lover to be
deed, meaved by extreme dolour, clothed him in mournynge apparell, and
utterly excluded all comforte, and yet though the Emperoure gave hym in
mariage a ryghte noble and excellente Ladye, yet he never enjoyed after,
but in conclusyon pitifully wasted his painful lyfe."[47]

The greater the display of feeling in such tales of Italian origin, the
bitterer were the denunciations of moral censors, and the greater at the
same time their popularity with the public. The quarrel did not abate
for one minute during the whole of the century; the period is filled
with condemnations of novels, dramas and poems, answered by no less
numerous apologies for the same. The quarrel went on even beyond the
century, the adverse parties meeting with various success as Cromwell
ruled or Charles reigned; it can scarcely be said to have ever been
entirely dropped, and the very same arguments used by Ascham against the
Italian books of his time are daily resorted to against the French books
of our own age.

Be this as it may, the Italian novels had the better of it in
Elizabethan times; they were found not only "in every shop," but in
every house; translations of them were the daily reading of Shakespeare,
and as they had an immense influence not only in emancipating the genius
of the dramatists of the period, but, what was of equal importance, in
preparing an audience for them, we may be permitted to look at them with
a more indulgent eye than the pre-Shakespearean moralists.

A curious list of books, belonging during this same period (1575) to a
man of the lower middle class, an average member of a Shakespearean
audience, has been preserved for us. It is to be found in a very quaint
account of the Kenilworth festivities, sent by Robert Laneham, a London
mercer, to a brother mercer of the same city. Laneham states how an
acquaintance of his, Captain Cox, a mason by trade, had in his
possession, not only "Kyng Arthurz book, Huon of Burdeaus, The foour
suns of Aymon, Bevis of Hampton," and many of those popular romances,
illustrated with woodcuts of which a few specimens are to be seen above,
but also, mason as he was, the very same Italian book, the "Lucres and
Eurialus," of which we have just given an account.[48]

With the diffusion of these small handy volumes of tales of all kinds,
from all countries, a quite modern sort of literature, a literature for
travellers, was being set on foot. Manuscript books did not easily lend
themselves to be carried about; but it was otherwise with the printed
pamphlets. Authors began to recommend their productions as convenient
travelling companions, very much in the same manner as the publishers
recommend them now as suitable to be taken to the Alps or to the
seaside. Paynter, for example, who circulated in England from the year
1566 his collection of tales translated or imitated from Boccaccio and
Bandello, Apuleius and Xenophon, the Queen of Navarre, and Bonaventure
Desperriers, Belleforest and Froissart, Guevara and many others, assures
his reader that: "Pleasaunt they be for that they recreate, and refreshe
weried mindes defatigated either with painefull travaile or with
continuall care, occasioning them to shunne and to avoid heavinesse of
minde, vaine fantasies and idle cogitations. Pleasaunt so well abroad as
at home, to avoide the griefe of winters night and length of sommers
day, which the travailers on foote may use for a staye to ease their
weried bodye, and the journeours on horsback, for a chariot or lesse
painful meane of travaile in steade of a merie companion to shorten the
tedious toyle of wearie wayes."[49]

It is pleasant to think of Shakespeare in some journey from Stratford to
London, sitting under a tree, and in order to forget "the tedious toyle
of wearie wayes," taking out of his pocket Paynter's book to dream of
future Romeos and possible Helenas.


The Italian and French languages were held in great honour; both were
taught at Oxford and Cambridge; the latter especially was of common use
in England, and this peculiarity attracted the notice of foreigners. "As
regards their manners and mode of living, ornaments, garments and
vestments," writes the Greek Nicander Nucius, in 1545, "they resemble
the French more than others, and, for the most part, they use their
language."[50] But besides these elegant languages, Greek and Latin were
becoming courtly. They were taught in the schools and out of the
schools; the nobles, following the example of King Henry VIII. and his
children, made a parade of their knowledge. Ignorance was no longer the
fashion, no more than the old towers without windows. The grave Erasmus
went to hear Colet, the Dean of St. Paul's, and "he thought he was
hearing Plato"; Sir T. More, according to Erasmus, is the "sweetest,
softest, happiest genius nature has ever shaped." In a word, "literature
is triumphant among the English. The king himself, the two cardinals,
almost all the bishops, favour with all their soul and adorn
Letters."[51] To learn Greek and Latin was to move with the times and to
follow the fashion. "All men," says Ascham, less displeased with this
novelty than with the travelling propensities of his compatriots,
"covet to have their children speake latin"; and "Sophocles and
Euripides are more familiar now here than Plautus was formerly."[52]
Dazzled by what he saw and heard, Erasmus was announcing to the world in
enthusiastic letters that "the golden age" was to be born again in this
fortunate island.[53] His only regret was that he would perhaps not live
long enough to see it. Well might he regret it, even though it were not
to follow exactly as he had foreseen; for the golden apple of the golden
age was not to be plucked in the Greek Hesperides' garden, but in a
plain Warwickshire orchard: nor was it the less golden.

This fermentation of mind lasted for more than a century; lives were
often shortened by it, but they had been doubly well filled. From this
restless curiosity, bent towards past ages and foreign countries,
towards everything that was remote, unknown and different, came that
striking appearance of omniscience and universality, and that prodigious
wealth of imagery, allusions and ideas of every kind that are to be
found in all the authors of that time, small as well as great, and which
unites in one common bond Rabelais and Shakespeare, Cervantes and Sidney
and the "master of the enchanters of the ear," Ronsard.

When the armour, worn less often, began to grow rusty in the great
halls, and the nobles, coming forth from their coats-of-mail like the
butterfly from the chrysalis, showed themselves all glistening in silk,
pearls in their ears, their heads full of Italian madrigals and
mythological similes, a new society was formed, salons of a kind were
organized, and the rôle of the women was enlarged. English mediæval
times had been by no means sparing of compliments to them. But there is
a great difference between celebrating in verse fair, slim-necked
ladies, and writing books expressly for them: and it is one of the
points in which, during the Middle Ages and even until the middle of the
sixteenth century, England differed from the nations of the south. In
England no Lady Oisille had gathered round her in the depth of green
valleys tellers of amorous stories; no thickly-shaded parks had seen
Fiammettas or Philomenas listening to all kinds of narratives, forgetful
of the actual world and its sorrows. The only group of story-tellers,
bound together by a true artist's fancy, Chaucer's pilgrims, had ridden
in broad daylight on the high road to Canterbury, led by Harry Bailly,
the jovial innkeeper of Southwark, a blustering, red-faced dictator, who
had regulated the pace of the nags, and silenced the tedious babblers:
very different in all things from Fiammetta and the Lady Oisille.

Under the influence of Italy, France and mythology, the England of the
Tudors, changed all that. Women appeared in the foreground: a movement
of general curiosity animated the age, and they participated in it quite
naturally. They will become learned, if necessary, rather than remain in
the shade; they will no longer rest contented with permission to read
books written for their fathers, brothers, lovers, or husbands; some
must be written especially on their account, consulting their
preferences and personal caprices; and they had good reason to command:
one of them sat on the throne.

They, too, began to read Greek, Latin, Italian and French; knowledge was
so much the fashion that it extended to women. Here Ascham bears
testimony in their favour; the Queen herself gives the example: "She
readeth now at Windsore more Greeke every day than some prebendarie of
this chirch doth read Latin in a wole weeke."[54] In this she has
innumerable imitators, so much so that Harrison sums up as follows his
judgment concerning English ladies: "To saie how many gentlewomen and
ladies there are, that beside sound knowledge of the Greeke and Latin
toongs are thereto no lesse skilfull in the Spanish, Italian and French
or in some one of them, it resteth not in me."[55]

It must not be believed, however, that so much Greek and Latin in any
way imperilled the grace and ease of their manners, or that when you met
them you would be welcomed with a quotation from Plato and dismissed
with a verse from Virgil. Far from it. It was the custom at that time
with English ladies to greet their friends and relations, and even
strangers, with kisses, and strange as it may appear to our modern
ideas, accustomed as we are to stare in amazement at such practices when
by any chance we observe them in southern countries, the custom was so
strikingly prevalent in England that travellers noticed it as one of
the strange sights of the land; grave Erasmus cynically calls it one of
its attractions. "This custom," says he, "will never be praised
enough."[56] The above-named Nicander Nucius, of Corcyra, who came to
England some fifty years later, notices the same habit as a great local
curiosity. According to him, the English "display great simplicity and
absence of jealousy in their usages towards females. For not only do
those who are of the same family and household kiss them ... with
salutations and embraces, but even those, too, who have never seen them.
And to themselves this appears by no means indecent."[57] The very Queen
herself, even in the middle of the most imposing ceremonies, could not
help indulging in familiarities contrary to our ideas of decorum, but
quite in accordance with the freedom of manners then prevalent. Sir
James Melville relates in his memoirs how he was present when Robert
Dudley was made "Earl of Leicester and baron of Denbigh; which was done
at Westminster with great solemnity, the Queen herself helping to put on
his ceremonial, he sitting upon his knees before her with a great
gravity. But she could not refrain from putting her hand in his neck,
smilingly tickling him, the French Ambassadour and I standing by. Then
she turned, asking at me, 'how I liked him?'"[58]

The earliest attempts at the novel in the modern style bore a
resemblance to these social and intellectual manners. Let us not be
surprised if these works are too heavily bedizened for our liking: the
toilettes and fashions of that time were less sober than those of
to-day; it was the same with literature. Queen Elizabeth, who was wholly
representative of her age, and shared even its follies, liked and
encouraged finery in everything. All that was ornament and pageantry
held her favour; in spite of public affairs, she remained all her life
the most feminine of women; on her gowns, in her palaces, with her
poets, she liked to find ornaments and embellishments in profusion. The
learned queen who read Plutarch in Greek, a thing Shakespeare could
never do, and translated Boetius into English,[59] found, in spite of
her philosophy, an immense delight in having herself painted in
fantastic costumes, her thin person hidden in a silken sheath, covered
by a light gauze, over which birds ran. Around her was a perpetual field
of cloth of gold, and the nobles sold their lands in order to appear at
Court sufficiently embroidered. She liked nothing better than to hear
and take part in conversations on dresses and fashions. This was so well
known, that when Mary, Queen of Scots, sent the same Sir James Melville
on his mission to the English Court, in 1564, she was careful to advise
him not to forget such means to propitiate her "dear sister." The
account left by Melville of the way in which he carried into effect this
part of his instructions is highly characteristic of the times, and
gives an idea of the way in which a courtly conversation was then

"The Queen my mistress," says Melville, in his "Memoires," "had
instructed me to leave matters of gravity sometimes, and cast in merry
purposes, lest otherwise I should be wearied [wearying], she being well
informed of that queens natural temper. Therefore in declaring my
observations of the customs of Dutchland, Poland and Italy, the buskins
of the women was not forgot, and what countrey weed I thought best
becoming gentlewomen. The Queen said she had cloths of every sort, which
every day thereafter, so long as I was there, she changed. One day she
had the English weed, another the French, and another the Italian and so

"She asked me which of them became her best?

"I answered, in my judgment the Italian dress, which answer I found
pleased her well, for she delighted to shew her golden coloured hair,
wearing a caul and bonnet as they do in Italy. Her hair was more reddish
than yellow, curled in appearance naturally.

"She desired to know of me what colour of hair was reputed best, and
which of them two was fairest.

"I answered the fairness of them both was not their worst faults.

"But she was earnest with me to declare which of them I judged fairest?

"I said she was the fairest Queen of England, and mine the fairest Queen
of Scotland.

"Yet she appeared earnest.

"I answered they were both the fairest Ladies in their countries; that
Her Majesty was whiter, but my Queen was very lovely.

"She inquired which of them was of highest stature?

"I said my Queen.

"Then saith she, she is too high, for I, my self, am neither too high
nor too low. Then she asked what kind of exercise she used?

"I answered that when I received my dispatch, the Queen was lately come
from the High-land hunting. That when her more serious affairs
permitted, she was taken up with reading of histories; that sometimes
she recreated her self in playing upon the lute and virginals.

"She asked if she played well? I said reasonably, for a Queen.

"That same day after dinner my Lord of Hunsdean drew me up to a quiet
gallery, that I might hear some musick, but he said that he durst not
avow it, where I might hear the Queen play upon the virginals. After I
had hearkned a while, I took up the tapistry that hung before the door
of the chamber, and seeing her back was toward the door, I entered
within the chamber, and stood a pretty space hearing her play
excellently well, but she left off immediately, so soon as she turned
her about and saw me. She appeared to be surprized to see me, and came
forward, seeming to strike me with her hand, alledging she used not to
play before men, but when she was solitary to shun melancholly."

Fortunately she does not strike the ambassador, and is easily pacified.
She wants to dazzle him also with her knowledge of languages:

"She said my French was good, and asked if I could speak Italian which
she spoke reasonably well.... Then she spake to me in Dutch [_i.e._,
German], which was not good; and would know what kind of books I most
delighted in, whether theology, history, or love matters." She manages
to keep Melville two days longer than he had intended to stay "till I
might see her dance, as I was afterward informed. Which being over, she
inquired of me whether she or my Queen danced best? I answered the Queen
danced not so high and disposedly as she did."

This woman, nevertheless, with so many frailties and ultra-feminine
vanities, was a sovereign with a will and a purpose. Even in the midst
of this talk about buskins, love-books and virginals, it shone out. So
much so, that hearing she is resolved not to marry, the Scottish
ambassador immediately retorts in somewhat blunt fashion: "I know the
truth of that, madam, said I, and you need not tell it me. Your Majesty
thinks if you were married, you would be but Queen of England, and now
you are both King and Queen. I know your spirit cannot endure a

The same singular combination may be observed in the literary works of
her time: flowers of speech and vanities abound, but they are not
without an aim. Rarely was any sovereign so completely emblematic of his
or her period. She may almost be said to be the key to it; and it may be
very well asserted that whatever the branch of art or literature of this
epoch you wish to understand, you must first study Elizabeth.

Her taste for finery and jewels remained to the last. Hentzner, a
German, who saw her many years after Melville, describes her coming out
of her chapel at Greenwich Palace, in 1598. She has greatly altered; she
is no longer the young princess that would publicly forget etiquette at
Westminster for the sake of Robert Dudley; but she still glitters with
jewels and ornaments. "Next came the Queen, in the sixty-fifth year of
her age, as we were told, very majestic; her face oblong, fair, but
wrinkled, her eyes small, yet black and pleasant; her nose a little
hooked, her lips narrow, and her teeth black.... She had in her ears two
pearls, with very rich drops; she wore false hair and that red; upon her
head she had a small crown.... Her bosom was uncovered as all the
English ladies have till they marry, and she had on a necklace of
exceeding fine jewels; her hands were small, her fingers long, and her
stature neither tall nor low; her air was stately, her manner of
speaking kind and obliging. That day she was dressed in white silk,
bordered with pearls of the size of beans, and over it a mantle of black
silk, shot with silver threads ... Instead of a chain, she had an oblong
collar of gold and jewels."[61]


These descriptions of her by Melville and Hentzner are supplemented, in
highly characteristic fashion, not only by such fancy portraits as the
one alluded to before, where she is represented as a shepherdess, a
nymph, an imaginary being from Arcady, from mythology, or from nowhere,
but by such grave, dignified, official portraitures as the very fine
engraving left by Rogers. Round the sharp-featured face, with closed,
wilful lips, weary eyes, open, intelligent forehead, lace ruffs of
various shapes, some very bushy, some quite flat and round-shaped like
butterfly wings, are displayed in most imposing array. No imaginable
kind of gum or starch could keep them straight; they were spread on iron
wires. The gown itself, of cylindric shape, expanded by means of a
farthingale, is covered with knobs, knots, pearls, ribbons, fringes, and
ornaments of all sorts. Well does this figure deserve the attention of
the student of Shakespeare, for in this and no other fashion was
Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, dressed, when she appeared on the boards
of the Globe Theatre. Never did the author of "Antony" dream of
Denderah's temple, and of the soft, voluptuous face, peacock-covered,
representing there Isis-Cleopatra; but he dressed his Egyptian queen as
the queen he had known had been dressed, and it was in the costumes of
Rogers' engraving, and most appropriately too, that the Cleopatra of the
Globe was heard to make the remarkable proposal, "Let's to

Does this seem very strange or in any way incredible? But we must
remember that many years, nay, several centuries, were to elapse before
anything like historical accuracy was to affect dresses on the stage.
Another Cleopatra trod the boards of the English theatre in the
eighteenth century; she was very different from her Elizabethan elder
sister; she wore _paniers_ and a Louis XV. wig, and, as may be seen in
our engraving, came in no way nearer the model at Denderah.



The architecture of this period corresponded with the richness and pomp
of the costumes. A new style, partly from Italy, partly from dreamland,
was introduced into England during the Tudor and early Jacobean times.
There was lace, and knots and knobs and curious holes, pillars, and
pilasters. The sincerest admirers of antiquity, such as Inigo Jones, who
went to Italy with such good purpose, and there filled his albums with
many exquisite sketches of antique and Renaissance masterpieces,[63]
could not refrain from sometimes introducing Arcady and dreamland into
their architecture. Inigo Jones died before finishing his Whitehall
palace, and we know from his drawings that he intended to embellish the
central circular court with a row of gigantic caryatides representing
Persians, six or seven yards high.[64] A contriver of masks for the
Court, Inigo Jones, was in this way tempted to build palaces, if one may
say so, in _mask-style_. Such houses as Audley End, Hatfield, and
especially Burghley, this last being mostly Elizabethan,[65] are
excellent representations of the architectural tastes of the time; the
thick windowless towers of a former age are replaced by palatial
façades, where countless enormous windows occupy more space in the wall
than the bricks and stones themselves. Not a few people of a
conservative turn of mind were heard to grumble at these novelties: "And
albeit," said Harrison, in 1577, at the very time when Lord Burghley was
busy building his house in Northamptonshire, "that in these daies there
be manie goodlie houses erected in the sundrie quarters of this Iland;
yet they are rather curious to the eie, _like paper worke_ than
substantiall for continuance; whereas such as he [Henry VIII.] did set
up, excel in both and therefore may justlie be preferred farre above all
the rest." But notwithstanding such a threatening prophecy neither at
Burghley nor at Hatfield has the "paper worke" put there been yet blown
away by storm or time, and these houses continue to afford a safe
residence to the descendants of the Cecils. According to Harrison's
judgment the interior of the new houses, no less than the exterior,
testified to a decadence: "Now have we manie chimnies; and yet our
tenderlings complaine of rheumes, catarhs and poses. Then had we none
but reredosses; and our heads did never ake. For as the smoke in those
daies was supposed to be a sufficient hardening of the timber of the
house, so it was reputed a far better medicine to keepe the goodman and
his familie from the quacke or pose, wherewith, as then verie few were

But Harrison's blame does not seem to have greatly affected the taste
for chimneys, any more than his sinister prophecies concerning
Elizabethan houses have been fulfilled; chimneys have continued, and
paper-work houses remain still to help us if need be to understand the
poetry, the drama, and the novel of the period.

[Illustration: VIRGO.]


[30] "Là doncques, Françoys, marchez couraigeusement vers ceste superbe
cité romaine; & des serves dépouilles d'elle, comme vous avez fait plus
d'une fois, ornez vos temples & autelz.... Pillez moi sans conscience
les sacrez thésors de ce temple Delphique ... Vous souvienne de vostre
ancienne Marseille, secondes Athènes!" ("La Deffense et illustration de
la langue Françoyse," 1549).

[31] "The Scholemaster," London, 1570, 4to, p. 26; Arber's reprint,
1870, 4to, pp. 83, _et seq._ Ascham had died in 1568; this work was
published by his widow.

[32] Preface dated 1581 to "Civile Conversation," London, 1586, 4to.

[33] The novelist Greene, for example, and the novelist Lyly. The latter
writes in his "Euphues," 1579: "Let not your mindes be caryed away with
vaine delights, as with travailing into farre & straunge countries, wher
you shal see more wickednesse then learn vertue & wit" (Arber's reprint,
1868, p. 152). As for Greene, see _infra_, chap. iv. One of the most
curious of these denunciations of travel was the "Quo vadis? a juste
censure of travel," by Bishop Joseph Hall, 1617, 12mo. The author
demonstrates that most of the vices of the English are of foreign
importation, chiefly from France and Italy; good qualities alone are
native and national. The best thing to do, then, is to keep at home.

[34] Letter (in Latin) to the Archbishop of York, 1544. "Works," ed.
Giles, London, 1865, 4 vol. 16mo, vol. i. p. 35.

[35] "Toxophilus," 1545, in "Works," ed. Giles, vol. ii. p. 5.

[36] "Scholemaster," 1570, Arber's reprint, p. 77.

[37] "The Scholemaster," Arber's reprint, pp. 79, 80.

[38] "A pleasant disport of divers noble personages ... intituled
Philocopo ... englished by H. G[ifford?]," London, 1567, 4to; "Amorous
Fiametta, wherein is sette downe a catalogue of all & singular passions
of love and jealosie incident to an enamoured yong gentlewoman ... done
into English by B. Giovano [_i.e._, B. Young]," London, 1587; "The
Decameron, containing an hundred pleasant novels," London, 1620, fol.
(with woodcuts); "The Civile Conversation ... translated ... by G.
Pettie ... and B. Yong," London, 1586, 4to; "The lamentations of Amyntas
... translated out of latine into english hexameters," by Abraham
Fraunce, London, 1587, 4to; "Godfray of Bulloigne, or the recoverie of
Hierusalem ... translated by R. C[arew] ... imprinted in both
languages," London, 1594; "The courtier of Count Baldesar Castillo ...
done into English by Th. Hobby," London, 1588, 8vo (contains an Italian,
English and French text); "Diana of George of Montemayor, translated by
B. Yong," London, 1598, fol. Among other translations three of the most
important were Lord Berners' "Froysshart," "translated out of Frenche
into our maternall Englysshe tonge," 1522, North's translation of
Plutarch after the French of Amyot (1579), and Florio's translation of
Montaigne, 1603, fol., which were well known to the dramatists, and went
through several editions. The British Museum possesses a copy of
Florio's Montaigne, which was the property of Ben Jonson. A far more
satisfactory translation of the same author was made by Cotton, 1685-6,
3 vol. 8vo.

[39] Sig. F. f. 1.

[40] "Orlando Furioso, in English heroical verse," by John Harington,
London, 1591, fol. The plates were used in the Italian edition: "Orlando
Furioso ... novamente adornato di Figure di Rame da Girolamo Porro
Padouano," Venice, 1588, 4to. There is, however, a difference in the
frontispiece, where the allegorical figure of Peace is replaced in the
English edition by a portrait of Harington, engraved by Thomas Coxon,
who signed as if the whole frontispiece was by his hand. We give a
reduced fac-simile of this frontispiece.

[41] He had written in his "Scholemaster": These "fond books" are
"dedicated over boldlie to vertuous and honourable personages, the
easelier to beguile simple and innocent wittes. It is pitie that those
which have authority and charge to allow and dissallow bookes to be
printed, be no more circumspect herein than they are." (Arber's reprint,
p. 79).

[42] Old Style. The dedication is dated: "Nere the Tower of London the
first of Januarie 1566."

[43] First published in Gascoigne's "Hundreth sundrie flowres bound up
in one small poesie," London, 1572, 4to.

[44] Translated from the French of Belleforest, who had himself
translated it from Bandello. Though the date of the only known edition
of the story in English is later than the production of "Hamlet," it
seems to have been known before, and to have been used by Shakespeare.
See Furnivall's "Leopold Shakspere," p. lxix.

[45] "The historie of ... Plasidas and other rare pieces," ed. H. H.
Gibbs, Roxburghe Club, London, 1873, 4to. One of these "pieces,"
prefaced with an important introduction, is the "Goodli history" of Lady

[46] _Ut supra_, p. 119.

[47] Here is Piccolomini's text: "Sed ut ipse Cæsarem, sic eum Lucretia
sequebatur in somnis, nullamque noctem sibi quietam permittebat. Quam ut
obiisse verus amator cognovit, magno dolore permotus, lugubrem vestem
recepit; nec consolationem admisit, nisi postquam Cæsar ex ducalo
sanguine virginem sibi cum formosam tum castissimam atque prudentem
matrimonio junxit." The French translator did not alter this end. It
will be remembered that the conclusion of Chaucer's "Troilus" compares
in the same way with Boccaccio's and with the French translator's,
Pierre de Beauveau.

[48] "Captain Cox, his ballads and books, or Robert Laneham's Letter ...
1575," ed. F. J. Furnivall, London, Ballad Society, 1871, 8vo, p. 29.

[49] Epistle to the reader, prefacing the "Palace of Pleasure."

[50] That there was also in London a public for Italian books is shown,
among many other proofs, by the early publication thereof an edition of
the "Pastor Fido" of Guarini in the original, London, 1591, 12mo.

[51] "Epistolarum ... libri xxxi.," London, 1642, fol., col. 308, 533,
364, &c. A.D. 1497 and 1519.

[52] "The Scholemaster," p. 2, and Letter to Brandesby (in Latin),
1542-3; "Works," ed. Giles, tom. i. p. 25.

[53] "Equidem aureum quoddam seculum exoriri video, quo mihi fortassis
non continget frui, quippe qui jam ad fabulæ meæ catastrophem accedam"
(Letter to Henry of Guildford, May, 1519, "Epistolarum ... libri xxxi.,"
London, 1642, fol., col. 368)

[54] "The Scholemaster," p. 21.

[55] "Description of Britaine," 1577, ed. Furnivall, New Shakspere
Society, part i, p. 271.

[56] "Est præterea mos nunquam satis laudatus. Sive quo venias omnium
osculis exciperis; sive discedas aliquo, osculis dimitteris; redis,
redduntur suavia ... denique quocumque te moveas, suaviorum plena sunt
omnia" ("Epistolarum ... libri.," London, 1642, col. 315, A.D. 1499).

[57] "The second book of the travels of Nicander Nucius," ed. Cramer,
London, Camden Society, 1841, 4to, p. 10. Nucius resided in England in

[58] "The Memoires of Sir James Melvil, of Hal-hill," ed. G. Scott.
London, 1683, fol. p. 47.

[59] The autograph manuscript of her translations, which comprise a part
of the works of Plutarch, Horace and Boetius, was found in 1883, at the
Record Office.

[60] "Memoires," London, 1683, pp. 49 _et seq._

[61] "Travels in England," ed. H. Morley, London, 1889, p. 47.

[62] "Antony and Cleopatra," act ii. sc. 5. As for a reproduction of
Rogers' engraving, see Frontispiece of this volume.

[63] An album of sketches of this sort, made by Inigo Jones while in
Italy, 1614, was reproduced in fac-simile by the care of the Duke of
Devonshire, London, 1832. See also drawings, by the same, for scenery
and costumes in masks in the "Portfolio," May, June, and July, 1889,
three articles by Mr. R. T. Blomfield. Isaac Oliver the famous
Elizabethan miniature painter, has left also drawings, one of which is
reproduced at the head of this chapter, testifying to his careful study
of Italian models.

[64] A view of this court, with the caryatides, is to be seen in W.
Kent, "The Designs of Inigo Jones," London, 1835, two vol. fol. We give
a reproduction of the caryatides.

[65] It was built on the plans, as is supposed, of J. Thorpe, possibly
with the help of the Italian John of Padua. Above one of the doors of
the inner court is the date 1577; the clock tower is dated 1585; see the
engraving p. 69. Hatfield bears on its façade the date 1611. Audley End
was built 1603-1616.

[66] "Description of Britaine," ed. Furnivall, New Shakspere Society,
part i. pp. 268 and 338.

[Illustration: A DRAGON, ACCORDING TO TOPSELL, 1608.]




The romance which, at this period, received a new life, and was to come
nearer to our novels than anything that had gone before, has many traits
in common with the fanciful style of the architecture, costume, and
conversation described above. What have we to do, thought men, with
things practical, convenient, or of ordinary use? We wish for nothing
but what is brilliant, unexpected, extraordinary. What is the good of
setting down in writing the incidents of commonplace lives? Are they not
sufficiently known to us? does not their triviality sadden us enough
every day? If we are told stories of imaginary lives, let them at least
be dissimilar from our own; let them offer unforeseen incidents; let the
author be free to turn aside from reality provided that he leaves the
trivial and the ordinary. Let him lead us to Verona, Athens, into
Arcadia, where he will, but as far as possible from Fleet Street! And if
by ill-luck he sets foot in Fleet Street, let him at least speak the
language of Arcadia!

Authors found this advice excellent, and took good care to relieve
themselves of difficult search after the mere truth. The public who
imposed these laws, this exacting public of women who read Plutarch and
Plato, who judged the merits of great men as learnedly as the cut of a
ruff, found at the very moment they most wanted him the author who could
please them in the person of a novel writer, the famous Lyly. At
twenty-five years of age, John Lyly, a _protégé_ of Lord Burghley, who
was at this same time busy with his own architectural poem, if one may
say so, of Burghley House, wrote "Euphues,"[67] a new kind too of
"paper-work" with which people were enraptured.

It was written expressly for women, and not only did the author not
conceal the circumstance, but he proclaimed it aloud. Their opinion
alone interested him, to that of the critics he was indifferent. "It
resteth Ladies," he said, "that you take the paines to read it, but at
such times, as you spend in playing with your little dogges, and yet
will I not pinch you of that pastime, for I am content that your dogges
lie in your laps: so 'Euphues' may be in your hands, that when you shall
be wearie in reading of the one, you may be ready to sport with the
other.... 'Euphues' had rather lye shut in a Ladyes casket, then open
in a Schollers studie." Yet after dinner, "Euphues" will still be
agreeable to the ladies, adds Lyly, always smiling; if they desire to
slumber, it will bring them to sleep which will be far better than
beginning to sew and pricking their fingers when they begin to nod.[68]

There is no possibility of error; with Lyly commences in England the
literature of the drawing-room, that of which we speak at morning calls,
productions which, in spite of vast and many changes, still occupy a
favourite place on the little boudoir tables. We must also notice what
pains Lyly gives himself to make his innovation a success, and so please
his patronesses, and how he ornaments his thoughts and engarlands his
speeches, how cunningly he imbues himself with the knowledge of the
ancients and of foreigners, and what trouble he gives himself to improve
upon the most learned and the most florid of them. His care was not
thrown away. He was spoiled, petted, and caressed by the ladies; with an
impartial heart they extended to the author the same favour they granted
to the book, and to their little dogs. He was proclaimed king of letters
by his admirers, and became, in fact, king of the _précieux_. He created
a school, and the name of his hero served to baptize a whole literature.
This particular form of bad style was called _euphuism_.


Euphuism owes to him its name and its diffusion in England; but not,
although it is usually so stated, its birth. This strange language, as
Dr. Landmann[69] has well demonstrated, was imported from Spain into
England, and Lyly was not the first to use it in this country. The works
of Guevara, turned into English by five or six different translators,
had a considerable vogue and acclimatized this extraordinary style in
Great Britain. One of his writings especially, "The golden boke of
Marcus Aurelius, emperour," enjoyed a very great popularity; it was
translated by Lord Berners in 1532, and by Sir Thomas North in 1557,[70]
and went through many editions. The moral dissertations of which it is
full enchanted serious minds; the unusual language of Spain delighted
frivolous souls. Before Lyly, English authors had already imitated it;
but when Lyly appeared and embellished it even more, enthusiasm ran so
high that its foreign progenitor was forgotten, and this exotic style
was rebaptized as proof of adoption and naturalization in England.

Since it is not a natural product, but the mere result of ingenious
artifices, nothing is easier than to reduce it to its component parts,
to take it to pieces so to speak. It consists in an immoderate,
prodigious, monstrous use of similes, so arranged as to set up
antitheses in every limb of the sentence. What is peculiar to the
English imitators, is the employment of alliteration, in order to better
mark the balance of the sentences written for effect. Finally, the kind
of similes even has something peculiar: they are for the most part
borrowed from an imaginary ancient history and a fantastical natural
history, a sort of mythology of plants and stones to which the most
extraordinary virtues are attributed.

In the important parts, when he means to use a noble style, Lyly cannot
relate the most trivial incident without setting up parallels between
the sentiments of his characters and the virtues of toads, serpents,
unicorns, scorpions, and all the fantastical animals mentioned in Pliny
or described in the bestiaries of the Middle Ages. His knowledge of
zoology resembles that of Richard de Fournival, who, in the thirteenth
century, lamented in his "Bestiaire d'Amour,"[71] that he was like the
wolf, who, when instead of first noticing the man, allowed the man to
see him first, lost all his courage; or like the cricket who loves
chirping so much that he forgets to eat and allows himself to be caught.
Richard was overcome in like manner by the glances of his mistress, and
all his songs only served to accomplish his ruin. The woman he loves
resembles the bird called "Kalander," or again, the animal called
"cockatrice" or "cocodrille," which is often mentioned by Lyly. "Its
nature is such that when it finds a man, then it devours him, and when
it has devoured him, then it laments him all the days of its life."[72]
Such is the conduct, says Richard, of women too beautiful and too much

[Illustration: THE "ÆGYPTIAN OR LAND CROCODILE," 1608.]

Bestiaries had enjoyed an immense popularity from the earliest times.
They were not all, far from it, like Richard de Fournival's,
love-bestiaries; most of them had a religious tendency. Such were, for
example, in England, the well-known Anglo-Saxon bestiary,[73] or the
English bestiary of the thirteenth century, in which we read of the
world-famous wickedness of the whale who allows sailors to rest on her
back, and even to light a fire thereon, in order to warm themselves;
but as soon as she feels the heat she dives and drowns them all: an
example of what may be expected from the devil. There is, too, the
elephant that leans against a tree to take his rest. People cunningly
cut the tree, and replace it; when the elephant comes the tree falls and
so does he, and is caught, an emblem of our father Adam, who also owed
his fall to a tree.[74] Again the "Contes Moralisés" of Nicole Bozon,
written in French by a friar who lived in England in the first half of
the fourteenth century, are also full of the most curious comparisons
between the properties of animals, plants, and minerals, and the sinful
tendencies and frailties of mankind.[75]

These are old, far-off examples, and it might be supposed that people of
education in Elizabethan England would have possessed a sounder
knowledge of natural history. This was, however, not the case. And if we
wish to know what were the current beliefs among well-informed men of
the time about animals, we have only to open the two folio volumes
penned with greatest care by painstaking Topsell, concerning
"Foure-footed beastes" and "Serpents."[76] We shall then willingly set
Lyly and his followers free from all blame of exaggeration and
improbable inventions. Most often indeed they did not invent; they
knew. Topsell's books are nothing but a careful summary of the then
generally accepted reports concerning animated creation.

His histories are the more curious as his scruples and earnestness are
obvious. His purpose is high, and he means to write only for the
Creator's glory, considering his subject to be a "part of Divinity that
was never known in English. I take my owne conscience to witness, which
is manifest to my Judge and Saviour, I have intended nothing but his
glory, that is the creator of all." Secondly, his serious attention to
his subject is shown by what he says of accessible animals; the
engravings he gives of them, of dogs, for instance, of bulls, asses, and
many others being really excellent. Even rare animals, when by any
chance he had secured a glimpse of them, are represented with the utmost
care; such, for instance, is his chameleon, of which he gives a very
good engraving, not long after careless Robert Greene had been writing
of "this byrd, a camelion."[77]

But, then, nature is full of surprises, and so is Topsell's book. His
antelopes are very dangerous things: "They have hornes ... which are
very long and sharpe; so that Alexander affirmed they pierced through
the sheeldes of his souldiers, and fought with them very irefully: at
which time his companions slew as he travelled to India, 8,550; which
great slaughter may be the occasion why they are so rare and sildome
seene to this day." Undoubtedly.


The blood of the elephant has a very strange property: "Also it is
reported that the blood of an elephant is the coldest blood in the world
and that Dragons in the scorching heate of summer cannot get anything to
coole them except this blood." The sea-horse, or hippopotamus, "is a
most ugly and filthy beast, so called because in his voice and mane he
resembleth a horsse, but in his head an oxe or a calfe; in the residue
of his body a swine.... It liveth for the most part in rivers; yet it is
of a doubtful life, for it brings forth and breedeth on the land."
According to the accompanying engraving he apparently feeds on
crocodiles. The rhinoceros is remarkable for his breathing: he "hath a
necke like unto a horsse and also the other parts of his body, but it is
said to breath out aire which killeth men."

But in this world of animals, which includes the Mantichora, the
Sphinga, the Papio, and a monster alive "in the territory of the bishop
of Salceburgh," the most interesting is the Lamia. It is of such great
interest because its very existence has been disputed, but quite
wrongly. Some untrue reports were circulated concerning this animal, and
as these accounts were fabulous, people have been found who disbelieved,
not only the stories, but even the possibility that Lamiæ existed.
Topsell wisely takes a middle course: "These and such like stories and
opinions there are of Phairies, which in my judgment arise from the
præstigious apparitions of Devils, whose delight is to deceive and
beguile the minds of men with errour, contrary to the truths of holye
scripture which doeth no where make mention of such inchaunting
creatures; and therefore if any such be, we will holde them the workes
of the Devill and not of God." But, then, there are true Lamiæ, and "we
shall take for granted by the testimony of holy scripture that there is
such a beast as this." The particulars Topsell was able to gather about
them are to the following effect: "The hinde parts of this beast are
like unto a goate, his fore legs like a beares, his upper parts to a
woman, the body scaled all over like a Dragon, as some have observed, by
the observation of their bodies." Their wickedness is so great that it
scarcely bears description: "They are the swiftest of foot of all
earthly beasts, so as none can escape them by running, for by their
celerity, they compasse their prey of beastes, and by their fraud, they
overthrow men. For when as they see a man, they lay open their breastes,
and by the beauty thereof entice them to come neare to conference, and
so having them within their compasse, they devoure and kill them." So
much for four-footed beasts.[78]

[Illustration: THE LAMIA, ACCORDING TO TOPSELL, 1607.]

The "Historie of serpents" is not less instructive, for it contains,
"with their lively figures: names, conditions, kindes and natures of all
venomous beasts: with their severall poisons and antidotes; their deepe
hatred to mankind and the wonderfull worke of God in their creation and
destruction." Among serpents are included: bees, drones, wasps, hornets,
frogs, toads, tortoises, spiders, earthworms, and many other unexpected
"venomous beasts." There is in this book information concerning the
boas: "The Latines call it _Boa_ and _Bossa_ of _Bos_ because by sucking
cowes milke it so encreaseth that in the end it destroyeth all manner of
herdes and cattels." The cockatrice, above named, "seemeth to be the
king of serpents ... because of his stately face and magnanimous mind."
The crocodile is to be carefully avoided, "even the Egyptians themselves
account a crocodile a savage and cruell murthering beast, as may appeare
by their Hieroglyphicks, for when they will decypher a mad man, they
picture a crocodile." And Topsell goes on to relate the particular
hatred which existed between crocodiles and the inhabitants of Tentyris,
that exquisitely charming Denderah which overlooks the valley of the
Nile, and still deserves its old fame as the chief temple of the Goddess
Athor, the Egyptian Aphrodite.

The dipsas, the hydra, the dragon, are also endowed with the most
remarkable qualities; but they seem to have disappeared since Topsell's
day. Not so another very wonderful animal of whom we continue to hear
from time to time, I mean the great sea-serpent; this marvellous beast
is not only described, but depicted in our naturalist's book. Topsell
gives a faithful portrait of it, and we do the same. These animals are
so big that "many a time, they overthrow in the waters a laden vessell
of great quantitie, with all the wares therein contained." The engraving
shows one of them upsetting a three-masted Jacobean ship and swallowing
sailors, apparently with great relish and voracity.[79]

Such being the current belief among students of the natural sciences, we
may be the better prepared to excuse some eccentricities in a novelist.
Lyly, who was well versed in the legendary lore of plants and animals,
is never tired of making a display of his knowledge, but the wonder is
that his readers had never too much of that. A single erudite or
scientific simile never satisfies Lyly; he has always in his hands a
long bead-roll of them, which he complacently pays out: "The foul toade
hath a faire stone in his head, the fine golde is found in the filthy
earth: the sweet kernell lyeth in the hard shell: vertue is harboured in
the heart of him that most men esteeme mishapen ... Doe we not commonly
see that in painted pottes is hidden the deadlyest poyson? that in the
greenest grasse is ye greatest serpent? in the cleerest water the
uglyest toade?" and four or five similes still follow. Tormented by
examples, overwhelmed with similitudes, the adventurous reader, who
to-day risks a reading of "Euphues," feels it impossible to keep his
composure. He would like to protest, to defend himself, to say that he
has lied, this imperturbable naturalist, that bitter kernels are found
indeed in the hardest shells, that painted pots often contain something
other than poison, and that if toads appear less ugly in foul water, it
is perhaps because they are the less seen. But what does it matter to
Lyly? He writes for a select coterie, and when a man writes for a
coterie, the protestations of the discontented, of the envious, alas! of
those of good sense, too, are scarcely of any consequence. Let the
common herd then shriek themselves hoarse at Lyly's door: it is shut
fast, he will hear nothing, and is indifferent even if among this common
herd Shakespeare figures. He is happy; "Euphues," in company with the
little dogs, rumples the silken laps of ladies with the lace-plaited

[Illustration: THE BOA, AS IT WAS UNDERSTOOD, A.D. 1608.]


But however important style may be, it is not everything in a literary
work. It must be acknowledged that Lyly's success, if it is no
commendation of the taste of his contemporaries, is greatly to the
credit of their morality and earnestness. By the form of his sentences
Lyly is a Spaniard; he surpasses the most bombastic, and could give
points to that author mentioned by Louis Racine, who, discovering his
mistress lying under a tree, cried: "Come and see the sun reclining in
the shade!" But the basis of his character is purely English; he is
truly of the same country as Richardson, and belongs at heart to that
race which Tacitus said did not know how "to laugh at vices," a very
high praise that Rousseau rendered later almost in the same terms.[80]
From the time of Lyly until our own day, the English novel, generally
speaking, has remained not only moral, but a moralizing agent; the
author has recourse to a thousand skilful and fascinating devices, and
leads us by the hand through all sorts of flowery paths; but whatever
the manner may be, he almost invariably, without saying so, leads us to
the sermon. There are sermons in Defoe, who strongly protested against
some abbreviations of his "Robinson Crusoe": "They strip it of all
those reflections as well religious as moral, which are not only the
greatest beauties of the work, but are calculated for the infinite
advantage of the reader."[81] There are sermons in Richardson, so much
so that it might rather be said that novels are to be noticed in
Richardson's magnificent series of sermons. This is the way he himself
would have spoken. Did he not write to Lady Bradsaigh, while forwarding
her the last volumes of "Clarissa": "Be pleased ... to honour these
volumes with a place with your Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, with your
Practice of piety, and Nelson's Fasts and Festivals, not as being worthy
of such company, but that they may have a chance of being dipt into
thirty years hence. For I persuade myself, they will not be found
utterly unworthy of such a chance, since they appear in the humble guise
of novel, only by the way of accommodation to the manners and taste of
an age overwhelmed with luxury, and abandoned to sound and
senselessness."[82] There are some sermons in Fielding, many in Dickens,
not a few in George Eliot, and even in Thackeray. Splendid they are,
most eloquent, most admirable in their kind, most beneficial in their
way; but there is no denying that sermons they are. Unfortunately for
Lyly, what formerly constituted the attraction of "Euphues," and hid the
sermon's bitterness, makes it to-day ridiculous and even odious: it is
the style. Let us forget for a moment his unicorns and his scorpions;
taken in himself, his hero deserves attention, because he is the
ancestor in direct line of Grandison, of Lord Orville, of Lord Colambre,
and of all the sermonizing lords, and lords of good example, that
England owed to the success of Richardson.


Euphues is a young Athenian, a contemporary not of Pericles, but of
Lyly, who goes to Naples, thence to England, to study men and
governments. Grave with that gravity peculiar to lay preachers,
well-informed on every subject, even on his own merits, assured by his
conscience that in making mankind sharer in his illumination, he will
assure their salvation, he addresses moral epistles to his fellow men to
guide them through life. Omniscient like the inheritors of his vein whom
we have heard since, he instructs the world in the truth about marriage,
travel, religion. He anticipates, in his discourses concerning
aristocracy, the philosophical ideas of "Milord Edouard," of "Nouvelle
Héloïse" fame; he treats of love with the wisdom of Grandison, and of
the bringing up of children with the experience of Pamela.[83]

When women are his subject he is especially earnest and eloquent, and
having, as it seems, suffered much at their hands he concludes: "Come to
me al ye lovers that have bene deceived by fancy, the glasse of
pestilence, or deluded by woemen, the gate to perdition; be as earnest
to seeke a medicine, as you were eager to runne into a mischiefe."
Having thus secured, as it seems, a fairly large audience, he begins his
sermon, which he is pleased to call, "a cooling carde for Philautus, and
all fond lovers."[84] His intention is to give men remedies, which shall
cure them of loving. Some of his precepts resemble the wise advice of
Rondibilis to Panurge; some do not. Philautus is to avoid solitude, and
idleness; he must study. In the same way Panurge is recommended _labeur
assidu_ and _fervente estude_.[85] Philautus is advised to try law,
"whereby thou mayest have understanding of olde and auntient customes;"
if law proves of no avail, there is "Physicke," and if this again fails,
then there is "the atteining of ye sacred and sincere knowledge of
divinitie." Study then may be supplemented by contemptuous meditations
about women;[86] a remedy which Rabelais, who probably knew more of life
than twenty-five-years-old Lyly, refrains from recommending.

This part of the anathema, including as it does a description of the
superfluities of Elizabethan dress, is especially worth noticing: "Take
from them," cries Euphues, in a burst of eloquence, "their perywigges,
their paintings, their jewells, their rowles, their boulstrings, and
thou shalt soone perceive that a woman is the least part of hir selfe.
When they be once robbed of their robes, then wil they appeare so
odious, so ugly, so monstrous, that thou wilt rather think them serpents
then saints, and so like hags, that thou wilt feare rather to be
enchaunted than enamoured. Looke in their closettes, and there shalt
thou finde an appoticaryes shop of sweete confections, a surgions boxe
of sundry salves, a pedlers packe of newe fangles. Besides all this
their shadows, their spots, their lawnes, their leefekyes, their ruffes,
their rings, shew them rather cardinalls curtisans then modest
matrons.... If every one of these things severally be not of force to
move thee, yet all of them joyntly should mortifie thee." This was,
however, by no means the case, and Philautus not so much "cooled" by
this "carde" as his friend expected, behaved himself in such a way as to
demonstrate that, according to his experience, here was gross
exaggeration indeed.

Euphues shows better knowledge of the heart of woman when, continuing
his analysis of women's foibles, he comes to give his friend information
that teaches him in fact rather how to be loved than how to cease
loving: "Yet if thou be so weake being bewitched with their wiles that
thou hast neither will to eschue nor wit to avoyd their company ... yet
at the hearte dissemble thy griefe ... cary two faces in one hood, cover
thy flaming fancie with fained ashes ... let thy hewe be merry when thy
heart is melancholy, beare a pleasaunt countenaunce with a pined
conscience.... Love creepeth in by stealth, and by stealth slideth away.
If she breake promise with thee in the night, or absent hir selfe in the
day, seeme thou carelesse, and and then will she be carefull; if thou
languish [_i.e._, becomest slack in thy suit], then wil she be lavish of
hir honour, yea and of the other strange beast her honestie."

He continues in this bitter vein, avenging, as it seems, his private
wrongs, and vowing never, as far as he is himself concerned to have
anything more to do with women. From them, he is naturally led to think
of children who form an equally good theme on which to moralise. He does
not fail in this duty, and writes for the good of his friend, and of the
public at large, a little treatise very much in the style of some of
Pamela's letters,[87] where we are taught how "Ephoebus," the child that
is to be, should be brought up. Ephoebus is the Emile of this
sixteenth-century Rousseau. Always thorough and exact, Lyly is careful
to begin at the beginning, informing us at first "that the childe
shoulde be true borne and no bastarde."[88]

Then he comes to the bringing up of the boy, and with as much
earnestness as Jean-Jacques, and with true and moving eloquence, he
beseeches the mother to be the nurse of her own progeny. "It is most
necessary and most naturall in mine opinion, that the mother of the
childe be also the nurse, both for the entire love she beareth to the
babe, and the great desire she hath to have it well nourished: for is
there any one more meete to bring up the infant than she that bore it?
or will any be carefull for it, as she that bredde it?... Is the earth
called the mother of all things onely bicause it bringeth forth? No,
but bicause it nourisheth those things that springe out of it.
Whatsoever is bred in ye sea is fed in the sea; no plant, no tree, no
hearbe commeth out of the ground that is not moystened, and as it were
noursed of the moysture and mylke of the earth; the lyonesse nurseth hir
whelps, the raven cherisheth hir byrdes, the viper her broode, and shal
a woman cast away her babe?

"I accompt it cast away which in the swath clouts is cast aside, and
lyttle care can the mother have which can suffer such crueltie: and can
it be tearmed with any other title then cruelty, the infant yet looking
redde of the mother, the mother yet breathing through the torments of
hir travaile, the child crying for helpe which is said to move wilde
beastes, even in the selfe said moment it is borne, or the nexte minute,
to deliver to a straunge nurse, which perhappes is neither wholesome in
body, neither honest in manners, whiche esteemeth more thy argent though
a trifle, then thy tender infant, thy greatest treasure?" Here Lyly is
at his best, and neither Richardson nor Rousseau spoke better on this
point, which is one of their favourite subjects.

He goes on to show how his child should be brought up, with what
principles he should be imbued; many of these principles again very much
resembling those Rousseau was to accept and propagate two hundred years
later: "It is good nurture that leadeth to virtue, and discreete
demeanour that playneth the path to felicitie.... To be a noble man it
is most excellent, but that is our ancestors ... as for our nobilytie,
our stocke, our kindred, and whatsoever we ourselves have not done I
scarcely accompt ours.... It is vertue, yea vertue, gentlemen, that
maketh gentlemen.... These things [_i.e._, knowledge, reason, good
sense], neither the whirling wheele of Fortune can chaunge neither the
deceitful cavilling of worldlings separate, neither sickenesse abate,
neither age abolish." Then follows a dialogue between Euphues and an
atheist,[89] in which I need not say the latter is utterly routed; and
the book ends with a collection of letters[90] between Euphues and
various people who ask and get his advice on their difficulties,
oracle-wise, Pamela-wise too.

In the second part of his romance, which appeared in 1580,[91] Lyly
gives a kind of _Lettres persanes_, but _Lettres persanes_ reversed,
Montesquieu making use of his foreigner to satirize France, and Lyly of
his to eulogize his native land. Euphues comes to England with his
friend Philautus, and, since he knows everything, instructs the latter
as they go along. He warns him against wine, gambling, and debauchery,
teaches him geography, and points out to him what is worth seeing.
Philautus does not retort that Euphues is a pedant, which proves him to
be very good tempered and a perfect travelling companion. The two
friends are enchanted with the country: its natural products, its
commerce, its agriculture, its inhabitants and their manners, its
bishops and their flocks, the civil government, the religious
government, everything is perfect. English gentlewomen are prodigies of
wisdom and beauty; and indeed that is the least Lyly can say of them,
since it is for them that he is writing. When he spoke, as we have seen,
disparagingly of women, he meant Italian women (none of whom, as a
matter of fact, he had ever known or even seen), not Englishwomen. These
spend their mornings "in devout prayer," and not in bed like the ladies
of Italy; they read the Scriptures instead of Ariosto and Petrarch; they
are so beautiful that the traveller is enraptured and cannot help crying
out: "There is no beauty but in England." To sum up, "they are in prayer
devoute, in bravery humble, in beautie chast, in feasting temperate, in
affection wise, in mirth modest, in all their actions though courtlye,
bicause woemen, yet Aungels, bicause virtuous." As for the women of
other countries, they all have lovers and spend their time in painting
their faces.[92]

Having verified such important differences, Philautus cannot do less
than find a wife in England, and Euphues, whose unsociable humour
prevents his doing likewise, carries away with him into his native land
the remembrance of "a place, in my opinion (if any such may be on the
earth) not inferiour to a paradise," and of a Queen "of singuler beautie
and chastitie, excelling in the one Venus, in the other Vesta."

It is, however, appropriate to recollect that at the time of the
Renaissance, before the blossoming in England of this literature for
ladies, Caxton too had enumerated the chief qualities of the women of
his country. They are the same as in Lyly, only, as we shall see, the
honest printer closes his remarks with a slight reservation. In the
preface placed at the beginning of a work translated from the French by
Lord Rivers, he states that in the translation, several passages
reflecting on the female sex were suppressed; that is easily understood;
they would have no application in England; "for I wote wel," says he,
"of whatsomever condicion women ben in Grece, the women of this contre
ben right good, wyse, playsant, humble, discrete, sobre, chast, obedient
to their husbandis, trewe, secrete, stedfast, ever besy and never ydle,
attemperat in speking and vertuous in all their werkis"--"or," he is
fain to add, "atte leste sholde be soo."[93] And thereupon, Caxton, on
his own authority, restores the suppressed passages.

From the particular point of view of the historian of the English novel,
Lyly with all his absurdities had yet one merit which must be taken into
account. With him we leave epic and chivalrous stories and approach the
novel of manners. There is no longer question of Arthur and his
marvellous knights, but rather of contemporary men, who, in spite of
excessive oratorical gew-gaws, possess some resemblance to reality.
Conversations are reported in which we find the tone of well-born
persons of the period. Lyly takes care also to be very exact in his
dates. Having announced at the end of his first volume that Euphues was
about to set out for England, he informs us in the beginning of the
second, which appeared in 1580, that the embarkation took place on
December 1, 1579. He would, for anything, have gone so far as to give an
engraved portrait of his hero, just as we were to see later, at the
beginning of a book destined to make some noise in the world, the
portrait of "Captain Lemuel Gulliver of Redriff." Undoubtedly his
opinions on men and life, his analysis of sentiment, are rather clumsily
blended with the story and savour of the awkwardness of a first attempt;
but there was however merit in making the attempt, and it is not
impossible at distant intervals to discover under the crust of pedantry
some well-turned passage, possessing eloquence, as we have seen, or,
more rarely, a sort of humour. It is thus that a tolerably good lesson
may be drawn from the adventures of Philautus in London, who, deeply
smitten with the charms of a young English lady, consults a sorcerer in
order to obtain a philtre that will inspire love. Here was an excellent
opportunity, which the magician does not fail to seize, of talking about
serpents and toads. But, after a long enumeration of the bones, stones,
and livers of animals that cause love, the alchemist, urged by
Philautus, ends by confessing that the best sorcery of all to gain the
loving regard of a woman, is to be handsome, witty, and charming.


By his defects and his merits, his wisdom, his gracefulness and also his
bad style, Lyly could not fail to please. His public was ready when he
began writing, a public with many frivolous tastes and many serious
instincts. The lightness of tone and of behaviour which struck a
foreigner coming for the first time to the English court or a
professional censor who by trade is meant to see nothing else, was
misleading as showing only the surface of the sort of mankind that was
flourishing there at that time. This lightness of tone, however, did
exist nevertheless, and those who assumed it were not slow to embellish
their speeches with flowers from Lyly's paper garden. The austere French
Huguenot, Hubert Languet, the friend and adviser of Sir Philip Sidney,
who visited England in the very year "Euphues" was published, was very
much astonished to see how English courtiers behaved themselves;
accustomed as he was to the grave talk he enjoyed with his young friend,
he had imagined, it seems, that no other was relished by him or by
anybody in Queen Elizabeth's palaces. When he left the country he wrote
to Sidney his opinion of the manners he had observed. It is simply a
confirmation of what Ascham had stated sometime before, when he wrote of
his travelled compatriots: neither of them did justice to the more
serious qualities hidden under all this courtly trifling: "It was a
delight to me last winter," says Languet, "to see you high in favour and
enjoying the esteem of all your countrymen; but to speak plainly, the
habits of your court seemed to me somewhat less manly than I could have
wished, and most of your noblemen appeared to me to seek for a
reputation more by a kind of affected courtesy than by those virtues
which are wholesome to the State, and which are most becoming to
generous spirits and to men of high birth. I was sorry therefore, and so
were other friends of yours, to see you wasting the flower of your life
on such things, and I feared lest that noble nature of yours should be
brought to take pleasure in pursuits which only enervate the mind."[94]

Lyly's book proved well suited to this public; it went through numerous
editions; it was printed five times during the first six years of its
publication, and new editions were issued from time to time till 1636.
It gave birth, as we shall see, to many imitations; the name of Euphues
on the title-page of a novel was for years considered a safe conduct to
the public, if not to posterity; books purporting to be Euphues'
legacies or copies of Euphues' papers, or bearing in some way or other
the stamp of his supposed approbation, multiplied accordingly. The
movement increased rapidly, but it was not to last long; in fact, it did
not continue beyond ten or twelve years; after this time the monuments
of the euphuistic literature were still reprinted, but no addition was
made to their number.

This period, however, was filled in a measure with the product of Lyly's
brains or that of his imitators. All who prided themselves on elegance
spoke his affected language, and studied in his book the mythology of
plants. Edward Blount, a bookseller who reprinted Lyly's comedies in the
following century, at a time when these courtly dramas were beginning to
be forgotten, has well expressed the kindly and sympathetic favour
accorded to Lyly by the ladies of Elizabethan days: "These papers of
his," says he, "lay like dead lawrels in a churchyard; but I have
gathered the scattered branches up, and by a charme, gotten from Apollo,
made them greene againe and set them up as epitaphes to his memory. A
sinne it were to suffer these rare monuments of wit to lye covered in
dust and a shame such conceipted comedies should be acted by none but
wormes. Oblivion shall not so trample on a sonne of the Muses; and such
a sonne as they called their darling. Our nation are in his debt for a
new English which he taught them. 'Euphues and his England' began first
that language; all our ladyes were then his schollers; and that beautie
in court, which could not parley eupheueisme was as little regarded, as
shee which now there speakes not French."[95] It may be appropriately
recalled here that this same Blount who thus eulogizes Lyly had
published already another set of Elizabethan dramas, and a much more
important one, viz., the first folio of Shakespeare in 1623.

Those comedies which Blount thought fit to reprint, considering that in
so doing he was presenting to his readers "a Lilly growing in a grove of
lawrels," are another proof of the success Lyly had, through his novel,
secured for himself at court. His plays are mythological or
pseudo-historical dramas, interspersed with some pretty songs and
dialogues, and were performed by children before the Queen on holy-days.
Among others were his "Campaspe," "played before the Queenes Majestie,
on new yeares day at night, by Her Majesties children and the children
of Paules," 1584; his "Sapho and Phao," performed also before the Queen
by the same children, on Shrove Tuesday, 1584; his "Endimion, the man in
the moone," played before the Queen "at Greenwich on Candlemass day at
night, by the chyldren of Paules"; "Gallathea," played on New Year's
Day; "Midas," performed on Twelfth Night, also before the Queen, &c.[96]

On love matters and women's affairs, he was considered an authority; the
analysis of the passions and the knowledge of the deeper moods of the
soul, which many consider to be, among novelists, a new-born science,
were regarded by his contemporaries as a thing wholly his, a discovery
made by himself; not foreseeing his successors, they proclaimed him a
master of his newly invented art. Beginners would come to him for advice
or for a preface, as they go now to the heirs of his art, especially
when love is their theme. In this way Thomas Watson published in 1582
his "Passionate Centurie of Love," and prefaced it, as with a
certificate of its worth, by a letter from Lyly: "My good friend, I have
read your new passions, and they have renewed mine old pleasures, the
which brought to me no lesse delight, then they have done to yourself
commendations.... Such is the nature of persuading pleasure, that it
melteth the marrow before it scorch the skin ... not unlike unto the
oyle of jeat which rotteth the bone and never rankleth the flesh."[97]

It was useless for wise minds to grumble; Lyly always found women to
applaud him. In vain did Nash, twelve years after the appearance of
"Euphues," scoff at the enthusiasm with which he had read the book when
he was "a little ape in Cambridge";[98] vainly was Euphuism derided on
the stage before a Cambridge audience: "There is a beaste in India
call'd a polecatt ... and the further she is from you the less you smell
her," a piece of information that contains more probability than perhaps
any given by Lyly.[99] Vainly, too, Shakespeare showed his opinion of
the style in lending it to Falstaff when the worthy knight wishes to
admonish Prince Henry in the manner of courts. Grown old in his tavern,
Falstaff has no idea that these refinements, fashionable at the time
when he was as slender as his page, may be now the jest of the young
generation: "There is a thing, Harry, which thou hast often heard of,
and it is known to many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch, as
ancient writers do report, doth defile; so doth the company thou
keepest: for, Harry, now I do not speak to thee in drink, but in tears;
not in pleasure, but in passion; not in words only, but in woes

Many persons to whom the book doubtless recalled the memory of their
spring-time, shared Falstaff's ingenuousness, and remained faithful to
Lyly; if men or letters, after some years of enthusiasm, ceased to
imitate him, his book was for a long time continuously read, and it was
reprinted again and again even in the reign of Charles I. It was
translated into Dutch in the same century,[101] and was modernized in
the following, under the title: "The false friend and the inconstant
mistress: an instructive novel ... displaying the artifices of the
female sex in their amours."[102] High praise is rendered by the editor
to Lyly, who "was a great refiner of the English tongue in those days."
The book appeared not very long before Richardson's "Pamela," a fact
worthy of notice, the more so as in this abbreviation of Euphues, the
letters contained in the original have been reproduced and look the more
conspicuous in the little pamphlet. Quite Richardsonian, too, is the
table of contents which is rather a table of good precepts and useful
information, a very different table from the one appended by Harington
to his "Ariosto." Here we find enumerated the many wise recommendations
by which Lyly so long anticipated Richardson and Rousseau:

      "The mother ought to be her own nurse            p. 83.

      "The wild beasts more tender of their young
      than those who nurse not their own children      p. 83.

      "Children not to be frightened with stories
      of spirits and bugbears (&c.)                    p. 86."

So much for the continuation of Lyly's fame. As for the period of
imitation proper, the era of euphuism's full glory, it lasted, as we
have said, hardly more than twelve or at most fifteen years. But it saw
the birth of works that are not without importance in the history of the
origin of the novel in this country.

[Illustration: LIBRA.]

[Illustration: KNIGHTLY PASTIMES. HAWKING, 1575.

_Illustrative of Gerismond's life in Lodge's "Rosalynd."_]


[67] "'Euphues' the anatomy of wyt ... wherin are contained the delights
that wyt followeth in his youth by the pleasauntnesse of Love, and the
happynesse he reapeth in age by the perfectnesse of wisedome"; London
[1579], 4to; reprinted by Arber, London, 1869. Lyly was born in 1553 or
1554; he died in 1606.

[68] Dedication of the second part: "To the Ladies and Gentlewoemen of
England." There is afterwards a sort of second preface addressed to the
"Gentlemen readers," but Lyly puts into it much less animation, and
appears to have written it only for conscience' sake in order not to
forget any one.

[69] In his excellent work, "Shakspere and Euphuism," _Transactions of
the New Shakspere Society_, 1884, Dr. Landmann was the first to break up
Lyly's style into its different parts, and point out the true sources
where he found not only the elements of his language, but even many of
his ideas. The same essay contains very useful information on Gongorism
and other kinds of affected styles of the sixteenth century. See also
Dr. Landmann's "Der Euphuismus," Giessen, 1881; his edition of part of
"Euphues," Heilbronn, 1887; and an article by Mr. S. L. Lee, _Athenæum_,
July 14, 1883.

[70] The "Libro aureo" appeared in 1529; it was translated into French
in 1531, and went through a great many editions, entitled sometimes "Le
Livre doré de Marc-Aurèle"; sometimes "L'Horloge des princes." North's
translation, which followed the French editions, is entitled, "The Diall
of Princes, by Guevara, englyshed out of the Frenche," London, 1557,
fol.; it had several editions. It is to the Marcus Aurelius of Guevara
that La Fontaine alludes in his "Paysan du Danube"; the story of the
peasant was one of the most popular of the "Golden Boke." Guevara's
style, with all the supplementary embellishments that Lyly has added,
was already to be seen in the collection of short stories by Pettie,
1576 (_supra_, p. 81) of which one of the early editions begins like
"Euphues," with an epistle to the "gentlewomen readers."

[71] "Le Bestiaire d'Amour," ed. Hippeau, Paris, 1840, 8vo. Richard de
Fournival died about 1260. The MS. followed in this edition is dated

[72] "Sa nature si est que quand il trouve un homme, si le dévore, et
quand il l'a dévoré, si le pleure tous les jours de sa vie."

[73] Fragments of which remain in the "Codex Exoniensis," ed. Thorpe,
London, 1842, 8vo. The Panther, p. 355; the Whale, p. 360, &c.

[74] "An old English Miscellany, containing a bestiary," ed. R. Morris,
London, Early English Text Society, 1872.

[75] Recently published by Miss Lucy Toulmin Smith and M. Paul Meyer,
Paris, Société des anciens textes Français, 1889, 8vo.

[76] "The historie of Foure-footed beastes, describing the true and
lively figure of every beast," London, 1607, fol. "The historie of
Serpents or the second book of living creatures," London, 1608, fol.

[77] "Alcida. Greenes metamorphosis," licensed 1588; earliest known
edition, 1617.

[78] "Foure-footed beastes," _ut supra_, pp. 1, 199, 328, 453.

[79] "Historie of serpents," _ut supra_, pp. 111, 140, 236, &c.

[80] It should not, however, be thence concluded that Lyly is original
in all his moral dissertations; as Dr. Landmann has pointed out (see
_supra_, p. 106) he often borrows large passages from Plutarch and
Guevara; but what is remarkable is the intense and persistent
conviction, and also the success, at least success in so far that it was
read, with which this young man of twenty-five, who was of the world and
not of the church, preaches good morals to all classes of society.

[81] Preface to Part II.

[82] "Correspondence of Samuel Richardson," ed. Barbauld, London, 1804,
6 vols. 12mo.

[83] The meaning of his name is thus given by Ascham in his
"Scholemaster" (1570): "[Greek: Euphuês] is he that is apte by goodnes
of witte and appliable by readines of will, to learning, having all
other qualities of the minde and partes of the bodie that must an other
day serve learning, not troubled, mangled or halfed, but sounde, whole,
full, and hable to do their office." So was Grandison.

[84] Arber's reprint, pp. 106 _et seq._

[85] "Pantagruel," bk. iii. ch. xxxi.

[86] Compare the meditations of the same sort of the Pedant in the
"Pédant joué," of Cyrano de Bergerac.

[87] For instance, the letter on the nursing of children by their
mothers (vol. iii. of the original edition, letter 56), and the long
letter where Pamela takes to pieces Locke's "Treatise on Education," and
remodels it according to her own ideas (vol. iv. letters 48 _et seq._).

[88] Arber's reprint, _ut supra_, "Euphues and his Ephoebus," pp. 123
_et seq._

[89] "Euphues and Atheos," Arber's reprint, _ut supra_, pp. 160, _et

[90] "Certeine Letters writ by Euphues to his friends," _ibid._, pp. 178
_et seq._

[91] "Euphues and his England. Containing his voyage and adventures,
myxed with sundry pretie discourses of honest love, the description of
the countrey, the court and the manner of that Isle.... by John Lyly,
Maister of Arte, London 1580," reprinted by Arber, _ut supra_.

[92] "Euphues and his England," _ut supra_, p. 442.

[93] Preface to the "Dictes and Sayinges of the Philosophres," 1477.

[94] Antwerp, Nov. 14, 1579, "Correspondence of Sir Ph. Sidney and
Hubert Languet," ed. Pears, London, 1845, 8vo, p. 167.

[95] Preface "to the Reader" in "Six Court Comedies ... by the onely
rare poet of that time, the wittie, comicall, facetiously-quicke and
unparalelld John Lilly," London, 1632, 12mo.

[96] "Dramatic Works," ed. Fairholt, London, 1858, two vols. 8vo.

[97] Watson was then about twenty-five years old. "Poems," reprinted by
Arber, London, 1870, 4to.

[98] "'Euphues' I read when I was a little ape in Cambridge, and I then
thought it was _ipse ille_; it may be excellent still for ought I know,
but I lookt not on it this ten yeare" ("Strange Newes," 1592).

[99] "The Pilgrimage to Parnassus," ed. Macray, Oxford, 1886, 8vo. "The
Returne," part i. act v. sc. 2. This part was performed in 1600.

[100] "1 Henry IV.," act ii. sc. 4 (A.D. 1597-8, Furnivall).

[101] "De vermakelijke historie Zee-een Landreize van Euphues,"
Rotterdam, 1671, 12mo. Another edition of the same, 1682.

[102] London, 1718, 16mo. "Price 2s." (on title-page). Defoe's "Robinson
Crusoe" appeared the next year; Richardson's "Pamela" was published in

[Illustration: ANOTHER DRAGON, 1608.]




All Lyly's imitators, Greene, Lodge, Melbancke, Riche, Munday, Warner,
Dickenson, and others, did not faithfully copy his style in all its
peculiarities, at any rate in all their works; some of them borrowed
only his ideas, others his plot; others his similes; most of them,
however, when they first began to write, went the fullest length in
imitation, and tricked themselves out in euphuistic tinsel. They were
careful by choosing appropriate titles for their novels to publicly
connect themselves with the euphuistic cycle. "Euphues" was a magic
pass-word, and they well knew that the name once pronounced, the doors
of the "boudoirs," or closets as they were then called, and the hands
of the fair ladies, were sure to open; the book was certain to be

Hence the number of writers who declared themselves Euphues' legatees
and executors. Year after year, for a while, readers saw issuing from
the press such books as "Zelauto, the fountaine of Fame ... containing a
delicate disputation ... given for a friendly entertainment to Euphues
at his late arrival into England," by Munday, 1580; or as "Euphues his
censure to Philautus, wherein is presented a philosophicall combat
betweene Hector and Achylles," by Robert Greene, 1587: "Gentlemen," says
the author to the readers, "by chance, some of Euphues loose papers came
to my hand, wherein hee writ to his friend Philautus from Silexedra,
certaine principles necessary to bee observed by every souldier." Or
there was "Menaphon, Camillas alarum to slumbering Euphues," by the
same, 1589; "Rosalynde, Euphues golden legacie, found after his death in
his cell at Silexedra," by Thomas Lodge, 1590; "Arisbas, Euphues amidst
his slumbers," by John Dickenson, 1594, &c.[103] All these authors
continued their model's work in contributing to the development of
literature written chiefly for ladies; in that way especially was Lyly's
initiative fruitful.

Barnabe Riche, for example, publishes "Don Simonides,"[104] a story of
a foreigner who travels in Italy and then comes to London, like Euphues,
mixes in good society, and makes the acquaintance of Philautus; he
writes this romance "for the amusement of our noble gentilmen as well as
of our honourable ladies." He wrote also a series of short stories,[105]
this time "for the onely delight of the courteous gentlewoemen bothe of
England and Irelande;" and, for fear they should forget his design of
solely pleasing them, he addresses them directly in the course of his
narrative: "Now, gentilwomen, doe you thinke there could have been a
greater torment devised, wherewith to afflicte the harte of Silla?"
Shakespeare, an assiduous reader of collections of this kind, and who,
unfortunately for their authors, has not transmitted his taste to
posterity, was acquainted with Riche's tales, and drew from this same
story of Silla the principal incidents of his "Twelfth Night." Riche
himself had taken it from the "Histoires tragiques" of Belleforest, and
Belleforest had translated it from Bandello.

Munday's Zelauto[106] is also a traveller. A son of the Duke of Venice,
he goes on his travels, after the example of Euphues, visiting Naples
and Spain, where he falls "in the company of certain English merchants,"
very learned merchants, "who, in the Latin tongue, told him the happy
estate of England and how a worthy princes governed their common
wealth." He comes accordingly to this country, for which he feels an
admiration equal to Euphues' own. From thence he "takes shipping into
Persia," and visits Turkey, prepared upon any emergency to fight
valiantly or to speak eloquently, his hand and tongue being equally
ready with thrusts and parries, or comparisons and similes.

Again we find Lyly's manner in Melbancke's "Philotimus,"[107] 1583, a
book full, as "Euphues," of letters, dialogues, and philosophical
discussions, and in Warner's "Pan his Syrinx," 1584. Warner, whose fame
mainly rests on his long poem, "Albion's England," published in 1586,
began his literary career as a novelist of the euphuistic school. In
common with many youths of all times, of whom Lyly was one, he was
scarcely out of "non-age," to use his own word, than he wanted to impart
to his fellow-men his experience of a life, for him just begun, and to
teach them how to behave in a world of which he knew only the outside.
He lands his hero, Sorares, "in a sterile and harborlesse island," not a
rare occurrence even in novels anterior to Defoe; Sorares' sons start to
find him. Both they and their father meet with sundry adventures, in the
course of which they tell or hear stories and take part in various
"controversies and complayntes." Many topics are philosophically
discussed; the chief being, as in Lyly, woman. One of the speakers puts
forward the assertion that there may be, after all, some good in women;
but another demonstrates that there is none at all; and that their name
of "wo-man" contains their truest definition. Whereupon, we are treated
once more to a description of dresses and fashions: "Her face painted,
her beautie borrowed, her haire an others, and that frisled, her
gestures enforced, her lookes premeditated, her backe bolstred, her
breast bumbasted, her shoulders bared and her middle straite laced, and
then is she in fashion!" Of course this does not apply to English, but
to Scythian and Assyrian ladies. This description is followed, as in
Lyly, by a proper antidote, and with a number of rules to be observed by
all the honest people who desire to escape the wiles of the feminine

Warner's book had some success; it reached a second edition in
1597,[108] in which the author states that two writers, at least, copied
him, sometimes "verbatim" without any acknowledgment; one of them seems
to have been no less a person than Robert Greene, "a scholler," says
Warner, "better than my selfe on whose grave the grasse now groweth
green, whom otherwise, though otherwise to me guiltie, I name not."
Several incidents in Greene's works resemble Warner's stories,
especially the one called "Opheltes," the plot of which forcibly reminds
us of "Francesco's Fortunes," and at the same time of a different work
of greater fame, the "Two Gentlemen of Verona."[109]

When Warner spoke, apparently, of Greene as a "scholler" better than
himself he was quite right, and as a matter of fact, Lyly's two most
famous disciples were Thomas Lodge, a friend of Riche, who helped him to
revise his works and corrected his faulty verses, and Robert Greene, a
novelist and dramatist like Lodge and Lyly, and a friend of the former.
Endowed with a less calm and sociable temperament than their model,
Greene and Lodge led a chequered existence very characteristic of their


With Robert Greene we are in the midst of Bohemia, not exactly the
Bohemia which Mürger described and which dies in the hospital: the
hospital corresponds in some manner to ideas of order and rule; under
Elizabeth men remained irregular to the end; literary men who were not
physicians like Lodge, or shareholders in a theatre like Shakespeare, or
subsidized by the Court like Ben Jonson, died of hunger in the gutter,
or of indigestion at a neighbour's house, or of a sword-thrust in the
tavern. Therein is one of the peculiarities of the period. It
distinguishes the Bohemia of Elizabeth from other famous Bohemias, that
of Grub Street, known to Dr. Johnson, and that of the _quartier latin_
described by Mürger.

Greene was one of the most original specimens of the unfortunate men who
in the time of Elizabeth attempted to live by their pen. He was as
remarkable for his extravagances of conduct as for his talents,
sometimes gaining money and fame by the success of his writings,
sometimes sinking into abject poverty and consorting with the outcasts
of society. Of all the writers of the Elizabethan period he is perhaps
the one whose life and character we can best picture to ourselves; for
in his last years, repentant and sorrow-stricken, he wrote with the
utmost sincerity autobiographical tales and pamphlets, which are
invaluable as a picture of the times; they are, in fact, nothing else
than the "Scènes de la vie de Bohème" of Elizabethan England.

In these books Greene gives us the key to his own character, to his many
adventures, and to his miserable end. There were two separate selves in
him, and they proved incompatible. One was full of reasonable, sensible,
and somewhat _bourgeois_ tendencies, highly appreciating honour
respectability, decorum, civic and patriotic virtues; of women liking
only those that were pure, of men those that were honest, religious and
good citizens. Greene's other self was not, properly speaking, the
counterpart of the first, and had no taste for vices as vices, nor for
disorder as disorder, but was wholly and solely bent upon _enjoyment_,
immediate enjoyment whatever be the sort, the cost, or the consequence.
Hence the glaring discrepancies in Greene's life, his faults, not to say
his crimes, his sudden short-lived repentances, his supplications to his
friends not to imitate his example, his incapacity to follow steadily
one course or the other. His better self kept his writings free from
vice, but was powerless to control his conduct. This struggle between
the forces of good and evil is exceedingly well depicted in Greene's
Repentances, under his own or fictitious names; of all the heroes of his
tales he is himself the most interesting and the most deeply studied. As
a novel writer and an observer of human nature, his own portrait is
perhaps his masterpiece.

Greene was born at Norwich about 1560, and belonged to a family in easy
circumstances. He was sent to Cambridge, where he was admitted to St.
John's College on November, 1575. There, according to a propensity that
was inborn, he at once associated with noisy, unprincipled young
fellows. This propensity accompanied him through life, and led him to
constantly surround himself with a rabble of merry companions, to be
greatly liked by them, but to make few sincere friends, and to quarrel
with these very often, to drop their acquaintance, to befriend them
again, and so on to the last.

The universities at that time were not places of edification; and Lyly,
who during the same period had a personal experience of them, was
careful when, shortly afterwards, he wrote his advice for the education
of "Ephoebus" to warn fathers of the dangers of university life: "To
speak plainly of the disorder of Athens [that is, Oxford] who does not
se it and sorrow at it? Such playing at dice, such quaffing of drink,
such daliaunce with women, such dauncing, that in my opinion there is no
quaffer in Flaunders so given to tipplyng, no courtier in Italy so given
to ryot, no creature in the world so misled as a student in Athens."
Many return from the universities "little better learned, but a great
deal worse lived, then when they went, and not only unthrifts of their
money, but also banckerouts of good manners."[110]

Greene did not fail to choose his associates among people of this sort,
and with some of them he crossed over to the continent in his turn to
visit "Circe." "Being at the University of Cambridge, I light amongst
wags as lewd as my selfe, with whome I consumed the flower of my youth,
who drew me to travell into Italy and Spaine, in which places I saw and
practizde such villainie as is abhominable to declare...." He comes
back, and after the pleasures and excitement of travel, ordinary
every-day life seems to him tasteless; the mere idea of a regular career
of any sort is abhorrent to him. "At my return into England, I ruffeled
out in my silks, in the habit of _Malcontent_, and seemed so discontent
that no place would please me to abide in, nor no vocation cause mee to
stay myselfe in."[111]

In this uncertainty, and with his head full of Italian remembrances and
romantic adventures, he thought, being not yet twenty, to try his hand
at writing. His first attempt was a novel, a love story in the Italian
fashion, in which very much loving was to do for very little probability
and less observation of character and nature. It was called "Mamillia";
it was finished in 1580, and published three years later.

Greene at that time was again in Cambridge, and strange to say, among
the many whims that crossed his mind, a fancy took him to apply himself
to study. Gifted as he was, this caused him no trouble; he acquired much
varied knowledge, of which his writings show sufficient proof, and was
received M.A. in 1583.[112] He then left the university and went to
London, where the most curious part of his life, that was to last only
nine years longer, began.

The reception awarded to "Mamillia" seems to have encouraged him to
continue writing. It had, in fact, crude as it seems to us now, many
qualities that would ensure it a welcome: its style was euphuistic; its
tone was Italian; its plot was intricate, and, lastly, there was very
much love in it. He continued therefore in this vein, writing with
extreme facility and rapidity improbable love stories, with wars, kings,
and princesses, with euphuism and mythology, with Danish, Greek,
Egyptian and Bohemian adventures. There was a "Myrrour of Modesty" which
has for its heroine the chaste Susannah, a "Gwydonius, the card of
fancie," again a tale in the Italian style, an "Arbasto" which tells of
the wars and loves of a Danish king, a "Morando," containing a series of
discussions and speeches on love, all of them entered or published in
1584-6. Then came his "Planetomachia," 1585, where the several planets
describe and exemplify their influence on human fate; "Penelopes web,"
1587, containing a succession of short stories; "Perimedes," 1588,
imitated from Boccaccio; "Pandosto," a tale of Bohemian and Sicilian
kings and shepherds, which had an immense success, much greater
according to appearances than the exquisite drama of a "Winter's Tale,"
that Shakespeare drew from it. "Alcida," a story of the metamorphosis of
three young love-stricken princesses of an island "under the pole
antartike," was apparently published in the same year; "Menaphon," a
charming pastoral tale, appeared in 1589, and several others followed.
His popularity was soon considerable; his books were in all the shops;
several went through an extraordinary number of editions; his name was
better known than any: "I became," says he, "an author of playes, and a
penner of love pamphlets, so that I soone grew famous in that qualitie,"
and who then "for that trade" was there "so ordinarie about London as
_Robin Greene_?"[113]

As for his beginning to write plays, he has left a lively account of the
casual meeting which led to his becoming attached to a company of
players and to be for a time their playwright in ordinary. It was at a
moment when his purse was empty; for as he quaintly puts it in one of
his stories: "so long went the pot to the water, that at last it came
broken home; and so long put he his hand into his purse that at last the
emptie bottome returned him a writt of _non est inventus_; for well
might the divell dance there for ever a crosse to keepe him backe."[114]
In this difficulty he met by chance a brilliantly dressed fellow who
seemed to be a cavalier, and happened to be a player. It is a well-known
fact that if scenery was scanty in Elizabethan play-houses, the players'
dresses were very costly, and if need there was, this would be an
additional proof that no monetary consideration would have induced the
young man who played, for example, the part of Shakespeare's Cleopatra,
to appear in less than queenly ruffs and farthingales, such as Rogers
has represented in his portrait of Elizabeth.

"What is your profession? said Roberto [that is, Robert Greene].[115]

"Truely, sir, said he, I am a player.

"A player, quoth Roberto; I tooke you rather for a gentleman of great
living, for if by outward habit men should be censured, I tell you, you
woud be taken for a substantiall man.

"So am I, where I dwell, quoth the player, reputed able at my proper
cost, to build a windmill. What, though the worlde once went hard with
me, when I was faine to carrie my playing fardle a footebacke; _tempora
mutantur_ ... it is otherwise now; for my share in playing apparell will
not be solde for two hundred pounds."

The player goes on relating his own successes, the parts he performs,
and how he had been himself for a while the playwright of his troop, but
that had been some time ago; tastes are changing and his wit is now out
of fashion: "Nay, more, I can serve to make a prettie speech, for I was
a countrie author, passing at a morall, for it was I that pende the
moral of mans wit, the Dialogue of Dives, and for seaven yeeres space
was absolute interpreter of the puppets. But now my Almanacke is out of

    The people make no estimation
    Of morals teaching education.

"Was not this prettie for a plaine rime extempore? If ye will, ye shall
have more.

"Nay, it is enough, said Roberto, but how meane you to use mee?

"Why, sir, in making playes, said the other, for which you shall be well
paid, if you will take the paines."

Greene did so, and with no mean success. He grew more and more famous,
and, without becoming more wealthy, had the pleasure of being able to
squander at one time much larger sums of money than before: "Roberto was
now famozed for an arch-playmaking-poet; his purse, like the sea,
somtime sweld, anon like the same sea fell to a low ebb; yet seldom he
wanted, his labors were so well esteemed."

He had not yet broken all connection with his birth-place and his
family, and some of his visits were for him memorable ones. During one
of them he was seized with a sudden fit of repentance for the loose life
he had been leading in London; the better man in him made himself heard,
and he fell into such an abyss of misery and despair as to remind us of
the great conversions of the Puritan epoch. In fact, his companions,
when he again saw them, wondering at his altered countenance, called him
a Puritan. "Once I felt a feare and horrour in my conscience, and then
the terrour of Gods judgementes did manifestly teach me that my life was
bad, that by sinne I deserved damnation, and that such was the greatnes
of my sinne that I deserved no redemption. And this inward motion I
received in St. Andrews church in the cittie of Norwich, at a lecture or
sermon then preached by a godly learned man.... At this sermon the
terrour of Gods judgementes did manifestly teach me, that my exercises
were damnable, and that I should bee wipte out of the booke of life, if
I did not speedily repent my loosenes of life, and reforme my

In the same way, in the next century, George Fox the Quaker, John
Bunyan, and many others, were to find themselves awe-stricken at the
thought of God's judgment; in the same way also, and in almost the same
words, the hero of a novel that was to be world-famous in the following
age was to express the sudden horror he felt when remorse began to prey
upon him. "No one," wrote Robinson Crusoe, in his journal, "that shall
ever read this account will expect that I shall be able to describe the
horrors of my soul at this terrible vision." But Greene differed from
them all by the short duration of his anxieties: "This good notion
lasted not long in mee, for no sooner had I met with my copesmates, but
seeing me in such a solemn humour, they demaunded the cause of my sadnes
... they fell upon me in a jeasting manner, calling me Puritane and
Presizian, and wished I might have a pulpit." And soon the good effect
of the godly vision in St. Andrew's church wore away.

He allowed another chance of escaping his final doom to pass in the same
manner. Famous as he was all over the country, witty and brilliant, with
such patrons as Leicester, Essex and Arundel, to whom several of his
works are dedicated, he became acquainted with "a gentlemans daughter of
good account." He loved her; his suit was favoured, and he married her,
about 1586. He lived with her for a year and they had a boy; but she
objected to his disorderly ways of life, and he, unable to alter them,
"cast her off, having spent the marriage money." She returned to
Lincolnshire, he to London, and they never met again. That Greene,
however, had felt within himself what it is to be a father is shown by
the exquisite "lullaby" he composed shortly after for Sephestia in his
"Menaphon." It is the well-known song:

    "Weepe not my wanton! smile upon my knee!
     When thou art olde, ther's griefe inough for thee!
           Mothers wagge, pretie boy,
           Fathers sorrow, fathers joy.
           When thy father first did see
           Such a boy by him and mee,
           He was glad, I was woe.
           Fortune changde made him so,
           When he left his pretie boy,
           Last his sorowe, first his joy.

           *       *       *       *       *

     Weepe not my wanton! smile upon my knee!
     When thou art olde, ther's griefe inough for thee!
           The wanton smilde, father wept;
           Mother cride, babie lept:
           More he crowde, more we cride;
           Nature could not sorowe hide.
           He must goe, he must kisse
           Childe and mother, babie blisse:
           For he left his pretie boy,
           Fathers sorowe, fathers joy."


(_From Dickenson's "Greene in conceipt,"_ 1598.)]

In London he continued a favourite: "For these my vaine discourses [that
is, his love novels] I was beloved of the more vainer sort of people,
who being my continuall companions came still to my lodging, and there
would continue quaffing, corowsing, and surfeting with me all the day
long." One of his best friends has corroborated his statement, giving at
the same time a graphic description of his physical appearance: "Hee
inherited more vertues than vices," wrote Nash, "a jolly long red peake
[beard] like the spire of a steeple he cherisht continually, without
cutting, whereat a man might hang a jewell, it was so sharp and pendant
... He had his faultes ... Debt and deadly sinne, who is not subject
to?... A good fellow he was ... In a night and a day would he have yarkt
up a pamphlet as well as in seaven yeare, and glad was that printer that
might bee so blest to pay him deare for the very dregs of his wit. He
made no account of winning credite by his workes ... His only care was
to have a spel in his purse to conjure up a good cuppe of wine with at
all times."[116]

The few samples that have come to us of the talk in these meetings of
Elizabethan literary men show, as might well have been supposed, that it
was not lacking in freedom. Greene himself has left an account of one of
these conversations, when he expressed, Bohemia-wise, his opinions of a
future life and, without Aucassin's extenuating plea that he was
love-mad, he exclaimed: "Hell, quoth I, what talke you of hell to me? I
know if I once come there, I shall have the company of better men than
my selfe; I shall also meete with some madde knaves in that place, and
so long as I shall not sit there alone, my care is the lesse. But you
are mad folks, quoth I, for if I feared the judges of the Bench no more
than I dread the judgments of God, I would before I slept dive into one
carles bagges or other, make merrie with the shelles I found in them so
long as they would last."[117]

His associations at that time were getting lower and lower. He was
leaving Bohemia for the mysterious haunts of robbers, sharpers, loose
women, and "conny-catchers." He had once for a mistress the sister of a
famous thief nicknamed Cutting Ball that ended his days on the gallows,
and he had a child by her, called Fortunatus, who died in 1593. He
thought it a sort of atonement to communicate to the public the
experience he derived from his life among these people, and accordingly
printed a series of books on "conny-catching," in which he unveiled all
their tricks and malpractices. The main result was that they wanted to
kill him.[118]

It was, in fact, too late to reform; all that was left for him was to
repent, an empty repentance that no deed could follow. Though scarcely
thirty his constitution was worn out. The alternations of excessive
cheer and of scanty food had ruined his health; it was soon obvious that
he could not live much longer. One day a "surfet which hee had taken
with drinking"[119] brought him home to his room, in a poor shoemaker's
house, who allowed him to stay there by charity on credit. He was not to
come out alive. His illness lasted some weeks, and as his brain power
was unimpaired he employed his time in writing the last of his
autobiographical pamphlets. Considering the extravagance of his life, in
which he had known so many successes, and the sorrows of his protracted
illness, they read very tragically indeed. He addressed himself to the
public at large, to his more intimate friends, to his wife confessing
his wrongs towards her, and asking pardon. Yet to the last, broken as he
was in body, he remained a literary man, and while confessing all round
and pardoning every one, he could not drop his literary animosities nor
forget his life-long complaint against plagiarists.

His complaint was one of which the world of letters was to hear much
more in after time, and which in fact is constantly renewed in our own
day; it is the complaint of the novelist against the dramatist, claiming
as his own incidents transferred by the playwright from readers to
spectators. As novels proper were just beginning then in England, and as
drama was also beginning to spread, Greene's protest is one of the first
on record, and thousands were to follow it. Strange to say of all the
men of whom he complains, the one he has picked out to hold up to
disdain and to scorn, and towards whom in his dying days he seems to
have entertained the strongest animosity, was a young man of
twenty-eight, who was just then becoming known, and whose fame was to
increase somewhat in after years, namely, William Shakespeare. Greene
beseeches the three principal friends he still had, Marlowe, Nash, and
Peele, to cease writing plays; what is the good of it? others come, turn
to account what has been written before them, give never a thank-you for
it, and get the praise. Let them stop publishing and these new-comers,
among them this "upstart" Shakespeare, unable as they obviously are to
invent anything, will have their careers cut short. Be warned by my
fate, says Greene, and mind "those puppits ... that speake from our
mouths, those anticks garnisht in our colours. Is it not strange that I,
to whom they al have been beholding: is it not like that you to whome
they all have been beholding, shall (were ye in that case that I am now)
be both at once of them forsaken? Yes, trust them not, for there is an
upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his _Tigers heart
wrapt in a players hide_, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a
blanke verse as the best of you; and being an absolute _Joannes fac
totum_, is in his owne conceit the onely shake-scene in a countrie. O
that I might intreate your rare wits to be imployed in more profitable
courses: and let those apes imitate your past excellence and never more
acquaint them with your rare inventions."[120]

This savage abuse of young Shakespeare, who had probably mended at that
time more plays than we know, and more, surely, than he had personally
written, must not pass without the needful comment that his abuser was,
according to his own testimony, as ready, for a trifle, to make an
acquaintance and start a friendship as to turn a friend into a foe.
"Though," says he, "I knew how to get a friend, yet I had not the gift
or reason how to keepe a friend." He quarrelled, in fact, with most of
them, not excepting Nash and Marlowe, to whom he is now appealing
against Shakespeare; and his prefaces contain numerous attacks on the
writers of the time. It must be remembered, too, how bitter was the end
of poor Greene, how keenly he felt, he the boon companion _par
excellence_, finding himself "forsaken" in his need, and left alone in
the shoemaker's desolate room. It is curious to think that among the men
whose absence from his bedside he most resented was Shakespeare, and
that this want of a visit whetted his already ill-disposed mind into
expressing the only abuse known to have been directed by his
contemporaries against the author of "Hamlet."

Shakespeare, of course, did not answer;[121] his plea might have been
that if he did not pay much attention to others' authorship, much less
did he pay to his own; for he never published his own dramas, nor did he
protest when mangled versions of them were circulated by printers. He
only showed that Greene's criticisms had not much affected him by
turning later on another of the complainer's novels into a drama.
Shakespeare's friend, Ben Jonson, who was not accustomed to so much
reserve, speaks very disparagingly of Greene; he represents him as being
a perfectly forgotten author in 1599, which was untrue, and as for the
particular work in which Shakespeare was abused, he describes it as only
fit for the reading of crazy persons.

"_Trusty._ ... Every night they read themselves asleep on those books
[one of the two being the "Groats-worth"].

"_Epicoene._ Good faith it stands with good reason. I would I knew where
to procure those books.

"_Morose._ Oh!

"_Sir Amorous La Foole._ I can help you with one of them, mistress
Morose, the 'Groats-worth of wit.'

"_Epicoene._ But I shall disfurnish you, Sir Amorous, can you spare it?

"_La Foole._ O yes, for a week or so; I shall read it myself to him,"

With the exception just mentioned, Greene's thoughts were all turned to
repentance. He had the consolation of receiving from his wife a kindly
message on the eve of his death, "whereat hee greatly rejoiced,
confessed that he had mightily wronged her, and wished that hee might
see her before he departed. Whereupon, feeling his time was but short,
hee tooke pen and inke and wrote her a letter to this effect:

"Sweet wife, as ever there was any good will or friendship betweene thee
and mee, see this bearer (my host) satisfied of his debt: I owe him
tenne pound, and but for him I had perished in the streetes. Forget and
forgive my wronges done unto thee, and Almighty God have mercie on my
soule. Farewell till we meet in heaven, for on earth thou shalt never
see me more. This 2d of September, 1592. Written by thy dying

He died a day after.


Greene's non-dramatic works are the largest contribution left by any
Elizabethan writer to the novel literature of the day. They are of four
sorts: his novels proper or romantic love stories, which he called his
love pamphlets; his patriotic pamphlets; his conny-catching writings, in
which he depicts actual fact, and tells tales of real life forshadowing
in some degree Defoe's manner; lastly, his Repentances, of which some
idea has already been given.[124]

His love pamphlets, which filled the greatest part of his literary
career, connect him with the euphuistic cycle, and he is assuredly one
of Lyly's legatees. Possessing a much greater fertility of invention
than Lyly, he follows as closely as the original bent of his mind allows
him, the manner of his master. He is euphuistic in his style, wise in
his advice to his readers, and a great admirer of his own country.

His moral propensities do not lie concealed behind pretty descriptions
or adventures; they are stamped on the very first page of each of his
books and are expressly mentioned in their titles. In this too, like his
master Lyly, he may be considered a precursor of Richardson. He writes
his "Mamillia" to entreat gentlemen to beware how, "under the perfect
substaunce of pure love, [they] are oft inveigled with the shadowe of
lewde luste;" his "Myrrour of Modestie" to show "howe the Lorde
delivereth the innocent from all imminent perils and plagueth the
bloudthirstie hypocrites with deserved punishments." "Euphues his
censure to Philautus" teaches "the vertues necessary in every
gentleman;" "Pandosto" shows that "although by the meanes of sinister
fortune truth may be concealed, yet by Time in spight of fortune, it is
most manifestly revealed."[125] Quiet, wealthy, comfortable Richardson
had no better aim, and had, in fact, a very similar one, when he wrote
his "Pamela," as he is careful to state on the title-page, "in order to
cultivate the principles of virtue and religion in the minds of the
youth of both sexes;" and his "Clarissa," to show "the distresses that
may attend the misconduct both of parents and children in relation to
marriage." Be it said to the praise of both authors and readers, this
moral purpose so prominently stated did not in the least frighten the
public of ladies, whose suffrage, the two men, different as they were in
most things, were especially courting. Richardson's popularity among
them needs not to be recalled, and as for Greene, he was stated at the
time of his greater vogue to be nothing less than "the Homer of

Greene's praise of England is as constant as Lyly's; he is careful to
show that whatever appearances may be, he is proud to be a citizen of
London, not, after all, of Bohemia; if he represents himself shipwrecked
near the coast of an island where, like Robinson Crusoe, he is alone
able to swim, finding the country pleasant, he describes it as "much
like that faire England the flower of Europe."[127] Euphues' praise of
London is matched by Greene's description of its naval power in his
"Royal Exchange": "Our citizens of London (Her Majesties royal fleet
excepted) have so many shyppes harboured within the Thames as wyll not
onelie match with all the argosies, galleyes, galeons and pataches in
Venice, but to encounter by sea with the strongest cittie in the whole
world."[128] As for foreign women, Greene agrees with Lyly that they all
paint their faces, and cannot live without a lover. French women, for
example, are "beautifull," it is true, but "they have drugges of
Alexandria, minerals of Egypt, waters from Tharsus, paintings from
Spaine, and what to doe forsooth? To make them more beautifull then
vertuous and more pleasing in the eyes of men then delightful in the
sight of God.... Some take no pleasure but in amorous passions, no
delight but in madrigals of love, wetting Cupid's wings with rose water,
and tricking up his quiver with sweete perfumes."[129]

[Illustration: ANOTHER DRAGON. 1608.]

But Greene's style marked him most indelibly as a pupil of Lyly. He has
taken Euphues' ways of speech with all their peculiarities, and has
sometimes crowded his tales with such a quantity of similes, metaphors
and antitheses as to beat his master himself on his own ground.[130]
Here, again, we are in the middle of scorpions, crocodiles, dipsas, and
what not. Take, for instance, "Philomela the lady Fitzwaters
nightingale;"[131] as it is written expressly for ladies, and dedicated
to one of them, and as, in addition, the characters are of high rank,
the novel is nearly one unbroken series of similes: "The greener the
alisander leaves be, the more bitter is the sappe," says Philip, the
jealous husband, to himself; "the salamander is most warm when it lyeth
furthest from the fire;" thus his wife may well be as heart-hollow as
she seems lip-holy. He charges his friend Lutesio to tempt her, by way
of trial. "Lutesio," the lady replies to the young man's declaration,
"now I see, the strongest oake hath his sap and his worms [and] that
ravens will breed in the fayrest ash." These observations appear
unanswerable to Lutesio, and the husband would share his conviction if
he did not reflect that "the onix is inwardly most cold, when it is
outwardly most hot." The experiment must be tried again, and the friend
returns to the charge: "Madam, I have been stung with the scorpion and
cannot be helpt or healed by none but by the scorpion."

"I see now," replies the lady to this compliment, "that hemlocke
wheresoever it bee planted, will be pestilent [and] that the serpent
with the brightest scales shroudeth the most fatall venome." Is there
anything more certain? But that does not prevent the halcyon from
hatching when the sea is calm, and the phoenix from spreading her wings
when the sunbeams shine on her nest. This is what the husband remarks,
and, guided by the onyx, the alexander, &c., after a mock trial, he
divorces his wife.

What did the people think of it? They thought "all was not golde that
glistered, ... that the Agate, bee it never so white without, yet it is
full of black strokes within."

During this time, Philomela, the wife who had been driven away, retires
to Palermo, where her knowledge of natural history allows her to observe
that the more the camomile is trodden on, the faster it grows. Scarcely
separated from her, the husband loses his confidence in the onyx and
alexander, and sets out in search of her. He does not know her place of
retreat, but, happily, among all possible routes, he chooses precisely
that leading to Palermo. He finds his wife again, and his joy is so
great that he is choked by it, and dies; a just punishment for his
confidence in Lyly's botany.[132]

In the same way as patient Grisell's story had been in the same period
transferred to the stage, this new example of feminine virtue, from the
pen of the "Homer of women," was, in later years, worked into a drama.
At that time Greene had long been dead and could not complain of the new
"shake-scene" tortures inflicted upon him by Davenport.[133]

This story, characteristic as it is of Greene's style when he means to
be euphuistic, can scarcely be taken as a fair sample of the
improbability he is able to crowd into a single novel. Most of his tales
(and in this he greatly differs from Lyly) take place we do not know
when, we do not know where, among men we have never anywhere come
across. Learned as he was, versed in the Greek, Latin, French and
Italian tongues, able to translate passages from the Italian of Ariosto,
to dress in English language the charming "Débat de Folie et
d'Amour"[134] of Louise Labé, to imitate (as he thought) Cicero's style,
while describing (as he thought) the great orator's loves,[135] his turn
of mind was as little critical as can be imagined, and his wide
popularity served to spread geographical and historical absurdities,
some of which were preserved by Shakespeare himself, for the amusement
of a learned posterity. Greene's picture of Ulysses' Penelope is not
more Greek than the exquisite painting by Pinturicchio at the National
Gallery, where the wise king of Ithaca appears under the guise of a
red-hosed Italian youth with flowing hair; while his wife sits at her
"web" in a Florentine blue dress. In Greene, Penelope is represented
telling stories to while away the time, which, unless we endow her with
a prophetical gift, are impossibilities. Her first story begins thus:
"Saladyne the Souldan of Ægipt, who by his prowesse had made a generall
conquest of the south-east part of ye world tooke to wife Barmenissa,
the onely daughter and heire of the great chan." No wonder that such
tales could chain the attention and awaken the curiosity of her maids,
and keep them quiet till the time when "a messenger came hastily rushing
in, who tolde Penelope that Ulisses was arryved that night within the
port of Ithaca.... Penelope called for her sonne and that night sent him
post to the sea."[136]

Not less wonderful are the stories of "Arbasto," King of Denmark, or of
"Pandosto," King of Bohemia. They may be taken as typical specimens of
the sort of romantic novel the Elizabethan public enjoyed, and which was
sure to make an author popular. We must remember when reading these
tales that they were the fashion, the craze, at a time when "Midsummer
Night's Dream" and "Romeo and Juliet" were being played. Chaotic,
improbable, and in some parts ridiculous as they appear to us, they
would have made their author wealthy if anything could, so much so that,
as we have seen, the publishers, according to Nash, considered
themselves "blest to pay Greene deare for the very dregs of his wit." He
was, if anything, an author that sold. What were his wares?

In "Arbasto" Greene represents himself reaching in his travels the
island of Candia. He meets in a cell a solitary old man, and without any
ceremony makes bold to ask him for his story. The old man is at first
somewhat shocked at this inquisitiveness, and gets very angry; but he
grows calmer and complies. He is Arbasto, late King of Denmark, and was
once very happy: "I feared not the force of forraigne foes, for I knewe
none but were my faithfull friends," says he, in a style that reminds
one of the King Herod of miracle-plays. Living in such content, he
thought it advisable to invade France, where at that time a king was
reigning, named Pelorus, about whom chroniclers are silent. Arbasto came
straight to Orleans, and after some siege operations, "had so shaken the
walles with cannon shot, that they were forced to strengthen them with
counter mures."

A three months' truce is agreed to on both sides, and the two sovereigns
entertain each other. At the French court, Arbasto meets the two
daughters of the king, Myrania and Doralicia, two wonderful creatures,
especially the latter, who was "so adorned with more then earthlie
perfection as she seemed to be framed by nature to blemishe nature, and
that beautie had skipt beyond her skil in framing a peece of such
curious workemanship." Arbasto cannot cease gazing at her; he addresses
to himself euphuistic speeches several pages long, but they do him no
good. It so happens that while his love is set on Doralicia, the other
princess falls in love with him. But this again does him no good. He
ceases to find anything worth living for; even the possible destruction
of France seems to him tasteless. His nobles observe his changed mood,
and wonder, and his confidant, Duke Egerio, vainly tries on him the
effect of a new series of euphuistic examples and similes. Arbasto
continues loving, and Doralicia perseveres in her coldness; they meet
once, and argue one against the other with the help of salamanders and
scorpions, and empty their whole herbaria over each other's head; but
things remain _in statu_.

King Pelorus, who, for all that, does not lose his head, offers Arbasto
an interview in Orleans to sign the peace. Arbasto comes, the gates are
shut, he is thrown into prison; his army is cut to pieces, and a great
scaffold is erected in a conspicuous place, on which the prisoner is to
be publicly executed in ten days' time.

The royal Dane tries to console himself in his prison with what remains
of his herbarium and zoology. But better help comes in the shape of the
loving princess, Myrania, who is resolved to save him. By her command
her maid entices the gaoler to her room, and causes him to tread "upon a
false bord" that had apparently been there in all times, ready for this
very emergency. The gaoler falls "up to the shoulders;" then he
disappears into a hole, where he dies, and his keys are taken from him.

Arbasto is very happy, and promises Myrania to love and marry her; they
go "covertly out of the citie, passing through France with many
fearefull perils" and reach Denmark. Pelorus and Doralicia are extremely
angry; she even takes to "blaspheming ... but as words breake no bones,
so we cared the lesse for her scolding."

But Arbasto learns to his cost that no man when truly in love can cease
to love as he pleases. Before keeping his word to Myrania he wants once
more to appeal to her fair sister. But the fair sister continues in her
blaspheming mood, and sends a very sharp and contemptuous answer.

Both letters fall into the hands of Myrania, who is so struck by this
piece of treachery that she dies of her sorrow; hearing which Pelorus
rather unexpectedly dies of his sorrow for her death. Doralicia then is
queen, and at last discovers that in the innermost part of her heart
there is love for Arbasto. She writes accordingly, but the Dane this
time returns a contemptuous answer. Receiving which, the poor French
queen dies of her sorrow. And thereupon, for no apparent reason, except
to add yet more sorrow to the conclusion of this tragical tale, the
confidant of the Danish king turns traitor, usurps his crown, and
Arbasto goes to Candia, where Greene had the good fortune to hear from
his own lips this wondrous and authentic tale. "Merry and tragical!
tedious and brief!" as Duke Theseus would think.

However complete the success awarded to Arbasto's adventures, it was
nothing compared with the popularity of "Pandosto." If this was not the
best it was the most famous of Greene's tales. The plot is well known,
for Shakespeare, unmoved by the dying maledictions of his late
companion, drew from it the materials of his "Winter's Tale" (1611?). He
kept many of the improbabilities of Greene, rejected a few, and added
some of his own. But the great change he made was to give life to the
heroes, and as they had been shaped by Greene they sorely needed it.
Rarely did a more unlikely and a cruder tale come from the pen of our

The events of the story take place among kings and shepherds: "In the
countrey of Bohemia there raygned a king called Pandosto." This is the
usual beginning of novels of the time; hundreds of them commence in this
manner;[137] the very first lines transport the reader to an unknown
country, and place him before an unknown king, and if, after reading
only those few words, he is surprised to find himself entangled in
extraordinary, inexplicable adventures, he must be of a very naïve
disposition. But in Elizabethan times adventures were liked for their
own sake; probability was only a very secondary motive of enjoyment.
"Pandosto," in any case, deserves our attention, for, if it commenced
like many other novels of the time, it led, as we have said, to
"Winter's Tale," to which it is worth while to go. When the two are read
together and compared, it seems as if Shakespeare had chosen on purpose
one of the worst of Greene's tales, to show by way of an answer to the
accusations of the dead writer, that he was able to form something out
of nothing. Greene had, in truth, only modelled the clay; Shakespeare
used it, adding the soul.

Greene simply states his facts and takes little trouble about explaining
them; the reader must rest satisfied with the author's bare word. There
is no attempt at the study of passions; his heroes change their minds
all of a sudden, with the stiff, sharp, improbable action of puppets in
a show. Pandosto (Leontes) loves and hates, and becomes jealous, and
repents always in the same brusque wire-and-wood manner; the warmth of
his passions, so great and terrible in Shakespeare, is here simply
absent; when he begins to suspect his friend Egistus (Polixenes) of
feeling an unlawful love for Bellaria (Hermione), we are barely informed
that the Bohemian king "concluded at last to poyson him." When Dorastus
and Fawnia (Florizel and Perdita) seek refuge in Pandosto's kingdom,
Pandosto at once falls in love with his own daughter, Fawnia, whom he
does not know; then on the receipt of a letter from Egistus, "having his
former love turned to a disdainful hate," he wishes to have her killed.
Very differently is the couple received by Shakespeare's Leontes:

                   "Were I but twenty-one,
    Your father's image is so hit in you,
    His very air, that I should call you brother,
    As I did him; and speak of something wildly
    By us performed before. Most dearly welcome!
    And you, fair princess, goddess!--O, alas,
    I lost a couple, that 'twixt heaven and earth
    Might thus have stood, begetting wonder as
    You gracious couple do."

In Greene the exquisite figure of Perdita appears as a very rough sketch
under the name of Fawnia. She loves her Dorastus not merely because he
is lovable, but because "hoping in time to be advaunced from the
daughter of a poore farmer to be the wife of a riche king." Dorastus
comes to her disguised as a shepherd, and as she does not recognize him
"she began halfe to forget Dorastus and to favor this prety shepheard
whom she thought shee might both love and obtaine." It would be cruel to
make further comparisons, but it is necessary to say thus much in order
to show what a hold adventures, however crude, surprises, unexpected
meetings and recognitions, had upon Elizabethan minds. They were quite
sufficient to insure success; to add life and poetry was very well, but
by no means necessary. Shakespeare did so because he could not do
otherwise; and he did it thoroughly, as was his wont, endowing with his
life-giving faculty the most insignificant personage he found
embryo-like in Greene. The least of them has, in Shakespeare, his own
moods, his sensitiveness, a mind and a heart that is his and his alone;
even young Mamillius, the child who lives only the length of one scene,
is not any child, but tells his tale, his sad tale, with a grace that is
all his own.

       "A sad tale's best for winter.
    ... I will tell it softly;
    Yond crickets shall not hear it."

Living people, too, are his Paulina, his Antigonus, his Camillo, his
Autolycus, all of them additions of his own creation. Living also, his
shepherds, for whom he received only insignificant hints from Greene. In
"Pandosto" we hear of "a meeting of all the farmers daughters in
Sycilia," without anything more, and from this Shakespeare drew the idea
of his sheep-shearing feast, where he delights in contrasting with the
rough ways of his peasants the inborn elegance of Perdita: "O
Proserpina," says she, in her delicious mythological prattle:

    "For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou lett'st fall
     From Dis's wagon! daffodils,
     That come before the swallow dares ..."

And Florizel, wondering at her with his young admiring eyes, answers in
the same strain:

                       "When you speak, sweet,
    I'd have you do it ever; when you sing,
    I'd have you buy and sell so; so give alms;
    Pray so; and, for the ordering your affairs,
    To sing them too: when you do dance, I wish you
    A wave o' the sea, that you might ever do
    Nothing but that."

Very different is the old shepherd's tone; though kindly, it is quite
conformable to his estate and situation:

    "Fie, daughter! when my old wife lived, upon
     This day she was both pantler, butler, cook,
     Both dame and servant; welcomed all, served all,
     Would sing her song, and dance her turn; now here,
     At upper end o' the table, now i' the middle;
     On his shoulder and his; her face o' fire
     With labour, and the thing she took to quench it,
     She would to each one sip. You are retired,
     As if you were a feasted one, and not
     The hostess of the meeting."

Never has the language of country people been better transferred to
literature; their manners, tone, and language in Shakespeare have
remained true to nature even to the present day, so much so that it is
difficult, while writing, not to think of harvest and vintage scenes,
which every year brings round again in our French valleys, and the sort
of kindly talk very similar to the old shepherd's that many of us
remember, as well as I do, to have heard in the country, from peasant
associates in early days. This unsurpassed fidelity to nature is the
more remarkable as it dates from the Arcadian times of English
literature, days that were to last long, even down to the time of Pope
and of Thomson himself, to stop at Burns, when at last a deeper, if not
truer, note was to be struck.

But with regard to mere facts, Shakespeare was in no way more careful
than Greene, and he seems to have known, and it was in fact visible
enough, the greediness of his public to be such that, ostrich like, they
would swallow anything. He, therefore, changed very little. In Greene,
ships "sail into Bohemia," a feat that cannot be repeated to-day; the
Queen is tried by a jury "panelled" for that purpose; the nobles go "to
the isle of Delphos, there to enquire of the oracle of Apollo whether
she had committed adultery." Very much the same things happen in
Shakespeare. The survival of Hermione is his own invention; in Greene
she dies for good at the beginning of the novel, when she hears of the
death of her son. With the same aptitude to die for no other cause than
to improve a story, Pandosto dies also in Greene's tale: he remembered
his faults and "fell in a melancholie fit, and to close up the comedie
with a tragicall stratageme he slewe himselfe." Merry and tragical! But
otherwise Dorastus and Fawnia would have had to wait before becoming
king and queen, and such a waiting was against the taste of the time and
the rules of novel writing.

Such as it is, Greene's tale had an extraordinary success. While
Shakespeare's drama was not printed, either in authentic or pirated
shape, before the appearance of the 1623 folio, the prose story had a
number of editions throughout the seventeenth century and even, under
one shape or another, throughout the eighteenth. It was printed as a
chap-book during this last period, and in this costume began a new life.
It was turned into verse in 1672, under the title, "Fortune's tennis
ball: or the most excellent history of Dorastus and Fawnia, rendred into
delightful english verse";[138] it begins with this "delightful"

    "Inspire me gentle love and jealousie,
     Give me thy passion and thy extasie,
     While to a pleasant ayr I strik the strings
     Singing the fates of lovers and of kings."

But the highest and most extraordinary compliment to Greene's
performance was its translation into French, not only once, as has been
said, but twice. The first time was at a moment when the English
language and literature were practically unknown and as good as
non-extant to French readers. It appeared in 1615, and was dedicated to
"très haute and très illustre princesse, Madame Christine Soeur du
Roy."[139] The second translation, that has never yet been noticed, was
made at a time when France had a novel literature of its own well worth
reading, and when Boileau had utterly routed and discomfited the writers
of romantic and improbable tales. Nevertheless, it was thought that a
public would be found in Paris for Greene's novel, and it was printed
accordingly in French in 1722, this time adorned with engravings.[140]
They show "Doraste" dressed as a marquis of Louis XV.'s time; while
"Pandolphe" wears a flowing wig under his cocked hat, and sits on a
throne in rococo style. A copy of the book was purchased for the royal
library, and is still to be seen at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris,
with the crown and cipher of his Most Christian Majesty on the cover.

Greene's story of "Menaphon"[141] is hardly more probable, but it takes
place in the country of Arcadia, a fact that predisposes us to treat
with indulgence any lack of reality; moreover, it contains touches of
true poetry, and is perhaps, all considered, the best of Greene's
romantic novels. In common with most of this author's tales it abounds
in monologues and dialogues; heroes think aloud and let us into their
secret thoughts, a device adapted from the classic drama and very common
in all the English novels of the period. There is also, according to
Greene's custom, a great abundance of songs and verses, the best piece
being the lullaby quoted above. Propriety and the truth of characters
are not much better observed here than in Greene's other stories.
Everybody in this romance speaks with infinite grace and politeness. The
shepherd Menaphon, introducing himself to the Princess Sephestia and her
child, who have been cast ashore through a shipwreck, says to them:
"Strangers, your degree I know not, therefore pardon if I give lesse
title than your estates merit." And, falling desperately in love with
the beautiful young woman, who gives as her name Samela of the island of
Cyprus, he describes to her with ardour and not without grace the
pastoral life that he would like to lead with her: "I tell thee, faire
nymph, these plaines that thou seest stretching southward, are pastures
belonging to Menaphon: ther growes the cintfoyle, and the hyacinth, the
cowsloppe, the primrose and the violet, which my flockes shall spare for
flowers to make thee garlands, the milke of my ewes shall be meate for
thy pretie wanton, the wool of the fat weathers that seemes as fine as
the fleece that Jason fet from Colchos, shall serve to make Samela
webbes withall; the mountaine tops shall be thy mornings walke, and the
shadie valleies thy evenings arbour: as much as Menaphon owes shall be
at Samelas command if she like to live with Menaphon."

The romance goes on its way, strewn with songs whose refrains of varied
and tuneful metres afford charming melody. In the end two knights,
Melicertus and Pleusidippus, both enamoured of Sephestia, fight a duel;
they are separated. The king of the country interferes, and
comprehending nothing of these intricate love affairs, he is on the
point of cutting off all their heads, when it is discovered that
Melicertus is the long lost husband of Sephestia; the other duellist is
the child of the shipwrecked woman, who, in the course of the tale, has
been stolen from her on the shore and has grown up in hiding. They
embrace one another; and, as for Menaphon, whose sweetheart finds
herself thus provided with a sufficiently fond husband and son, he
returns to his old love, Pesana, who had had patience to wait for him,
doubtless without growing old: for, in these romances, people do not
grow old. Pleusidippus has become a man, without the least change in his
mother's face; she has remained as beautiful as in the first page of
the book, and is, according to appearances, still "sweet-and-twenty."

In his tales of this sort Greene was mostly describing delights with
which he was not personally acquainted, lands of which he had no
practical knowledge, princely adventures for which no historian could
vouch. He was perfectly free and unimpeded. The taste of the public was
similar to his; no Boileau was there to stop him, and he wrote
accordingly, following his fancy, not caring in the least for nature and
possibility, letting his pen go as fast as it would, and turning out "in
a night and a day" a tale like his "Menaphon." But if he did not choose
to paint from life and to describe realities in his "love pamphlets," he
did so on purpose, not because he was unable to do it. In several of his
other writings his subject was such that the work would have been
nothing if not true; and there we find a clear view of human passions,
foibles and peculiarities, which show that if the taste of the romance
readers of the time had been such as to encourage him in this line, he
would have proved no mean realistic novelist. His Repentances abound in
portraits and scenes, showing the keen eye he had for realities. His
conny-catching literature is full of exact descriptions of the sordid
life of the sharpers and low courtesans of Elizabethan London. In more
than one of these pamphlets he foreshadows, though I need not say with a
much lesser genius, the "Moll Flanders" and the "Colonel Jack" of a
later period. The resemblance is especially great in the "Life and death
of Ned Browne,"[142] in which the hero, according to the custom in
picaresque novels, of which more hereafter, himself tells his own story
in the first person. Greene is particularly bitter in his denunciations
of the professional courtesans of London, about whom he knew probably
more than any of his contemporaries. But with all the hatred he felt
towards them so long as he had pen in hand, he cannot help repeating
that, however objectionable they are in many ways, they have for
themselves this advantage, that they are extremely beautiful, so that if
their morals are exactly the same as in other countries they excel at
least in something which in itself is not contemptible. They are "a
kinde of women bearing the faces of Angels, but the hearts of devils,
able to intrap the elect if it were possible."[143] Greene had no
pretension to be one of the elect, and was only too often "intraped";
but for all his miseries his words show a scarcely less intense
admiration for his diabolical angels than Des Grieux's famous rapturous
phrase when he meets Manon on her way to the ship that is to convey her
to America: "Son linge était sale et dérangé; ses mains délicates
exposées à l'injure de l'air; enfin tout ce composé charmant, _cette
figure capable de ramener l'univers à l'idolatrie_, paraissait dans un
désordre et un abattement inexprimables." "Again," writes Greene: "let
me say this much, that our curtizans ... are far superiour in
artificiall allurement to them of all the world, for, although they
have not the painting of Italie, nor the charms of France, nor the
jewelles of Spaine, yet they have in their eyes adamants that wil drawe
youth as the jet the strawe.... Their lookes ... containe modesty,
mirth, chastity, wantonness and what not."[144]

Besides the personal reminiscences with which he made up his repentance
tales and stories, Greene as an observer of human nature is seen at his
best in his curious, and at the time famous, dialogue "between velvet
breeches and cloth breeches."[145] It is in fact a disputation between
old England and new England; the England that built the strong houses
praised by Harrison, and the England that adorned itself with the
Burghley House paper work; traditional England and italianate England.
Velvet breeches is "richly daubde with gold, and poudred with pearle,"
and is "sprung from the auncient Romans, borne in Italy, the mistresse
of the worlde for chivalry." Cloth breeches is of English manufacture
and descent, and deplores the vices that have crept into "this glorious
Iland" in the wake of Italian fashions. Both plead before Greene, each
giving very graphic accounts of the behaviour of the other. Here, for
example, is a scene, assuredly from the life, at a barber's shop:

"Velvet breeches he sittes downe in the chaire wrapt in fine cloathes
... then comes [the barber] out with his fustian eloquence, and making a
low conge, saith:


"Sir, will you have your wor[ship's] haire cut after the Italian maner,
shorte and round, and then frounst with the curling yrons, to make it
looke like a halfe moone in a miste? or like a Spanyard, long at the
eares and curled like the two endes of an old cast periwig? or will you
be Frenchified, with a love locke downe to your shoulders, wherein you
may weare your mistresse favour? The English cut is base and gentlemen
scorne it, novelty is daintye; speake the woord sir, and my sissars are
ready to execute your worships wil.

"His head being once drest, which requires in combing and rubbing some
two howers, hee comes to the bason: then being curiously washt with no
woorse then a camphire bal, he descends as low as his berd, and asketh
whether he please to be shaven or no, whether he will have his peak cut
short and sharpe, amiable like an _inamorato_, or broad pendant like a
spade, to be terrible like a warrior and a Soldado ... if it be his
pleasure to have his appendices primed or his mustachios fostered to
turn about his eares like ye branches of a vine...."

The question pending between cloth and velvet is submitted to a jury;
men of the various professions are called and accepted, or rejected,
according to their merit; each is described, often in a very lively
manner. Here is, for example, the portrait of a poet or rather of _the_
poet of the Elizabethan period; for the specimen here represented stands
as a type for all his class; and it is worth notice, for if Shakespeare
himself was different, many of his associates at the "Mermaid," we may
be sure, well answered the description. "I espied far off a certain kind
of an overworne gentleman, attired in velvet and satin; but it was
somewhat dropped and greasie, and bootes on his legges, whose soles
wexed thin and seemed to complaine of their maister, which treading
thrift under his feet, had brought them unto that consumption. He walked
not as other men in the common beaten way, but came compassing
_circumcirca_, as if we had beene divells and he would draw a circle
about us, and at every third step he looked back as if he were afraid of
a baily or a sarjant." Cloth Breeches, who seems to be describing here
Greene himself, is not too severe in his appreciation of the character
of the poor troubled fellow: "If he have forty pound in his purse
together, he puts it not to usury, neither buies land nor merchandise
with it, but a moneths commodity of wenches and capons. Ten pound a
supper, why tis nothing if his plough goes and his ink horne be cleere
... But to speak plainely I think him an honest man if he would but live
within his compasse, and generally no mans foe but his own. Therefore I
hold him a man fit to be of my jury."

Judgment is passed in favour of cloth England against velvet England;
and in this ultra-conservative sentence the views of the Bohemian
novelist are summed up in this premature essay on the "philosophy of


The fame and success of Greene encouraged writers to follow his example.
He had shown that there was a public for novels, and that it was a sort
of literature that would pay, both in reputation and money. He had,
therefore, many rivals and imitators who were thus only second-hand
disciples of Lyly. Among these Nicholas Breton and Emmanuel Ford may be
taken as examples. Both were his contemporaries, but survived him many
years. In both traces of euphuism survive, but they are faint; at the
time they wrote euphuism was on the wane, and it is only on rare
occasions that Ford reminds us that "the most mightie monarch Alexander,
aswel beheld the crooked counterfeit of Vulcan as the sweet picture of
Venus. Philip of Macedon accepted...."[146]

What Ford especially imitated from Greene was the art of writing
romantic tales with plenty of adventures, unexpected meetings and
discoveries, much love, and improbabilities enough to enchant
Elizabethan readers and sell the book up to any number of editions. In
this he rivalled his model very successfully, and his romances were
among the most popular of the time of Shakespeare. The number of their
editions was extraordinary, and they were renewed at almost regular
intervals up to the eighteenth century; there was a far greater demand
for them than for any play of Shakespeare.[147] Besides imitating
Greene, who obviously revealed to him the success to be won by writing
romantic tales, he imitated at the same time the Italians and the
Spaniards, introducing into his romances a licentiousness quite unknown
to Greene, but well known to Boccaccio, and heroic adventures similar to
those his friend Anthony Munday was just then putting into English.
These last were to be the chief delight of novel-readers in the
seventeenth century, and did more than anything for the great popularity
of Ford's novels during that period.

Ford's earliest and most characteristic work was called "Parismus, the
renowned prince of Bohemia ... conteining his noble battailes fought
against the Persians ... his love to Laurana ... and his straunge
adventures in the desolate Iland," &c., &c.[148] As the title informs us
there are loves and wars in this romance, deeds of valour and of
sorcery, there are pageants and enchanters. The adventures take place in
purely imaginary lands, which the author is pleased to call Bohemia,
Persia, &c., but which might have been as well baptized Tartary or
Mongolia. The manners and costumes, however, when there is an attempt at
describing them, are purely Elizabethan. There are masques such as were
shown at court in Shakespeare's time, and during one such fête, as in
"Romeo and Juliet," Parismus for the first time declares his love to
Laurana: "The maskers entred in this sort: first entred two torch
bearers, apparelled in white satten, beset with spangles of gold, after
whom followed two Eunuches, apparelled all in greene, playing on two
instruments, then came Parismus attired all in carnation satten ... next
followed ... when came two knights ... next followed ..."[149] and so
on; in the same style as in Shakespeare's play, "enter Romeo, Mercutio,
Benvolio, with five or six maskers, torch-bearers and others."[150] But,
alas, this is the only place where there is any resemblance between the
two styles; though the situation developes under Ford's pen in a manner
to suggest that he must have read "Romeo" not without a purpose. Had his
purpose been to show his contemporaries the height of Shakespeare's
genius by giving, side by side with it, the measure of an ordinary mind,
he could not have tried better nor succeeded less. For contemporaries
and successors consumed innumerable editions of "Parismus," and only too
easily numbered editions of "Romeo."

Parismus and Laurana talk, in the midst of the ball, of their new-born
love, and after an exchange of highly polite phrases she thus confesses
her feelings: "My noble lord ... I heartily thanke you for taking so
much paines for my sake, being unwoorthie thereof, and also unable to
bee sufficiently thankfull unto you for the same, and for that you say
your happinesse resteth in my power, if I can any way work your content
to the uttermost of my endeavour I will do it." Parismus, of course, has
nothing to answer except that no one could require more.

It had been, however, with her also, love at first sight; but Laurana
does not say:

    "Go, ask his name: if he be married,
     My grave is like to be my wedding bed."

She is far too well bred and courtly, and she explains as follows what
she has felt: "My Lord, I assure you, that at such time as I sawe you
comming first into this court, my heart was then surprised, procured, as
I think by the destinies, that ever since I have vowed to rest yours."
This speech is made at a nightly garden meeting, similar to the one
where Romeo went "with love's light wings," and where was heard the
sweetest and gravest lovers' music that ever enchanted human ears:

           "At lovers' perjuries,
    They say Jove laughs. O gentle Romeo,
    If thou dost love, pronounce it faithfully:
    Or if thou think'st I am too quickly won,
    I will frown and be perverse....
    Well, do not swear: although I joy in thee,
    I have no joy of this contract to-night.
    It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
    Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
    Ere one can say, It lightens." ...

He of Bohemia had not come with "love's light wings," but "somewhat
before the hour, was gone forth in his night gowne, with his sworde
under his arme, and comming to the gate he was wont to goe in at into
the gardeine, found it shut, and having no other meanes, he gott over
the wall." We picture him clambering over the wall, his night-gown
flowing about him to do duty for love's wings. The lovers meet, and
"thus they spent the night in kinde salutations and curteous imbracings
to the unspeakable joy and comfort of them both."

To complete the external resemblance of the two situations, there is in
Ford's novel a young lord to play the part of "County Paris." He is
called Sicanus, and Laurana's family greatly favours his suit: "Laurana,
my cheefest care is to see thee married, according to thy state, which
hath made me send for thee, to know whether thou hast alreadie placed
thy affection or no: otherwise there is come into this country, a knight
of great estate," &c., &c. "Laurana departed with a heavie heart."

Then again, as in "Romeo," there is another meeting of the lovers, this
time in Laurana's chamber; and they spend the hours "in sweete
greetings, but farre from anie thought of unchastnesse, their imbracings
being grounded upon the most vertuous conditions that might bee: and
sitting together upon the beds side, Laurana told him...." As in Romeo,
they are parted by morn:

    "Wilt thou be gone? it is not yet near day:
     It was the nightingale, and not the lark....
     --It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
     No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
     Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east....
     --Yond light is not daylight...."

A very different morn shines in at Laurana's windows: "Nowe the dismall
houre of their parting being approached, by reason of the light that the
sunne began to give into the chamber, Parismus taking Laurana in his
armes, drawing sweete breath from her lippes, told her that now, to his
greefe, he must leave her to be courted by his enemie."

Without any very great grief on our side we shall leave them to follow
from this point a series of adventures very different from Romeo's.
Parismus becomes a chief of outlaws, and acquires great fame under the
name of the Black Knight; he wages war against Sicanus, he encounters
young Violetta, and their meetings read like a tale from Boccaccio
rather than like a play of Shakespeare; at last he marries Laurana
"with admirable pompe" in the "temple of Diana." We shall leave them in
this holy place, though many more adventures are in store for them. We
shall only state that Ford, encouraged by the great success of this
first attempt, wrote several other novels exactly in the same style,
containing the same improbable monsters and wonders, and the same
licentious adventures. In spite, however, of the condemnation he
suffered at the hands of wise people on account of the undeniable
immorality of several of his episodes, his reputation went on increasing
for years and long survived him.[151]

Another follower of Greene was Nicholas Breton,[152] eighteen years his
senior; but he did not begin novel-writing until after the death of his
model, when this kind of literature had taken a firm hold of the public.
Very little euphuism remains in Breton; we do not find in him those
clusters of similes with which Lyly and Greene were fond of adorning
their novels, and alliteration is there only to remind us that through
Greene, Breton may be considered a secondary legatee of Lyly. The
subjects and the form of his writings, much better than his style, prove
him a pupil of Greene. He imitated his dialogues, publishing in
succession his conference "betwixt a scholler and an angler," his
discussion between "wit and will"; his disputation of a scholar and a
soldier, "the one defending learning, the other martiall discipline,"
and several others on travels, on court and country, &c. He imitated
Greene's tales of low life, anticipating in his turn Defoe's novels,
with his "Miseries of Mavillia;" he remained, however, far below the
level not only of Defoe, but of Greene, whose personal knowledge of the
misfortunes he was describing enabled him to give in his writings of
this kind pictures of reality that contrasted strangely with the
fanciful incidents of his romantic novels. The only things worth
remembering in these "miseries," besides their subject, are a few
thoughtful observations such as the one (in alliterative style) which
opens the story: "Sorrow sokes long ere it slayes; care consumes before
it killes; and destinie drives the body into much miserie, before the
heart be strooken dead;" a far juster observation than Greene's fancies,
according to which heroes of novels may be got rid of as quickly by
sorrow as by poison or apoplexy.

There are also in Breton imitations of the romantic novel of Italian
origin such as Greene understood it and such as the Elizabethan public
loved it. Breton published in 1600 his "Strange fortunes of two
excellent princes," which his modern editor does not hesitate to declare
"a bright and characteristic little book." This little masterpiece
begins thus, in very characteristic fashion indeed: "In the Ilandes of
Balino, neere unto the city of Dulno, there lived a great duke named
Firente.... This lord had to wife a sweete ladie called Merilla, a
creature of much worth.... This blessed lord and ladie had issue male,
onlie one sonne named Penillo and female one onlie daughter named
Merilla." These two children were famous for their wit and beauty. "But
I will ... entreat of another Duke, who dwelt in the Ilands of
Cotasie.... This duke had to name Ordillo, a man famous for much worth
as well in wit as valour.... This duke had to wife a gratious ladie....
She had by her lord the duke two blessed children, a sonne and a
daughter; her sonne named Fantiro and her daughter Sinilla." These two
children begat wonder for their wit and their beauty.

Such is the introduction. What do you think will follow? That the two
perfect young men will marry the two unique young women? This is exactly
what happens; and the only perceptible interest in the tale is to see
from what improbable incidents such likely consequences are derived. We
can safely, it seems, class this novel in the same category as
"Arbasto," "Mamillia," and other products of Greene's pen; not, however,
without remarking that Breton's stories, as well as those of his model,
were not meant to delight nurseries, but were destined to give pleasure
to grown-up people, to people in society; they were offered them as
_jucunda oblivia vitæ_, exactly in the same fashion as the three-volume
novels of to-day. Breton himself is positive on this point, and he has
been careful to inform us that his intention was to write things "which
being read or heard in a winters evening by a good fire, or a summers
morning in the greene fields may serve both to purge melancholy from
the minde and grosse humours from the body."[153]

Again, he was connected with the Greene and Lyly group by the pleasure
he felt in composing imaginary letters. A number of such letters had
been inserted by Lyly in his "Euphues," and had proved one of the
attractions of the book; Greene and the other novelists of the period
never missed an opportunity of making their heroes write to each other,
and they always transcribed their letters in full, a process inherited
from the romance writers of the Middle Ages. Breton, following the
example already given by some of his contemporaries, went beyond that,
and published a volume of imaginary letters from everybody to anybody on
any subject, many of them rather coarse, some good, some rather slow in
their gait and heavy in their wit.[154] The public taste was so
decidedly in favour of these compositions that this was the most
successful of Breton's enterprises. It was often reprinted; a number of
similar collections were circulated in the seventeenth century, and
their popularity had not abated when Richardson was asked, by the
publishers Osborne and Rivington, to compose one for country people. He
did so, and the only difference, and a sufficiently important one, was
that in his series the letters were connected by the thread of a story.

Greene had a rival of much higher stature in his friend Thomas Lodge.
Lodge was a little older than Greene, and survived him long, so that he
happened to be a contemporary both of Greene and of his imitators. He
rivalled Greene, but did not imitate him, being himself a direct legatee
of Lyly. The sort of life he led differed greatly from that of his
friend, but it was scarcely less characteristic of the period. Lodge was
the son of a rich London grocer who had been Lord Mayor. Born in 1557,
he had known Lyly at Oxford; had studied law; then, yielding to those
desires of seeing the dangers and beauties of the world which drove the
English youths of the period to seek preferment abroad, he closed his
books for a while, and became a corsair, visiting the Canary Isles,
Brazil, and Patagonia. He brought back, as booty from his expeditions,
romances written at sea to beguile the tedium of the passage and the
anxieties of the tempest. One was called "The Margarite of America";
another "Rosalynde." The latter fell into Shakespeare's hands and
pleased him; he drew from it the plot of "As you like it."[155] Coming
before the literary public, Lodge does not altogether forget his
profession of corsair, and in order to deprive the critics of the
temptation to sneer, he is careful to brandish his rapier from time to
time, and to write prefaces that make one's hair stand on end. "Roome
for a souldier and a sailer, that gives you the fruits of his labors
that he wrote in the Ocean!" he cries to the reader at the beginning of
his "Rosalynde," and let fault-finders keep silence; otherwise he will
throw them overboard "to feed cods."

After such a warning there would be nothing it seems but to hold our
tongue; but perhaps, taking the practical side of the question, we may
consider that by this time Lodge's rapier must have grown very rusty,
and would not offer more danger than any critic is bound to incur in
the performance of his duty. Besides that admiration may in all
sincerity be blended with criticism when it is a question of Lodge's
masterpiece, "Rosalynde."

The tale itself bears a somewhat curious history. Twice at two hundred
years' distance it took the fancy of the greatest genius of the period.
In the Middle Ages it was called the "Tale of Gamelyn,"[156] and Chaucer
apparently intended to work it into his "Canterbury Tales," but he died
before he had completed his wish, and some copy of the rough old poem
having, as it seems, been found among his papers, it was in after time
inserted in the manuscripts of his works as the "Cooke's Tale." As it
stood in the fourteenth century this story recited mere deeds of valour,
of strong, sinewy fighters; love and women played no part in it; and it
is a great loss for us not to know whether old Chaucer would have made
this very necessary addition, and what sort of mediæval Rosalind he
would have depicted.

As things went, we are indebted to our gentleman adventurer for the
invention of Rosalind. Lodge took up the tale and remodelled it
entirely; he gave place in it to the fair she-page and to her friend
Alinda and to Phoebe, the hard-hearted shepherdess, in such a way that
when Shakespeare in his turn bethought himself of this story, he had
nothing to add to fit it for his own stage, nothing except genius.

[Illustration: PREPARING FOR THE HUNT, 1575.]

But if Lodge cannot be considered a man of genius, he is certainly a
writer of very remarkable gifts. His novel is a pastoral tale that
takes place somewhere in France, near Bordeaux, and reads as pleasantly
as any story in "Astrée," no mean compliment. Probability, geography and
chronology, are not Lodge's strong points; we are in fact again in the
country of nowhere, in an imaginary kingdom of France over which the
usurper Torismond reigns. The true king has been deposed and leads a
forester's life, untroubled, unknown, in the thick woods of Arden.
Rosalind, a daughter of the deposed king, has been kept as a sort of
hostage at the court of the tyrant in Bordeaux, presumably his capital.
All of a sudden she is exiled in her turn, without more explanation than
"I have heard of thy aspiring speaches and intended treasons."[157]
Alinda, her friend, the daughter of the tyrant, refuses to leave her,
and both fly the court, Rosalind being dressed as a page, a rapier at
her side, her wit full of repartees, her mind full of shifts, and equal,
in fact, as in Shakespeare, to any emergency. "Tush, quoth Rosalynd, art
thou a woman and hast not a sodaine shift to prevent a misfortune? I,
thou seest, am of a tall stature, and would very well become the person
and apparell of a page; thou shalt bee my mistris, and I will play the
man so properly, that, trust me, in what company so ever I come, I will
not bee discovered. I will buy mee a suite, and have my rapier very
handsomely at my side, and if any knave offer wrong, your page will shew
him the point of his weapon. At this Alinda smiled, and upon this they
agreed, and presentlie gathered up all their jewels which they trussed
up in a casket.... They travailed along the vineyards, and by many
by-waies, at last got to the forrest side," the forest of Arden, which
at that time happened to be near the vineyards of Gascony.

But this geographical situation is the least of the wonders offered by
the forest. In it live not only Gerismond, the lawful king, very happy
and contented, free and without care, wanting nothing; but, in the
valleys, the most lovable shepherdesses and the most loving shepherds;
they feed their flocks while piping their ditties; they inscribe their
sonnets on the bark of trees; they are very learned, though mere
shepherds; they quote Latin and write French; they know how to ask the
god of love that the heart of their mistress may not be "de glace."

    "Bien qu'elle ait de neige le sein."

They live in the shade of the most unaccountable woods, woods composed
of pine-trees, fig-trees, and lemon-trees. "Then, comming into a faire
valley, compassed with mountaines whereon grewe many pleasant shrubbs,
they might descrie where two flocks of sheepe did feede. Then looking
about they might perceive where an old shepheard sat, and with him a
yong swaine, under a covert most pleasantlie scituated. The ground where
they sat was diapred with Floras riches, as if she ment to wrap Tellus
in the glorie of her vestments: round about, in the forme of an
amphitheater were most curiouslie planted pine-trees, interseamed with
limons and citrons, which with the thicknesse of their boughes so
shadowed the place, that Phoebus could not prie into the secret of that
arbour.... Fast by ... was there a fount so christalline and cleere that
it seemed Diana and her Driades and Hemadriades had that spring as the
secret of all their bathings. In this glorious arbour sat these two
shepheards seeing their sheepe feede, playing on their pipes...." It is
like a landscape by Poussin. Alinda and her page find the place very
pleasant, and decide to settle there, especially when they have heard
what a shepherd's life is like. "For a shepheards life, oh! mistresse,
did you but live a while in their content, you would saye the court were
rather a place of sorrowe than of solace ... Envie stirres not us, wee
covet not to climbe, our desires mount not above our degrees, nor our
thoughts above our fortunes. Care cannot harbour in our cottages, nor
doo our homely couches know broken slumbers." Fine assertions, to which
some hundred and fifty years later Prince Rasselas was most solemnly to
give the lie. But his time had not yet come, and both princesses resolve
to settle there, to purchase flocks, and "live quiet, unknowen, and

Many other pleasant things are to be found in the forest; in fact, the
two ladies meet their lovers there; brave Rosader, the Gamelyn of
Chaucerian times, the Orlando of Shakespeare, and wicked but repentant
and reformed Saladin, who loves Alinda as Rosader loves Rosalind. They
meet, too, the shepherdess Phoebe, "as faire as the wanton that brought
Troy to ruine," but in a different dress; "she in a peticoate of
scarlet, covered with a greene mantle, and to shrowde her from the
sunne, a chaplet of roses;" in a different mood, too, towards shepherds,
thinking nothing of her Paris, poor Montanus whom she disdains while he
is dying for her.

Yet there were even more wonders in this forest of Arcadian shepherds,
exiled princesses, and lemon-trees. There were "certaine rascalls that
lived by prowling in the forrest, who for feare of the provost marshall
had caves in the groves and thickets";[159] there were lions, too, very
dangerous, hungry, man-eating lions. Such animals appear in Shakespeare
also, as well as "palm trees," and Shakespeare moreover takes the
liberty of doubling his lion with a serpent.

    "A wretched ragged man o'ergrown with hair
     Lay sleeping on his back: about his neck
     A green and gilded snake had wreath'd itself
     Who with her head, nimble in threats, approach'd
     The opening of his mouth; but suddenly,
     Seeing Orlando, it unlink'd itself,
     And with indented glides did slip away
     Into a bush: under which bush's shade
     A lioness, with udders all drawn dry,
     Lay couching."[160]

Let us not be too much troubled; here will be good opportunities for
lovers to show the sort of men they are, to be wounded, but not
disfigured, and finally to be loved.

So many rare encounters of men and animals, and shepherds and lovers,
give excellent occasions for Rosalind to display the special turn of her
mind, and if, in Lodge, she has not all the ready wit that Shakespeare
has given her, she is by no means slow of speech; she possesses besides
much more of that human kindness in which we sometimes find the
brilliant page of the play a little deficient. The conversations between
her and Alinda are very pleasant to read, and show how at last, not only
on the stage, but even in novels, the tongues of the speakers had been

"No doubt, quoth Aliena,[161] this poesie is the passion of some
perplexed shepheard, that being enamoured of some fair and beautifull
shepheardesse suffered some sharpe repulse, and therefore complained of
the cruelty of his mistris.

"You may see, quoth Ganimede [Rosalind's page-name], what mad cattell
you women be, whose hearts sometimes are made of adamant that will touch
with no impression, and sometimes of waxe that is fit for everie forme;
they delight to be courted and then they glorie to seeme coy, and when
they are most desired, then they freeze with disdaine....

"And I pray you, quoth Aliena, if your roabes were off, what mettall are
you made of that you are so satyricall against women?... Beware,
Ganimede, that Rosader heare you not....

"Thus, quoth Ganimede, I keepe decorum, I speake now as I am Alienas
page, not as I am Gerismonds daughter; for put me but into a peticoate,
and I will stand in defiance to the uttermost, that women are
courteous, constant, virtuous, and what not."

Thus there is much merry prattle between these two, especially when the
presence of the lover of the one sharpens the teasing disposition of the
other; when, for example, Rosader finding, not without good cause, some
resemblance between the page and his Rosalind, pities the former, for
not equalling the perfection of his mistress.

"He hath answered you, Ganimede, quoth Aliena, it is inough for pages to
waite on beautifull ladies and not to be beautifull themselves.

"Oh! mistres," answers the she-page, who cannot help feeling some spite,
"holde your peace, for you are partiall; who knowes not, but that all
women have desire to tie sovereigntie to their peticoats, and ascribe
beautie to themselves, where if boyes might put on their garments,
perhaps they would proove as comely; if not as comely, it may be more

There are also some morning scenes full of pleasant mirth and cheerful
light, in which perhaps there is more of Phoebus than of the sun, and
more of Aurora than of the dawn; but this light, such as it is, is worth
the looking at, so merrily it shines; and the talk of these early risers
well suits the half-classic landscape.

"The sunne was no sooner stept from the bed of Aurora, but Aliena was
wakened by Ganimede, who restlesse all night, had tossed in her
passions; saying it was then time to goe to the field to unfold their

"Aliena ... replied thus: What? wanton, the sun is but new up, and as
yet Iris riches lies folded in the bosom of Flora; Phoebus hath not
dried the pearled deaw, and so long Coridon hath taught me it is not fit
to lead the sheepe abroad lest the deaw being unwholesome they get the
rot. But now see I the old proverbe true ..." (and here comes some

"Come on," answers Ganimede, who does not seem in a mood to appreciate
euphuism just then, "this sermon of yours is but a subtiltie to lie
still a bed, because either you think the morning colde, or els I being
gone, you would steale a nappe; this shifte carries no palme, and
therefore up and away. And for Love, let me alone; Ile whip him away
with nettles and set Disdaine as a charme to withstand his forces; and
therefore, looke you to your selfe; be not too bolde, for Venus can make
you bend; nor too coy, for Cupid hath a piercing dart that will make you
cry _Peccavi_.

"And that is it, quoth Aliena, that hath raysed you so early this

"And with that she slipt on her peticoate, and start up; and assoone as
she had made her readie and taken her breakfast, away goe these two with
their bagge and bottles to the field, in more pleasant content of mind
than ever they were in the court of Torismond."

In the same way as in Shakespeare, fair Phoebe, deceived by Rosalind's
dress, Phoebe, who thought herself beyond the reach of love, becomes
enamoured of the page and feels at last all the pangs of an unrequited
passion. Lodge's Rosalind, more human we think than her great
Shakespearean sister, uses, to persuade Phoebe into loving Montanus, a
kindly, tender language, meant to heal rather than irritate the poor
shepherdess's wounds. "What!" will exclaim the great sister, ...

    "... What though you have no beauty ...
     Must you be therefore proud and pitiless?
     Why, what means this? Why do you look on me?
     I see no more in you than in the ordinary
     Of nature's sale-work: Od's my little life!
     I think she means to tangle my eyes too:--
     No, 'faith, proud mistress, hope not after it;
     'Tis not your inky brows, your black silk-hair,
     Your bugle eyeballs, nor your cheek of cream
     That can entame my spirits to your worship."[162]

Very spiritless, and tame, and old fashioned, will the other Rosalind
appear by the side of this impetuous, relentless deity. A few perhaps
will consider that her tame, kindly, old-fashioned, mythological piece
of advice to the shepherdess, makes her the more lovable: "What,
shepheardesse, so fayre and so cruell?... Because thou art beautifull,
be not so coye: as there is nothing more faire, so there is nothing more
fading, as momentary as the shadowes which growes from a cloudie sunne.
Such, my faire shepheardesse, as disdaine in youth, desire in age, and
then are they hated in the winter, that might have been loved in the
prime. A wrinkled maid is like a parched rose, that is cast up in
coffers to please the smell, not worn in the hand to content the eye.
There is no folly in love to had-I-wist, and therefore, be rulde by me.
Love while thou art young, least thou be disdained when thou art olde.
Beautie nor time cannot bee recalde, and if thou love, like of Montanus;
for if his desires are manie, so his deserts are great."[163] And it is
indeed quite touching to see poor Montanus in the simplest lover fashion
verify by his acts this description of himself; for while reduced to the
last degree of despair, seeing the unconquerable love Phoebe entertains
for the page, he beseeches Rosalind to save her by returning her love;
sorrow will kill him any way, but he will die contented if he thinks
that even through another's love Phoebe will live happy in her Arcadian

I need not add that all these troubles end as happily as possible; the
storms pass away and a many-coloured rainbow encompasses Arden, Arcady,
and the kingdom of France; every lover becomes loved, the three couples
get married, and while the music of the bridal fête is still in our
ears, news is brought that "hard by, at the edge of this forest, the
twelve peers of France are up in arms" to recover Gerismond's rights.
They accomplish this feat in a twinkling, as French peers should; why
they did not do it before does not appear: probably because the treble
marriage would not have looked so pretty in Notre Dame as under the
lemon trees. There is much bloodshed of course, but it is blood we do
not care for, and we are allowed to part from our shepherd friends with
the pleasing thought that they will see no end to their loves and

Such is "Euphues golden legacy," one of the best examples of the sort
of novel that was being written at this period. It has all the
characteristics of this kind of writing such as it had come to be
understood at that date; prose is mixed with verse, and several of
Lodge's best songs are included in "Rosalynde"; it is full of
meditations and monologues like those with which the neo-classic drama
of the French school has made us familiar.[164] In the more important
places, in monologues, speeches and letters euphuistic style usually
prevails;[165] the chronology and geography of the tale, its logic and
probability, the grouping of events are of the loosest description; but
it has moreover a freshness and sometimes a pathos which is more easily
felt than expressed and of which the above quotations may have given
some idea.

In "Rosalynde" we see Lodge at his best. Perhaps, remembering his
threats, it is better not to try to see him at his worst; it will
therefore be sufficient to add that, having published also satires and
epistles imitated from Horace, eclogues, some other short stories or
romances, a translation of the philosophical works of Seneca, two or
three incoherent dramas (in one of which a whale comes on to the stage,
and without any ceremony vomits forth the prophet Jonah),[166] Lodge
changed his profession once again, abandoned the sword for the lancet,
became a physician, gained a fortune, and died quietly a rich citizen in

He had thus lived beyond the period of Lyly's fame, of Greene's
reputation, of Shakespeare's splendour, and saw, before he died, the
beginnings of a new and very different era in which both the drama and
the novel were to undergo, as we shall see, many and vast

[Illustration: SCORPIO.]


[103] "Prose and Verse" by John Dickenson, ed. Grosart, Manchester,
1878, 4to. At a later date Dickenson took Greene for his model when he
wrote his "Greene in conceipt new raised from his grave, to write the
tragique history of the faire Valeria of London," 1598. In this
Dickenson imitates Greene's descriptions of the life of the courtezans
of London (Troy-novant). See _infra_, pp. 187 _et seq._

[104] "The straunge and wonderfull Adventures of Don Simonides," London,
1581, 4to; in 1584 appeared "The second tome of the travailes ... of Don

[105] "Riche his Farewell to Militarie profession: Conteining verie
pleasaunt discourses fit for a peaceable tyme. Gathered together for the
onely delight of the Courteous Gentlewoemen bothe of England and
Irelande, for whose onely pleasure thei were collected together, and
unto whom thei are directed and dedicated," London, 1581, 4to. By the
same: "The Adventures of Brusanus, Prince of Hungaria," 1592; "Greenes
newes both from heaven and hell," 1593, &c.

[106] London, 1580, 4to. One copy in the Bodleian Library.

[107] "Philotimus, the warre betwixt nature and fortune," London, 1583,
4to. A copy in the Bodleian Library.

[108] "Syrinx or a seavenfold historie ... newly perused and amended by
the original author," London, 1597, 4to. Warner died in 1609.

[109] "Episode of Julia and Proteus." This episode has been traced to
the story of the shepherdess Felismena, in Montemayor's "Diana." But
Shakespeare may have taken some hints also from Warner. Opheltes
(Proteus) married (not betrothed) to the virtuous Alcippe (Julia), goes
to "Sardis," where he becomes acquainted (in the same manner as Greene's
Francesco) with the courtesan Phoemonoe (Greene's Infida). Alcippe hears
of it, and wants at least to be able to see her husband; she enters the
service of the courtesan, and there suffers a moral martyrdom. Opheltes
is ruined, and, in words which Greene nearly copied, "Phoemonoe not
brooking the cumbersome haunt of so beggerly a guest, with outragious
tearms flatly forbad him her house." Alcippe makes herself known, and
all ends well for the couple.

[110] Arber's reprint, pp. 139 and 141.

[111] "The Repentance of Robert Greene," 1592. "Works," ed. Grosart,
vol. xii. p. 172.

[112] He belonged then to Clare Hall; the preface to the second part of
"Mamillia" (entered 1583) is dated "from my studie in Clarehall." Later
in life he seems to have again felt the want of increasing his
knowledge, and he was, for a while, incorporated at Oxford, July, 1588;
he, therefore, describes himself on the title-page of some of his works,
not without touch of pride, as belonging to both universities. In common
with his friend Lodge he had a taste for medical studies, and he appears
to have attempted to open to himself a career of this kind; he styles
himself on the title-page of "Planetomachia," 1585, as "Student in
Phisicke," but as he never gave himself any higher appellation we may
take it for granted that he never went beyond the preliminaries.

[113] "The Repentance of Robert Greene," 1592, "Works" vol. xii. p. 173.

[114] "Greene's never too late," 1590, "Works," vol. viii. p. 101.

[115] "Greene's Groats-worth of wit," 1592, "Works," vol. xii. pp. 131
_et seq._ "Roberto ... whose life in most parts agreeing with mine,
found one selfe punishment as I have done" (_Ibid._ p. 137).

[116] "Strange Newes," 1592. A rough engraving, showing Greene at his
writing table, is to be seen on the title-page of "Greene in conceipt,"
a novel by T. Dickenson, 1598; his "peake" exists, but is not quite so
long as Nash's description would have led us to expect.

[117] "Repentance," "Works," vol. xii. p. 164.

[118] See especially vol. x. of the "Works." Greene's example gave a
great impetus to these strange kinds of works, but he was not the first
to compose such; several came before him, especially T. Audeley, with
his "Fraternitye of vacabondes," 1560-1, and Thomas Harman, "A caveat or
warening for common cursetors vulgarely called vagabones," 1566 or 1567;
both reprinted by Viles and Furnivall, Early English Text Society, 1869.

[119] See the note added by the editor to his "Repentance," "Works,"
vol. xii. p. 184.

[120] Epilogue to the "Groats-worth of wit," directed "to those
gentlemen, his quondam acquaintance, that spend their wits in making
plaies," "Works," vol. xii. p. 144. The verse quoted by Greene occurs in
the third part of Henry VI., with the difference of "womans" for
"players." About this, see Furnivall, Introduction to the "Leopold
Shakspere," p. xvi. As to the identification of Greene's three friends,
see Grosart's memorial introduction and Storojenko's "Life," in "Works,"
vol. i.

[121] The exaggeration in the attack was so obvious that it raised some
protest, and Henry Chettle, who had edited Greene's "Groats-worth" after
his death, felt obliged to print a rectification in his next book, as
was the custom then, when newspapers did not exist. This acknowledgment,
that would to-day have been published in the _Athenæum_ or the
_Academy_, was inserted in his "Kind Heart's Dream," issued in the same
year, 1592, and is to the effect that so far as Shakespeare (for Chettle
can allude here to no other) is concerned: "divers of worship have
reported his uprightnes of dealing, which argues his honesty, and his
facetious grace in writing that approoves his art."

[122] "The Silent Woman," act iv. sc. 2; and "Every man out of his
humour," act ii. sc. 1.

[123] "Repentance," "Works," vol. xii. p. 185.

[124] The "Life and Complete Works" of Greene have been published by Dr.
Grosart, London, 1881, 15 vols. 4to. His principal non-dramatic writings
may be classified as follows:

1. _Romantic novels, or "love pamphlets"_: "Mamillia," 1583; "The second
part," 1583; "Myrrour of Modestie," 1584; "Card of fancie," 1584 (?);
"Arbasto," 1584 (?); "Planetomachia," 1585; "Morando, the Tritameron of
love," 1586 (?); "Second part," 1587; "Debate betweene follie and love,"
1587; "Penelopes web," 1587; "Euphues his censure to Philautus," 1587;
"Perimedes," 1588; "Pandosto" (_alias_ "Dorastus and Fawnia"), 1588;
"Alcida," 1588 (?); "Menaphon," 1589; "Ciceronis amor," 1589;
"Orpharion," 1590 (?); "Philomela," 1592.

2. _Civic and patriotic pamphlets_: "Spanish Masquerado," 1589; "Royal
Exchange," 1590; "Quip for an upstart courtier," 1592.

3. _Conny-catching pamphlets_: "A notable discovery of coosnage," 1591;
"Second part of Conny-catching," 1591; "Third and last part," 1592;
"Disputation betweene a Hee conny-catcher and a Shee conny-catcher,"
1592 (attributed to Greene); "The Blacke bookes messenger" (_i.e._,
"Life of Ned Browne"), 1592.

4. _Repentances_: "Greenes mourning garment," 1590 (?); "Greenes never
too late to mend," 1590; "Francescos fortune or the second part of
Greenes never too late," 1590 (these two last belong also to Group 1);
"Farewell to follie," 1591 (entered 1587); "Greenes Groats-worth of
wit," 1592; "The Repentance of Robert Greene," 1592.

[125] The same virtuous tone and purpose appear invariably in the
dedications of his books to his patrons or friends. To all of them he
wishes "increase of worship and vertue," and he commends them all "to
the tuition of the Almightie."

[126] Thomas Nash, "The Anatomie of Absurditie," London, 1590, 4to,
written in 1588. There seems to be no doubt that Nash refers to Greene
in the passage: "I but here the Homer of women hath forestalled an
objection," &c., sig. A ii.

[127] "Alcida," "Works," vol. ix. p. 17.

[128] "The Royal Exchange, contayning sundry aphorismes of phylosophie
... fyrst written in Italian," 1590, "Works," vol. vii. p. 224

[129] "Greenes never too late," 1590, "Works," vol. viii. p. 25.

[130] Greene and Lyly are placed on a par by J. Eliote, a friend of the
former; in the sonnet, in Stratford-at-Bow French, he wrote in
commendation of Greene's "Perimedes":

    "Greene et Lylli tous deux raffineurs de l'Anglois."

See also the commendatory verses by H. Upchear, prefacing "Menaphon":

    "Of all the flowers a _Lillie_ one I lov'd."

[131] 1592, "Works," vol. xi.

[132] Some faint resemblance has been pointed out by Dunlop between this
story and the tale of Tito and Gisippo in the "Decameron," giornata x.
novella 8.

[133] "The City Nightcap, or crede quod habes et habes, a tragi-comedy,"
London, 1661, 4to, licensed 1624, reprinted in Dodsley's "Old plays."

[134] "The debate betweene Follie and Love, translated out of French,"
1587, "Works," vol. iv.

[135] "Ciceronis amor Tulies love ... a work full of pleasure, as
following Ciceroes vaine," 1589, "Works," vol. vii. This work is
noteworthy as being an almost if not quite unique example of an attempt
in Elizabethan times to write a pseudo-historical novel in the style of
the period referred to. Greene set to work expressly with such a
purpose, and he states it in the title of the book and in its preface:
"Gentlemen, I have written of Tullies love, a worke attempted to win
your favours, but to discover mine owne ignorance in that coveting to
counterfeit Tullies phrase, I have lost myself in unproper words." In
this tale Cicero is represented standing at the tribune and haranguing
the senate: "Conscript fathers and grave senators of Rome," &c.

[136] "Penelopes web," 1587, "Works," vol. iv. p. 233.

[137] "There dwelled in Bononia a certaine Knight called Signior
Bonfadio" ("Morando"). "There dwelled in the citie of Metelyne a certain
Duke called Clerophantes" ("Greenes carde of fancie"). "There dwelled
... in the citie of Memphis a poore man called Perymedes" ("Perimedes"),

[138] London, 1672.

[139] "Histoire tragique de Pandosto roy de Bohème et de Bellaria sa
femme. Ensemble les amours de Dorastus et de Faunia; où sont comprises
les adventures de Pandosto roy de Bohème, enrichies de feintes
moralités, allégories, et telles autres diversités convenables au sujet.
Le tout traduit premièrement en Anglois de la langue Bohème et de
nouveau mis en françois par L. Regnault," Paris, 1615, 12mo. A copy in
the Bodleian Library.

[140] "Histoire tragique de Pandolphe roy de Bohème et de Cellaria sa
femme, ensemble les amours de Doraste et de Faunia; enrichie de figures
en taille douce," Paris, 1722, 12mo.

[141] "Menaphon. Camillas alarum to slumbering Euphues, in his
melancholie cell at Silexedra," 1589. "Works," vol. vi.

[142] "The blacke bookes messenger, laying open the life and death of
Ned Browne one of the most notable of cutpurses ... in England. Heerein
hee telleth verie pleasantly in his owne person such strange prancks ...
as the like was yet never heard of," 1592, "Works," vol. xi.

[143] "Groats-worth of wit," "Works," vol. xii. p. 140.

[144] "Greenes never too late," "Works," vol. viii. p. 67.

[145] "A quip for an upstart courtier, or a quaint dispute between
velvet breeches and cloth breeches," London, 1592; "Works," vol. xi. In
the year of its publication it went through three editions and had
several afterwards. It was translated into Dutch: "Een seer vermakelick
Proces tusschen Fluweele-Broeck ende Laken-Broek," Leyden, 1601, 4to.
Greene had as his model in writing this book F. T.'s "Debate between
pride and lowliness," and he drew much from it, though not so much by
far as he has been accused of by Mr. Collier. "The Debate," &c.,
Shakespeare Society, 1841, preface. (F. T. is not Francis Thynne.)

[146] Dedication of "Parismus," 1598.

[147] The thirteenth edition of "Parismus" appeared in 1649; there were
others in 1657, 1663, 1664, 1665, 1668, 1671, 1677, 1684, 1690, 1696,
1704, &c. (Sidney L. Lee.)

[148] London, 1598, 4to.

[149] Sig. C iii. _et seq._

[150] Act i. sc. 4. "Romeo" was first printed in 1597. A contemporary
representation of such an _entrée_ of maskers is to be seen in the
curious painting representing Sir H. Unton and the principal events in
his life; now kept in the National Portrait Gallery (painted about

[151] "Parismenos, the second part of ... Parismus," 1599; "Ornatus and
Artesia," of uncertain date, but surely anterior to 1598; "Montelion,
Knight of the Oracle," of uncertain date; the earliest known copy bears
date, 1633. Francis Meres, in his celebrated "Palladis Tamia," gives a
list of books "hurtful to youth," and which are to be "censured"; among
them, besides "Gargantua," "Owlglass," &c., he names "Ornatus and
Artesia" and the "Black Knight," which might perhaps be "Parismus," for
such was our hero's nickname.

[152] "Works in verse and prose," ed. Grosart, London, 1879, 2 vols.,
4to. Breton was born in 1542-3; he studied at Oxford, and travelled on
the continent; he died in 1626.

[153] This forms part of the title of his "Wonders worth the hearing,"
1602 (a dialogue with anecdotes).

[154] "A poste with a packet of mad Letters." The earliest dated edition
is of the year 1603. Breton published, besides the writings above
mentioned, some religious, pastoral, and other poetry. Part of it is
dedicated to Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, the famous sister of Sir
Philip: "The Countesse of Pembrookes love," 1592; "The Countesse of
Pembroke's passion" (no date). His pastoral poetry is among the best of
his time. He left also moral essays and characters or typical portraits:
"Characters upon essaies morall and divine, 1615," dedicated to Bacon,
and concerning wisdom, learning, knowledge, patience, love, peace, war
and other, even then, rather trite subjects. "The good and badde," 1616,
contains characters of a knave, an usurer, a virgin, a parasite, a
goodman, an "atheist or most badde man: hee makes robberie his purchase,
lecherie his solace, mirth his exercise, and drunkennesse his glory,"
&c. These books of "Characters" were extremely popular. _Cf._
"Characters of virtues and vices" by Hall, 1608; Sir Thomas Overbury's
"Characters," 1614; John Earle's "Microcosmographie," 1628, and a great
many others. The last-named was translated into French by J. Dymocke,
"Le vice ridicule," Louvain, 1671, 12mo. One of his most curious works
is his "Fantasticks," 1626.

[155] The principal novels or short stories of Lodge are: "Forbonius and
Prisceria," 1584, reprinted by the Shakespeare Society, 1853;
"Rosalynde, Euphues golden legacie found after his death in his cell at
Silexedra ... fetcht from the Canaries," 1590, reprinted by Hazlitt,
1875, and again in a popular form by Prof. H. Morley, 1887; "The famous,
true, and historicall life of ... Robin the divell," 1591; "Euphues
shadow the battaile of the sences wherein youthful folly is set downe,"
1592; it was edited by Greene in the absence of his friend, who was at
sea "upon a long voyage." The story takes place in Italy at the time
when "Octavius possessed the monarchy of the whole world." "The
Margarite of America," 1596, reprinted by Halliwell, 1859. In this
romance (p. 116), Lodge incidentally eulogizes his contemporary the
French poet Philippe Desportes, and he mentions the popularity of his
works in England. The "Complete Works" of Lodge have been published by
the Hunterian Club, ed. Gosse, Glasgow, 1875, _et seq._

[156] "The tale of Gamelyn, from Harleian MS., 7334," ed. Skeat, Oxford,
1884, 16mo.

[157] "Works," vol. ii. p. 12 (each work has a separate pagination)

[158] "Works," vol. ii. pp. 14, 16, 19, 20.

[159] "Works," vol. ii. pp. 63, 46, 42.

[160] "As you like it," act iv. sc. 3.

[161] Her forest name for Alinda.

[162] "As you like it," act iii. sc. 5.

[163] "Works," vol. ii. pp. 29, 30, 31, 49.

[164] "Saladin's meditation with himself: 'Saladin, art thou disquieted
in thy thoughts?'" &c. "Rosalind's passion: 'Unfortunate Rosalind, whose
misfortunes are more than thy years,'" &c. "Aliena's meditation: 'Ah!
me; now I see, and sorrowing sigh to see that Diana's laurels are
harbours for Venus doves,'" &c.

[165] For example, in "the schedule annexed to Euphues testament," by
which the dying man leaves the book to Philautus for the benefit of his
children. They will find in it what is fit for the God Love, "roses to
whip him when he is wanton, reasons to whistant him when he is wilie."
In the same manner Sir John of Bourdeaux informs his sons that "a
woman's eye as it is precious to behold, so is it prejudicial to gaze
upon"; Rosalind observes to herself that "the greatest seas have the
sorest stormes, the highest birth is subject to the most bale and of all
trees the cedars soonest shake with the wind," &c. The same style is
used in "Euphues shadow" in "Robin the divell," &c.: "Thou art like the
verven (Nature) poyson one wayes, and pleasure an other, feeding me with
grapes in shewe lyke to Darius vine, but not in substance lyke those of
Vermandois" ("Robin the divell").

[166] "A Looking glasse for London and England." This drama was written
by Lodge and by his friend Greene. The following stage direction occurs
in it: "Ionas the prophet cast out of the whales belly upon the stage."




When nowadays we see our shepherds, wrapped in their long brown cloaks,
silently following the high roads in the midst of a suffocating dust
which seems to come out of their sheep, it is difficult to explain the
enthusiasm that has ascribed to this race of mutes such fine speeches
and such pleasant adventures. Greeks, Romans, Italians, Spaniards, the
French and the English, have differed in a multitude of points, but they
have one and all delighted in pastorals. No class of heroes either in
history or fiction has uttered so much verse and prose as the keepers of
sheep. Neither Ajax son of Telamon, nor the wise king of Ithaca, nor
Merlin, Lancelot, or Charlemagne, nor even the inexhaustible Grandison,
can bear the least comparison with Tityrus. It is easy to give many
reasons for this; but the phenomenon still remains somewhat strange. The
best explanation is perhaps that the pastoral is one of the most
convenient pretexts existing for saying what would otherwise be
embarrassing. To many authors the eclogue is like a canvas for trying
their colours and brushes. Many would not willingly confess it, and Pope
would have vowed a mortal hatred to any one who explained his eclogues
thus: but it is better for his reputation to believe that he had at
least that reason for writing them. For some, the pastoral is an
allegory, where, if one would, place can be given to Cynthia, Queen of
the Sea, that is to say, to Elizabeth, and to a Shepherd of the Ocean
who is Raleigh; it allows the poet to speak to kings, to ask alms
discreetly of them, and to thank them.

In England in Shakespeare's time people were passionately fond of the
country of Arcadia, not the Arcady "for better for worse" that can be
seen anywhere outside London,[167] but the old poetical Arcadia, the
Arcadia of nowhere, which was the more cherished on account of its
non-existence. They could invent at their ease, imagine prodigious
adventures and wonderful amours; since no one had ever been in Arcadia,
it was hardly possible for any one to protest that events happened
differently there. To-day we think in quite another way; we must be told
of well-ascertained facts, of warranted catastrophes, at once certified
and provable. That is why the action of our novels, far from carrying
us into Arcadia, often unfolds itself in our kitchens and on our back
staircases. It is not at all as it was in the time of Robert Greene.

Very rarely now does any one ask if perchance some of these "Arcadias,"
so cherished by our fathers, contained their share of enduring beauty,
or if their lasting success is to be explained otherwise than by their
improbabilities and their artificial embellishments. Nevertheless the
study might be profitable, for it must be borne in mind that the readers
of these romances went in the afternoon to the "Globe" to see
Shakespeare play his own pieces, and that, admitting their fondness for
such dramas, in which, without speaking of other merits, the kitchen is
sometimes the place represented, it would be surprising to find only
mere nonsense in the whole collection of their favoured romances. Let
these suggestions justify us at need in examining one more Arcadia:
besides, it is not that of a penniless Bohemian; it is the Arcadia of
Sir Philip Sidney, the pattern of chivalrous perfection under Elizabeth.
His life is not, in its way, less characteristic of his time than that
of starving Robert Greene, or of Thomas Lodge the corsair.


Born in 1554, in the noble castle of Penshurst in Kent,[168] Sidney
passed a part of his childhood in Ludlow Castle, where in the next
century Milton's "Comus" was to be represented. At college he was famous
for his personal charm, his knowledge, and the thoughtful turn of his
mind. "I knew him," wrote in later years his friend and companion Fulke
Greville, "with such staiednesse of mind, lovely and familiar gravity,
as carried grace and reverence above greater years."[169] During the
year 1572 he was staying in France, where he had been appointed by King
Charles IX. one of the gentlemen of his chamber. It was the time of the
St. Bartholomew massacre, and Sidney, who belonged to the English
mission, remained in the house of Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's
ambassador, and escaped the perils of that terrible day.

He left France shortly after and travelled in several countries of
Europe, studying men and nations, storing his mind with information; he
was comparatively free from prejudice, and believed that useful examples
and precepts might be obtained even from "the great Turk." "As surely,"
did he write some years later to his brother Robert, "in the great Turk,
though we have nothing to do with him, yet his discipline in war matters
is ... worthy to be known and learned. Nay even the kingdom of China
which is almost as far as the Antipodes from us, their good laws and
customs are to be learned."[170] In such a disposition of mind he
visited successively Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Italy. The most
interesting incident of his journey was the acquaintance he made with a
Frenchman, the political thinker Hubert Languet, from whom Milton, a
long time before Rousseau, probably derived his ideas of the social
contract "foedus," says Languet, "inter [principem] and populum," and
his theories on the right of insurrection.[171] A most tender friendship
was formed between the revolutionary writer and the aristocratic Sidney.
They began a correspondence which did not cease till the former's death
in 1581. Languet had great influence over his young friend, and was
constantly giving him most manly advice and that best suited to
strengthen his character, warning him especially in very wise fashion
against a melancholy unsuitable to his age, which in the grave
Huguenot's opinion was only a useless impedimentum in life. "I readily
allow," wrote Sidney, in answer to his friend's remonstrances, "that I
am often more serious than either my age or my pursuits demand."[172]
That this tendency to pensiveness left its trace on his features may be
seen in most of his portraits, among others in that by Isaac Oliver, of
which we give a reproduction.

The most interesting of Sidney's portraits is unfortunately lost. He sat
for it while in Italy, at the request of his friend, and chose no mean
artist to paint it: "As soon as ever I return to Venice, I will have it
done, either by Paul Veronese or by Tintoretto, who hold by far the
highest place in the art." He decided for Veronese, and sent the
picture to Languet, who wrote shortly after: "As long as I enjoyed the
sight of you, I made no great account of the portrait you gave me, and
scarcely thanked you for so beautiful a present. I was led by regret for
you on my return from Frankfort to place it in a frame and fix it in a
conspicuous place. When I had done this, it appeared to me so beautiful
and so strongly to resemble you that I possess nothing that I value more
... The painter has represented you sad and thoughtful. I should have
been better pleased if your face had worn a more cheerful look when you
sat for the painting."[173] When Languet died, Sidney described his
sentiments for him in a touching poem, inserted in his "Arcadia"; it was
sung by the shepherd Philisides, who represents the author himself and
whose name is a contraction of the words Philip Sidney:

    "I sate me downe; for see to goe ne could,
     And sang unto my sheepe lest stray they should.
     The song I sang old Lan[g]uet had me taught,
     Lan[g]uet, the shepeard best swift Ister knew,
     For clearkly reed, and hating what is naught,
     For faithfull heart, cleane hands and mouth as true.
     With his sweet skill my skillesse youth he drew,
     To have a feeling taste of him that sits
     Beyond the heaven, farre more beyond our wits ...
     With old true tales he wont mine cares to fill,
     How shepeards did of yore, how now they thrive ...
     He liked me, but pitied lustfull youth:
     His good strong staffe my slipperie yeares upbore:
     He still hop'd well because I loved truth."[174]

In 1575, when twenty-one years old, Sidney returned to shine at court,
where his uncle Leicester, the Queen's favourite was to make all things
easy for him. He assisted that year at the fêtes given in Elizabeth's
honour at Kenilworth, in those famous gardens "though not so goodly,"
writes a witness of the festivities, "as Paradis, for want of the fayr
rivers, yet better a great deal by the lack of so unhappy a tree."[175]
Then Sidney accompanied the Queen to Chartley, and these ceremonies mark
a great epoch in his existence. While Elizabeth listened to the
compliments of her entertainers, Sidney's eyes were fixed on a child. A
sentiment, the full strength of which he was to feel only in after time,
sprang up in his heart for Penelope Devereux, the twelve-year-old
daughter of the Earl of Essex, who was as beautiful as Dante's Beatrice.
He began to visit at her father's house frequently; it seemed as if a
marriage would ensue; Essex himself was favourable to it, but for some
cause or other Sidney did not press his suit; and while his friend
Languet strongly advised him to marry, he was answering him in the
leisurely style of one who believes himself heart-whole: "Respecting her
of whom I readily acknowledge how unworthy I am, I have written you my
reasons long since, briefly indeed, but yet as well as I was able."[176]
He was soon to write in a very different manner. Penelope, the Stella of
Sidney's verse, was, very much against her will, compelled at last by
her family to marry the wealthy Lord Rich, and then Sidney awoke to his
fate: what he had believed to be mere inclination, a light feeling of
which he would always remain the master, had from the first been Love,
irrepressible, unconquerable love:

    "I might;--unhappie word--O me, I might,
     And then would not, or could not see my blisse;
     Till now wrapt in a most infernall night,
     I find how heav'nly day, wretch! I did miss."[177]

He remained a lover of Stella, saw her, wrote to her, sang of her, and
at length ascertained that she too, despite her marriage ties, loved
him. He continued then, in altered tones, the magnificent series of
sonnets dedicated to her and which read still like a love-drama of real
life, a love-drama which is all summarized in the beautiful and
well-known dirge:

    "Ring out your belles, let mourning shewes be spread;
     For Love is dead:
         All Love is dead, infected
     With plague of deep disdaine:
         Worth, as nought worth, rejected
     And Faith faire scorne doth game.
         From so ungratefull fancie,
         From such a femall franzie
         From them that use men thus,
         Good Lord, deliver us!

     Weepe, neighbours, weepe; do you not heare it said
     That Love is dead?

       *       *       *       *       *

    Alas! I lie: rage hath this errour bred;
    Love is not dead;
        Love is not dead, but sleepeth
    In her unmatchèd mind,
        Where she his counsell keepeth,
    Till due desert she find.
        Therefore from so vile fancie
        To call such wit a franzie,
        Who Love can temper thus,
        Good Lord, deliver us!"

Love that was not dead but asleep awoke, and Sidney's raptures were
again expressed in his verse:

    "O joy too high for my low stile to show!...
     For Stella hath, with words where faith doth shine,
     Of her high heart giv'n me the monarchie:
     I, I, O I, may say that she is mine."[178]

This lasted some time and when love faded away, at least in Stella's
fickle heart, "Astrophel" wrote the real dirge of his passion.

Sidney had nevertheless continued his active life all this while,
sometimes at court and sometimes on the continent, recognized as a
statesman by statesmen, as a poet by poets, as a perfect knight by all
experts in knightly accomplishments. Spenser dedicated in 1579 his
"Shepheardes Calender" to "the most noble and vertuous gentleman, most
worthy of all titles, both of learning and chevalrie, M. Philip
Sidney"[179]; and William the Silent, Prince of Orange, once said to
Fulke Greville that "Her Majesty had one of the ripest and greatest
counsellors of estate in Sir Philip Sidney that at this day lived in
Europe." The remaining years of his short life were well filled; he had
been ambassador to the German Emperor in 1577; he had taken part at
home, though unasked, in the negotiations concerning the Queen's
marriage, and he lost favour for a while on account of the extraordinary
freedom with which he had written to Elizabeth against the French match.
He retired from court at that moment and went to live in the country;
while staying with his sister at Wilton in the midst of congenial
surroundings, he wrote most of his "Arcadia" (1580). He was a member of
Parliament in 1581 and 1584, and married in 1583 the daughter of Sir
Francis Walsingham. He all but accompanied Drake to America, where he
had received from the Queen a large grant of lands; he became at last
Governor of Flushing in the Netherlands. He died in that country at
thirty-one years of age, in 1586, of a wound received at Zutphen; a
premature death that gave the finishing touch to men's sympathy and love
for him; all England wept for him.[180] Even now, it is difficult to
think unmoved of his well-filled career ending on the eve of the great
triumphs of his country, to call to our memory this brave man who died
with his face to the enemy without knowing that victory would be
declared for his side, without having known Shakespeare, without having
seen the defeat of the Armada.

As for his Stella she survived him only too long. A few years after
Sidney's death she deserted her husband by whom she had had seven
children, and became the mistress of Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy,
afterwards Earl of Devonshire, to whom she gave three sons and two
daughters. Lord Rich, a man full of prudence it seems, waited for the
death of the Earl of Essex, his wife's brother, to divorce her. She then
married her lover in 1605. But till her death, which happened in 1608
she was mostly remembered as having been Sidney's friend, and books were
dedicated to her because she had been Astrophel's "Stella." Thus Yong's
translation of the "Diana" of Montemayor, a pastoral from which Sidney
had taken many hints, is dedicated to her.[181] Thus again Florio asks
her conjointly with Sidney's daughter[182] to patronize the second book
of Montaigne's Essays, addressing Penelope, in the extraordinary style
that belonged to him: "I meane you (truely richest Ladie Rich) in riches
of fortune not deficient, but of body incomparably richer, of minde most
rich: who yet, like Cornelia, were you out-vied, or by rich shewes
envited to shew your richest jewelles, would stay till your sweet
images (your deere-sweete children) came from schoole." And then,
addressing the ladies together, both the daughter and the mistress of
the departed hero: "I know not this nor any I have seen, or can
conceive, in this or other language, can in aught be compared to that
perfect-imperfect Arcadia, which all our world yet weepes with you, that
your all praise-exceeding father (his praise-succeeding countesse) your
worthy friend (praise-worthiest lady) lived not to mend or end it."[183]
Once Astrophel had sung of Stella, and now Lady Rich was praised by the
pedant Rombus.


Sidney's works well accord with his life; in these few years he had time
to take in with a clear and kindly glance all those beauties of ancient
or modern times, of distant countries or of his own which set the
hearts of his contemporaries beating, and he is therefore perhaps, on
account of his catholicity, the most worthy of Shakespeare's immediate
precursors. The brilliance of the Spaniards enchants him, and he
translates fragments of Montemayor[184]; the Kenilworth fêtes amuse him
and he writes a masque, "The Lady of May,"[185] to be used at like
festivities. A true Christian he translates the Psalms of David; a
tender and passionate heart, he rhymes the sonnets of Astrophel to
Stella; enamoured of chivalry and great exploits, he writes, with fluent
pen, his "Arcadia," where he imitates the style made fashionable in
Europe by Montemayor in his "Diana"; a lover of _belles lettres_, he
defends the poet's art in an argument charming from its youthfulness,
vibrating with enthusiasm, which holds in English literature the place
filled in French by Fénelon's "Lettre à l'Académie."[186] This work is
very important with regard to the subject that now occupies us, not
only because Sidney gives in it his opinion on works of fiction in
general; but because here we have at last a specimen of flexible,
spirited, fluent prose, without excessive ornament of style, or learned
_impedimenta_, a specimen of that prose which is exactly suited to
novels and that no one--Roger Ascham perhaps excepted--had until then
used in England.

Perhaps it will be found, he writes at the beginning of his work, with
the elegant gracefulness of a man who knows how to do everything that he
does well, that I carry my apology to excess; but that is excusable:
listen to what Pietro Pugliano, my master of horsemanship, at the
Emperor's Court, said: "Hee sayde souldiours were the noblest estate of
mankinde, and horsemen, the noblest of souldiours. Hee sayde, they were
the maisters of warre, and ornaments of peace: speedy goers and strong
abiders, triumphers both in camp and courts." For a prince no
accomplishment is comparable to that of being a good horseman; "skill of
government was but a Pedanteria in comparison: then would hee adde
certaine prayses, by telling what a peerlesse beast a horse was. The
onely serviceable courtier without flattery, the beast of most beutie,
faithfulnes, courage, and such more, that if I had not beene a peece of
a logician before I came to him, I think he would have perswaded mee to
have wished my selfe a horse. But thus much at least with his no fewe
words hee drave into me, that selfe-love is better then any guilding to
make that seeme gorgious, wherein our selves are parties. Wherein, if
Pugliano his strong affection and weake arguments will not satisfie you,
I wil give you a neerer example of my selfe, who (I knowe not by what
mischance) in these my not old yeres and idelest times, having slipt
into the title of a poet, am provoked to say somthing unto you in the
defence of that my unelected vocation."

Set at ease by Pugliano's example, who seems to have had the same
veneration for the horse as his countryman Vinci, Sidney enters on his
defence and does not restrain himself from extolling poetry beyond any
product of the human mind. Poetry is superior to history, to philosophy,
to all forms of literature. Poets have, by the charm of their works,
surpassed the beauties of nature and they have succeeded in making "the
too much loved earth more lovely." He gives to poetry, in effect, an
immense domain: everything that is poetic or even merely a work of the
imagination is poetry for him: "there have beene many most excellent
poets, that never versified, and now swarme many versifiers that neede
never aunswere to the name of poets." For him, the romance of "Theagines
and Cariclea" is a "poem"; Xenophon's "Cyrus" is "an absolute heroicall
poem." To the great joy of their author he would certainly have seen an
epic in Chateaubriand's "Martyrs." "It is not riming and versing that
maketh a poet, no more then a long gowne maketh an advocate: who though
he pleaded in armor should be an advocate and no soldiour." Even
historians have sometimes to do the work of poets, that is imagining,
inventing, "although theyr lippes sounde of things doone and veritie be
written in theyr foreheads."

In spite of his fondness for the ancients, whose unities and messenger
he greatly approves, and of his contempt for the modern drama, such as
it was understood in those pre-Shakespearean times, he remains, at
bottom, entirely English; he adores the old memorials of his native
land, and does not know his Virgil better than his Chaucer, or even the
popular songs hummed by the wayfarer along the high roads. Irish
ballads, English ballads of Robin Hood, Scottish ballads of Douglas, are
familiar to him, and some of them make him start as at the sound of a
trumpet: "Certainly, I must confesse my own barbarousnes, I never heard
the olde song of Percy and Douglas, that I found not my heart mooved
more then with a trumpet: and yet it is sung by some blind crouder, with
no rougher voyce then rude stile; which being so evill apparelled in the
dust and cobwebbes of that uncivill age, what would it worke, trymmed in
the gorgeous eloquence of Pindar?" He would have loved, like Molière,
the song of the "roi Henri," and like La Fontaine, the story of Peau
d'Ane. But his closest sympathies were reserved for poetical tales, for
the adventures of Roland and King Arthur, which are a soldier's reading,
and even for the exploits of Amadis of Gaul. "I dare undertake 'Orlando
furioso' or honest King Arthur will never displease a souldier....
Truely, I have knowen men, that even with reading 'Amadis de Gaule,'
which God knoweth wanteth much of a perfect poesie, have found their
hearts mooved to the exercise of courtesie, liberalitie and especially
courage." He imagines nothing more enchanting or more powerful than the
charm of poetical prose stories, "any of which holdeth children from
play, and old men from the chimney corner." Their attraction has
something superior, divine; for, he adds with a depth of emotion that
appears quite modern, "so is it in men, most of which are childish in
the best things, till they bee cradlid in their graves."[187]

He closes with a witty and delightful ending, a kindly wish for the
hardened enemies of poetry: "Yet this much curse I must send you, in the
behalfe of all Poets, that while you live, you live in love, and never
get favour, for lacking skill of a sonnet: and when you die, your memory
die from the earth, for want of an epitaph."

Neither did Sidney lack epitaphs; all the poets wept for him; nor was he
wanting in those favours that a sonnet can win, for he wrote the most
passionate that appeared in England before those of Shakespeare. Like
the "Apologie" they move us by their youth and sincerity; they come from
the heart:

    "Loving in truth, and faine in verse my love to show,
     That She, dear She! might take some pleasure of my paine:

           *       *       *       *       *

     I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
     Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertaine;
     Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
     Som fresh and fruitfull showers upon my sun-burn'd brain:
     But words came halting forth ...
     Biting my trewand pen, beating myselfe for spite:
     'Foole!' said my Muse to me, 'looke in thy heart, and write!'"[188]

Unfortunately, when Sidney took up his pen to write his "Arcadia,"[189]
he no longer looked into his heart; he loosed the rein of his
imagination, and, without concerning himself with a critical posterity
for whom the book was not destined, he only wished, like Lyly, to write
a romance for ladies, or rather for one lady, his sister, the Countess
of Pembroke, famous as his sister, famous as a patron of letters,[190]
famous also as the mother of William Herbert, the future friend of
Shakespeare, the "W. H." for whom in all probability the sonnets of the
great poet were written. Sidney sent the sheets to his sister as fast as
he penned them, charging her to destroy them, a thing she did not do.
The poet knight only saw in it an amusement for himself and for the
Countess, and he gave free vent to his fondness for poetical prose: "For
severer eyes it is not," says he to his sister, "being but a trifle and
that triflingly handled. Your deare selfe can best witnesse the manner,
being done in loose sheets of paper, most of it in your presence, the
rest by sheetes, sent unto you as fast as they were done. In summe, a
young head, not so well staied as I would it were (and shall bee when
God will) having many fancies begotten in it, if it had not beene in
some way delivered, would have growne a monster, and more sorry might I
bee that they came in than that they gat out." His "Apologie" was
perhaps from its style more useful to the development of the novel than
the "Arcadia"; but the latter, in spite of its enormous defects of style
and composition, was also of use, and it is not unimportant to note that
its influence lasted until and even beyond the time of Richardson.

Sidney's romance is not, as might be believed, an enormous pseudo-Greek
pastoral, with tunic-wearing shepherds in the foreground, piping their
ditties to their flocks, to their nymphs, to Echo. Elizabethan Arcadias
were knightly Arcadias. Sidney's heroes are all princes or the daughters
of kings. Their adventures take place in Greece, undoubtedly, and among
learned shepherds, but the great parts are left to the noblemen, and the
distance between the two classes is well marked. However intelligent and
well bred the shepherds may be, they are only there for decoration and
ornament, to amuse the princes with their songs, and to pull them out of
the water when they are drowning. There are Amadises and Palmerins in
Sidney's work. Amadis has come to live among the shepherds, but he
remains Amadis, as valiant and as ready as ever to draw his sword. To
please his sister the better, Sidney mingles thus the two kinds of
affectations in fashion, the affectation of pastoral and of chivalry,
taking in this as his example the famous "Diana" of George de
Montemayor, which was then the talk not only of Spain, but of all the
reading public in Europe.[191] As for the shepherds, are we to pity them
because their domain is invaded by foreign knights, by whom they are
dispossessed of the high rank belonging to them, of all places, in
Arcady? There is no need for pity; a time will come when they will repay
their invaders, and the end of their piping has not come yet. Leaving
their country, where their place has been taken by British noblemen, we
shall see them some day invade the land of their conquerors, and,
sitting in their turn under the elms of Windsor Park, sing their songs
at the call of Mr. Pope. They will look a little awry, no doubt, among
the mists of an English landscape, with their loose tunics, bare limbs,
and "in-folio" wigs; but they will prove none the less fine speakers,
and they will for a time concentrate upon themselves the attention of
the capital. Better still will be their treatment at the hands of a
Frenchman, not a poet, but a painter, Gaspard Poussin, who will gain
more permanent attention and sympathy for them than most poets when he
will inscribe in his canvas, on the representation of a ruined tomb, his
famous "Et in Arcadia ego."[192]

Sidney's heroes, in the meantime, Prince Musidorus and Prince Pyrocles,
the latter disguised as a woman under the name of the amazon Zelmane,
are in love with the Princesses Pamela and Philoclea, daughters of the
King of Arcady. A great many crosses are in the way of the lovers'
happiness. They have to fight helots, lions, bears, enemies from
Corinth. They lose each other, find each other again, and relate their
adventures. The masculine amazon especially does wonders, for she has to
fight not only with the sword, but in argument. She is so pretty in
woman's costume that the old king Basilius, until then wise and
virtuous, falls distractedly in love with her, as imprudent as
Fior-di-Spina in Ariosto; while the queen, whom the disguise does not
deceive, feels an intense passion spring up in her heart for the false
amazon and a terrible jealousy of her own daughter, Philoclea.

Disguises are numerous in this romance; they are also frequent in
Shakespeare's plays and in most of the novels of the time. Parthenia
gives herself out to her admirer, Argalus, as the Queen of Corinth, whom
she resembles, and announces her own death. As pretended queen she
offers her hand to Argalus, to prove him; but he refuses with horror;
she then discovers herself to this paragon of lovers, and gives him his
Parthenia alive and more loving than ever.

When we read now of such disguises, of princes Pyrocles dressed as
women, of Rosalinds dressed as pages, we are tempted to smile at the
vain fancies of the novelists of the Shakespearean era.[193] But it must
not be forgotten that, after all, there was not so much invention in
these fancies, and that living examples were not rare from which writers
might copy. Disguises were abundantly used in fêtes and ceremonies, but
they were also utilized in actual life. The manners of the time in this
particular are well illustrated by the earnest entreaties of a certain
ambassador to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, advising her to leave her
palace secretly and travel over the country as his page. The Queen was
in no way shocked, but rather pleased; she did not order the ambassador
to be turned out of her palace, but heard him expound his plan, wishing
she might have followed it. This happened in one of those curious
conversations of which Melville, the ambassador of Mary Queen of Scots,
has left us an account. Elizabeth was very desirous of seeing her "dear
sister" of Scotland and of judging with her own eyes what truth there
was in the reports concerning her beauty. "Then again," says Melville,
"she wished that she might see the queen at some convenient place of
meeting. I offered to convey her secretly to Scotland by post, clothed
like a page, that under this disguise she might see the queen, as James
the fifth had gone in disguise to France with his own Ambassadour, to
see the Duke of Vendom's sister,[194] who should have been his wife.
Telling her that her chamber might be kept in her absence, as though she
were sick; that none needed to be privy thereto except my Lady Strafford
and one of the grooms of her chamber.

"She appeared to like that kind of language, only answered it with a
sigh, saying: Alas, if I might do it thus."[195]

Surely ladies who "appeared to like that kind of language," and men who
were wont to use it, would be certain to accept with much pleasure
representations in plays and novels of he-Rosalinds and she-Pyrocles.

In the midst of battles, masques and eclogues, interludes are
consecrated to fêtes of chivalry. As much as in Italy, France or
England, the knights of Arcady challenge each other, and in brilliant
tournaments break lances in honour of their mistresses. Sidney himself
was very skilful at these sports; he proved it about this time in the
festivities of May, 1581, by attacking with his companions, the Castle
of perfect Beauty, which was reputed to contain the grace and
attractions of the Queen, a treasure as may well be believed, most
allegorical. His sonnets more than once refer to his prowess in the

    "Having this day, my horse, my hand, my lance
     Guided so well that I obtain'd the prize,
     Both by the judgment of the English eyes,
     And of some sent from that sweet enemie France.

     Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance;
     Towne-folks my strength; a daintier judge applies
     His praise to sleight, which from good use doth rise;
     Some luckie wits impute it but a chance ...
     Stella lookt on...."[196]

In his letters to his brother Robert, he is most particular as to the
every-day exercise by which the young man should improve his fencing. He
could not help giving his tastes to his Arcadian knights. They would,
otherwise, have been considered by his lady-readers, uninteresting
barbarians. He therefore allowed them good spurs and a ready lance; this
meant civilization. On a certain day every knight appears in the vale of
Arcady, with drawn sword, and carrying a portrait of his fair lady; the
painting is to become the prey of the conqueror. The order of merit of
the various beauties is thus determined by blows of the lance. Pyrocles,
who, dressed as a woman, cannot take part in the fighting, has the
mortification of seeing the champion of Philoclea bite the dust and give
up her portrait. He goes immediately and secretly puts on some wretched
armour, lowers his visor, and like a brave hero of romance, runs into
the lists, throws every one to the ground, regains the portrait, and all
the others as well. He is proclaimed conqueror of the tourney, and the
first of knights, while at the same time, Philoclea becomes again the
most beautiful of women.

In this Arcadia of chivalry it must not be thought that only cottages
and huts are to be found; sometimes the heroes sleep soundly in the open
air, but seldom. In this country there are palaces like those of the
rich English lords. The dwelling of the noble Kalander is of this
number. The park is magnificent, and quite in the style of the
Elizabethans, that style which is so minutely described in Bacon's
"Essay on gardens." It did not differ much from the park at Kenilworth,
a place well known to Sidney: "whearin, hard all along the castell wall
iz reared a pleazaunt terres of a ten foot hy and a twelve brode, even
under foot, and fresh of fyne grass: as iz allso the side thearof toward
the gardein, in whiche by sundry equall distauncez, with obelisks,
sphearz and white bearz [bears], all of stone, upon theyr curiouz basez,
by goodly shew wear set; too theez, too fine arbers redolent by sweete
trees and floourz, at ech end one, the garden plot under that, with fayr
alleyz green by grass." There were fountains with marble Tritons, with
Neptune on his throne, and "Thetis on her chariot drawn by her
Dollphins,"[197] with many other gods and goddesses.

Kalander's gardens in Arcady were of the same sort; their adornments
were not very sober, and many eccentricities are presented as beauties;
thus the fashion of the day would have it; Versailles in comparison is
simplicity itself. Kalander and his guest go round the place, and "as
soone as the descending of the staires had delivered them downe, they
came into a place cunningly set with trees of the most taste-pleasing
fruits: but scarcely they had taken that into consideration, but that
they were suddenly stept into a delicate greene; of each side of the
greene a thicket, and behind the thickets againe new beds of flowers,
which being under the trees, the trees were to them a pavilion, and they
to the trees a mosaicall floore....


"In the middest of all the place was a faire pond, whose shaking
cristall was a perfect mirrour to all the other beauties, so that it
bare shew of two gardens, one in deed, the other in shadowes. And in one
of the thickets was a fine fountaine made thus: a naked Venus of white
marble, wherin the graver had used such cunning that the natural blue
veins of the marble were framed in fit places to set forth the
beautifull veines of her body. At her breast she had her babe Æneas, who
seemed, having begun to sucke, to leave that, to look upon her faire
eyes, which smiled at the babe's folly, meane while the breast
running."[198] The effect produced must undoubtedly have been very
pleasant, but scarcely more "natural" than the embellishments
recommended by Bacon, who declares that hedges and arbours ought to be
enlivened by the songs of birds; and that to make such enlivening sure
and permanent, the birds should be secured in cages. A good example of a
garden in Sidney's time with beds of flowers, arbours, pavilions, and
covered galleries is to be seen in his own portrait by Isaac Oliver, of
which we give a reproduction. It must be noticed that only the lower
part of the long gallery at the back is built; the vault-shaped upper
portion is painted green, being supposed to be made of actual leaves and
foliage. Except for such books as Sidney's it could not be said of those
gardens that "they too were once in Arcady."


Costumes and furniture are of the same style, and accord with such
gardens much more than with shepherd life. They are pure Renaissance,
half Italian and half English. Musidorus disguised as a shepherd,
dresses his hair in such a way as to look much more like one of the
Renaissance Roman Emperors at Hampton Court than like a keeper of sheep:
we see him while receiving a lesson on the use of the "sheep-hooke,"
wearing "a garland of laurell mixt with cypres leaves on his head."[199]
The glowing descriptions of the private apartments of the heroes suit
modern palaces better than Greek cottages; while representations of
ladies recumbent on their couches are obvious reminiscences of
Tintoretto or Titian, whose newly painted works Sidney had admired in
Italy. Here is a description of the beautiful Philoclea, resting in her
bedroom; it shows unmistakable signs of Sidney's acquaintance with the
Italian painters: "She at that time lay, as the heate of that country
did well suffer, upon the top of her bed, having her beauties eclipsed
with nothing, but with her faire smocke, wrought all in flames of
ash-colour silk and gold; lying so upon her right side, that the left
thigh down to the foot, yielded hir delightfull proportion to the full
view, which was seene by the helpe of a rich lampe, which thorow the
curtaines a little drawne cast forth a light upon her, as the moone doth
when it shines into a thinne wood."[200]

Sidney, according to his friend Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, had the
highest moral and political purposes, in writing his "Arcadia": "In all
these creatures of his making, his interest and scope was, to turn the
barren philosophy precepts into pregnant images of life; and in them,
first on the monarchs part, lively to represent the growth, state and
declination of princes, changes of government and lawes ... Then again
in the subjects case, the state of favour, disfavour, prosperitie,
adversity ... and all other moodes of private fortunes or misfortunes,
in which traverses, I know, his purpose was to limn out such exact
pictures of every posture in the minde, that any man might see how to
set a good countenance upon all the discountenances of adversitie."[201]
When Greville wrote thus, Sidney was dead, and in his retrospect of his
friend's life he was with perfect good faith discovering high, not to
say holy motives, for all his actions. Sidney's own explanation suits
his work better; he was delivering his "young head" of "many, many
fancies," and their main object was not politics, but love. He described
it as it was known and practised in his time. Most of the heroes in the
"Arcadia," talk like Surrey, Wyatt, Watson, and all the "amourists" of
the century, like Sidney himself when he addressed another than Stella.
The modesty of their characters is equal to their tenderness; valiant as
lions before the enemy, they tremble like the leaf before their
mistresses; they feed on smiles and tender glances; when they have to
suffer a scarcity of this heavenly food they can only die: "Hee dieth:
it is most true, hee dieth; and he in whom you live dieth. Whereof if
though hee plaine, hee doth not complaine: for it is a harme but no
wrong which hee hath received. He dies, because in wofull language all
his senses tell him, that such is your pleasure." Fair Pamela feels
deeply moved when reading this, and confesses her harshness; she denied
him a look: "Two times I must confess," says she to her sister, not
without a pretty touch of humour of a very modern sort, "I was about to
take curtesie into mine eyes, but both times the former resolution stopt
the entrie of it: so, that hee departed without obtaining any further
kindenesse. But he was no sooner out of the doore, but that I looked to
the doore kindly!" The poor lover who did not see this change in his
lady's countenance went away fainting, "as if he had beene but the
coffin that carried himselfe to his sepulchre!"[202]

Happiness produces the same effect on these heroes. Pyrocles-Zelmane
when present in his false quality of woman at the bath of his mistress
in the Ladon is on the point of swooning with admiration.[203] His
friend, Prince Musidorus, in the ecstasies of his passion, falls "downe
prostrate," uttering this prayer to the awful god who reigns paramount
in Arcady: "O thou, celestiall or infernall spirit of Love, or what
other heavenly or hellish title thou list to have (for effects of both I
find in my selfe), have compassion of me, and let thy glory be as great
in pardoning of them that be submitted to thee as in conquering them
that were rebellious."[204]

But Sidney painted also amours of another sort, and one of the great
attractions of his book is the variety in the descriptions of this
passion. Never had the like been seen before in any English novel, and
as for France, it must be remembered, that d'Urfé's "Astrée," which has
kept its place in literature for the very same quality, for its
inconstant Hylas and its faithful Celadon, for its Astrée and its
Madonte, was yet to be written. Sidney has, among several others,
created one character which, forgotten as it is now, would be enough to
give a permanent interest to this too much neglected romance; it is the
Queen Gynecia, who is consumed by a guilty love, and who is the worthy
contemporary of the strongly passionate heroes of Marlowe's plays. With
her, and for the first time, the dramatic power of English genius leaves
the stage and comes to light in the novel; it was destined to pass into
it entirely.

Gynecia does not allow herself to be blinded by any subterfuge; love has
taken possession of her; the rules of the world, the laws of blood, the
precepts of virtue that she has observed all her life, are lost sight
of; she is conscious of nothing but that she loves, and is ready, like
Phædra of old, to trample everything under foot, to forsake everything,
the domestic hearth, child, husband: and it is very interesting to see,
about the time of Shakespeare, this purely dramatic character develop
itself in a novel.

"O vertue," she cries, in her torment, "where doest thou hide thy selfe?
What hideous thing is this which doth eclipse thee? or is it true that
thou wert never but a vaine name, and no essentiall thing; which hast
thus left thy professed servant, when she had most neede of thy lovely
presence? O imperfect proportion of reason, which can too much foresee,
and too little prevent: Alas, alas, said she, if there were but one hope
for all my paines, or but one excuse for all my faultinesse! But wretch
that I am, my torment is beyond all succour, and my evill deserving doth
exceed my evill fortune. For nothing else did my husband take this
strange resolution to live so solitarily: for nothing else have the
winds delivered this strange guest to my countrey: for nothing else have
the destinies reserved my life to this time, but that onely I, most
wretched I, should become a plague to my selfe and a shame to
woman-kind. Yet if my desire, how unjust soever it be, might take
effect, though a thousand deaths followed it, and every death were
followed with a thousand shames, yet should not my sepulchre receive me
without some contentment. But, alas, so sure I am, that Zelmane is such
as can answer my love; yet as sure I am, that this disguising must needs
come for some foretaken conceit: and then, wretched Gynecia, where canst
thou find any small ground plot for hope to dwell upon? No, no, it is
Philoclea his heart is set upon, it is my daughter I have borne to
supplant me: but if it be so, the life I have given thee, ungratefull
Philoclea, I will sooner with these hands bereave thee of, than my
birth shall glory she hath bereaved me of my desires."[205]

We see with how little reason the "Arcadia" is sometimes placed in the
category of bedizened pastorals, where the reader is reduced to regret
the absence of a "little wolf," and whether Gynecia, in spite of the
oblivion which has gathered over her, does not deserve a place by the
side of the passionate heroines of Marlowe and Webster rather than in a
gallery of Lancret-like characters.

Sidney, thus possesses the merit, unique at that time with prose
writers, of varying his subjects by marking its _nuances_ and by
describing in his romance different kinds of love. Side by side with
Gynecia's passion, he has set himself to paint the love of an old man in
Basilius, of a young man in Pyrocles, of a young girl in Pamela. This
last study led him to portray a scene which was to be represented again
by one of the great novelists of the eighteenth century. Richardson
borrowed from Sidney, with the name of Pamela, the idea of the adventure
that shows her a prisoner of her enemies, imploring heaven that her
virtue may be preserved. The wicked Cecropia who keeps Sidney's Pamela
shut up, laughs heartily at her invocations: "To thinke," she says,
"that those powers, if there be any such, above, are moved either by the
eloquence of our prayers, or in a chafe at the folly of our actions,
carries as much reason, as if flies should thinke that men take great
care which of them hums sweetest, and which of them flies nimblest."
Pamela, "whose cheeks were dyed in the beautifullest graine of vertuous
anger," replies by speeches which yield in nothing as regards nobility
and dignity, and length also, to those of her future sister, and which
are followed as in Richardson, by an unexpected deliverance. These
speeches are famous for yet another reason; they are said to have been
recited in one of the most terrible crises of the history of England and
were not this time followed by a deliverance. Charles I., it is
reported, had copied out, and recited a short time before his death, the
eloquent prayers to God, of the young heroine of Sidney's novel. It
seems that Pamela's prayer figured among the papers that he gave with
his own hand, at the last moment, to the prelate who was attending him:
and the Puritans, Milton especially, uttered loud cries, and saw in this
reminiscence of the artist-prince, an insult to the divine majesty.
"This King," writes the poet, "hath as it were unhallowed and
unchristened the very duty of prayer itself, by borrowing to a Christian
use prayers offered to a heathen god. Who would have imagined so little
fear in him of the true all-seeing deity, so little reverence of the
Holy Ghost, whose office is to dictate and present our Christian
prayers, so little care of truth in his last words, or honour to himself
or to his friends, or sense of his afflictions or of that sad hour which
was upon him, as immediately before his death to pop into the hand of
that grave bishop who attended him, for a special relique of his saintly
exercises, a prayer stolen word for word from the mouth of a heathen
woman, praying to a heathen god, and that in no serious book, but in
the vain amatorious poem of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia."[206] Here is
this prayer which is a very grave and eloquent one, and in no way
justifies the bitter reproaches addressed to Charles by his enemies:

"Kneeling down, even where she stood, she thus said: O All-seeing Light,
and eternall Life of all things, to whom nothing is either so great,
that it may resist, or so small that it is contemned: looke upon my
misery with thine eye of mercy, and let thine infinite power vouchsafe
to limit out some proportion of deliverance unto mee, as to thee shall
seeme most convenient. Let not injurie, O Lord, triumph over mee, and
let my faults by thy hand bee corrected, and make not mine unjust enemy
the minister of thy Justice. But yet, my God, if, in thy wisedome, this
be the aptest chastisement for my unexcusable folly; if this low bondage
be fittest for my over-high desires; if the pride of my not enough
humble heart, be thus to be broken, O Lord, I yeeld unto thy will, and
joyfully embrace what sorrow thou wilt have me suffer. Onely thus much
let me crave of thee ... let calamity be the exercise, but not the
overthrow of my vertue: let their power prevaile, but not prevaile to
destruction: let my greatnesse be their prey: let my paine be the
sweetnesse of their revenge: let them, if so it seem good unto thee,
vexe me with more and more punishment. But, O Lord, let never their
wickednesse have such a hand, but that I may carry a pure minde in a
pure body. And pausing a while: And, O most gracious Lord, said shee,
what ever become of me, preserve the vertuous Musidorus."[207]

Thus incidents, showing much diversity, but little order, follow each
other in great variety. There are touching episodes, ludicrous and, to
our modern ideas, even shocking episodes, brilliant adventures, fine
pastoral scenes, and much pleasant description; Sidney had been
perfectly frank and true when he had spoken of "his young head" and his
"many many fancies." He allows his imagination to wander; fancies are
swarming in his mind, and he is no more capable of restraining or
putting them into logical order than a man can restrain or introduce
reason into a dream. Arcadia is sometimes in England and sometimes in
Greece; Basilius' cottage sometimes becomes Hampton Court; there are
temples and churches also; heroes are Christians, but they believe in
Mars; they act according to the Gospel and also according to the
oracles; they are before everything men of the Renaissance. Following
his vein, Sidney, after innumerable adventures, pastoral and warlike
scenes, disappearances, unexpected meetings, scenes of deep love, of
criminal, sweet or foolish love, comes at last to a sort of conclusion.
King Basilius drinks a soporific draught; he is given up as dead. Queen
Gynecia is accused of being the author of the deed; Zelmane, who has
been found out to be a man is adjudged an accomplice; both are about to
be executed. At that point, fortunately, the dead king springs to his
feet; there are explanations, embracings, and a general pardon. Good
Basilius, who alone seems to have understood nothing of all that
happened, asks pardon of his wife and of the world at large for his
silly love for Pyrocles-Zelmane, and proclaims, unasked, Queen Gynecia
the most virtuous woman that ever was. The Queen blushes deeply and says
nothing, but finding that the ties of her passion are now broken, she
inwardly pledges herself to live in order to justify her husband's
praise. She becomes the "example and glory of Greece: so uncertain are
mortall judgements, the same person most infamous and most famous, and
neither justly."

This might be taken as a sufficient conclusion in so loose a tale; but
in that case it would mean giving up many heroes whose fates are yet in
suspense. In fact, an "Arcadia" of this sort might be continued till
doomsday. Unless the hand of the writer grew tired, there is no reason
why it should ever end. This is, in fact, the one and only reason Sidney
puts forth as an excuse for taking his leave; he makes no pretence of
having finished, just the reverse; for when he has married his princes
he concludes thus: "But ... the strange stories of Artaxia and
Plexirtus, Erona and Plangus, Hellen and Amphialus, with the wonderful!
chances that befell them; the shepheardish loves of Menalcas with
Kalodulus daughter; the poore hopes of the poor Philisides," that is,
Sidney himself, "in the pursuit of his affections; the strange
continuance of Klaius and Strephons desire; lastly the sonne of Pyrocles
named Pyrophilus, and Melidora the faire daughter of Pamela by
Musidorus, who even at their birth entred into admirable fortunes, may
awake some other spirit to exercise his pen in that wherwith mine is
already dulled." From generation to generation the tale might as we see,
have been continued for ages: so numerous were the wonderful adventures
still to be told.

The style of the book is scarcely less fanciful than the stories it
tells. It is only now and again that the charming prose of the "Apologie
for Poetrie" is to be found in the "Arcadia." Sidney wished to remain
faithful to his theories, and he believed it possible to write a poem in
prose.[208] Here and there some speeches, passionate like those of
Gynecia, or noble like Pamela's prayer, some brilliant repartee, a few
observations of exquisite charm are lasting beauties, always in their
place in all kinds of writing. Thus we meet the witty Sidney of the
"Apologie" in the description of a spaniel, coming out of a river, who
shakes off the water from his coat "as great men doe their friends;"
Sidney, the poet and lover, appears in the description of Philoclea
entering the water "with a prettie kind of shrugging ... like the
twinkling of the fairest among the fixed stars;" or in this expression
in reference to the fair hair of one of his heroines: "her haire--alas
too poore a word, why should I not rather call them her beams!"[209]

But, by the side of these graceful flowers, how many others are faded!
What concessions to contemporary taste for tinsel and excessive
ornament! Sidney forgets the rules of enduring beauty, and with the
excuse that he will never be printed, he only seeks to please his one
reader. To charm the Countess, his sister, like most women of his time,
it was necessary to put his phrases in full dress, to place ruffs on his
periods, and to make them walk according to the rules followed in
courtly pageants. When, in spite of Sidney's earnest desire, his book
was published after his death, people were enraptured with his
ingeniously dressed out phrases. Lyly might shake with envy without
having however the right to complain, for Sidney did not imitate him.
Sidney never liked euphuism, quite the contrary, he formally condemns it
in his "Apologie": "Now for similitudes in certain printed discourses I
think all herberists, all stories of beasts, fowles and fishes, are
rifled up, that they may come in multitudes to wait upon any of our
conceits, which certainely is as absurd a surfet to the eares as is
possible." But his own style is scarcely less artificial than that of
Lyly, and consequently, its rules are quite as easy to discover.

They consist firstly in the antithetical and cadenced repetition of the
same words in the sentences written merely for effect; secondly, in
persistently ascribing life and feeling to inanimate objects. Sidney, it
is true, as Lyly with his euphuism, happily only employs this style on
particular occasions, when he intends to be especially attractive and
brilliant. A few specimens will afford means of judging, and will show
how difficult it was in Shakespeare's time, even for the best educated
and most sensible men, for the sincerest admirers of the ancients, to
keep within the bounds of good taste and reason. They might appeal to
the Castalian virgins in their invocations, but William Rogers'
Elizabeth was the Muse that rose before their eyes.

Here is an example of the first sort of embellishment: "Our Basilius
being so publickly happy, as to be a prince, and so happy in that
happiness, as to be a beloved prince; and so in his private estate
blessed, as to have so excellent a wife, and so over-excellent children,
hath of late taken a course which yet makes him more spoken of than all
these blessings." In another passage Sidney wishes to describe the
perfections of a woman; and "that which made her fairness much the
fairer, was, that it was but a fair ambassador of a most fair mind."
Musidorus considers it "a greater greatness to give a kingdome than get
a kingdome."[210] Phalantus challenges his adversary to fight "either
for the love of honour or honour of his love." In many of these
sentences the same words are repeated like the rhymes of a song, taken
up from strophe to strophe, and the sentence twists and turns, drawing
and involving the readers in its spiral curves, so that he arrives at
the end all bruised, and falls half stunned on the full stop.[211]

The other kind of elegance that Sidney affects is to be found in very
many authors, and it is, so to say, of all time; poets especially
indulge in it without measure; but Sidney surpasses them all in the
frequent use he makes of it; this peculiar language is more apparent and
has still stranger effect in a prose writer than in a poet. In his
Arcady, the valleys are consoled for their lowness by the silver streams
which wind in the midst of them; the ripples of the Ladon struggle with
one another to reach the place where Philoclea is bathing, but those
which surround her refuse to give up their fortunate position. A
shepherdess embarks: "Did you not marke how the windes whistled, and the
seas danced for joy; how the sales did swell with pride, and all because
they had Urania?" Here is a description of a river: "... The banks of
either side seeming armes of the loving earth, that faine would embrace
it; and the river a wanton nymph which hill would slip from it ... There
was ... a goodly cypres, who bowing her faire head over the water, it
seemed she looked into it and dressed her green locks by that running
river." One of the heroines of the romance appears, and immediately the
flowers and the fruits experience a surprising commotion; the roses
blush and the lilies grow pale for envy; the apples perceiving her
breast fall down from the trees out of vexation, unexpected vanity on
the part of this modest fruit.[212]

Similar conceits were at that time the fashion not only in England, but
also in Italy, in Spain, and in France. There might still be found in
France, even in the seventeenth century, authors who described in these
terms the appearance of flowers in spring: "There perhaps at the end of
the combat, a pink all bleeding falls from fatigue; there a rosebud,
elated at the ill-success of her antagonist, blooms with joy; there the
lily, that colossus among the flowers, that giant of curdled cream, vain
of seeing her image triumph at the Louvre, raises herself above her
companions, and looks at them with contemptuous arrogance." The same
author, who is Cyrano de Bergerac, calls ice "an hardened light, a
petrified day, a solid nothing."[213] But contrary to what was the case
in England, this style was in France, even before Boileau and in the
preceding century, the style of bad authors. In England it is frequently
adopted by the most eminent writers, since on many occasions it is even
that of Shakespeare himself. Besides, the combinations of sound obtained
by means of the repetition of words, added to the turgidness of the
images, give to Sidney's language in the passages written for effect, a
degree of pretension and bad taste that Cyrano himself, in spite of his
natural disposition, could never have equalled. When both kinds of
Sidney's favourite embellishments are combined in the same sentence, it
becomes impossible to keep serious, and it is difficult to recognize the
author of the "Apologie." Sidney thus describes wreckage floating on the
water after a sea-fight: "Amidst the precious things were a number of
dead bodies, which likewise did not onely testifie both elements
violence, but that the chiefe violence was growne of humane inhumanity:
for their bodies were full of grisly wounds, and their blood had, as it
were, filled the wrinkles of the sea's visage; which it seemed the see
would not wash away, that it might witnesse it is not always his fault,
when we do condemne his cruelty."[214] There is indeed in French
literature a dagger celebrated for having _rougi le traître_! but what
is it in comparison, and ought it not in its turn to grow pale with envy
at the thought of this sea that will not wash itself?

Thus men wrote in the time of Shakespeare, guilty himself of having made
many a dagger blush and weep in his bloody dramas: "See how my sword
weeps for the poor king's death!" says Gloucester in "Henry VI." When
Brutus stabs Cæsar the blood followed the dagger

    "As rushing out of doors, to be resolv'd
     If Brutus so unkindly knocked or no."

Such was the irresistible power of fashion. Sidney who in his
"Apologie" had laughed at these extravagances in the poets and
dramatists, could not himself avoid them when he wrote his romance. When
they concern themselves with criticism, nearly all, Shakespeare, Sidney,
and their contemporaries, are to be admired for their moderation,
wisdom, and good sense; but as soon as they take up the pen to write
their imaginative works, intoxication overcomes their brain, a divine
intoxication that sometimes transports them to heaven, an earthly
intoxication that sometimes leads them into bogs and gutters.


These surprising embellishments were in no way harmful, quite the
contrary, to the success of the "Arcadia." From the first it was
extremely popular and widely read; Sidney, who has kept his high repute
as a knight and a poet to our day, was still more famous at first, and
indeed for a long time, as a novelist. He was before all the author of
the "Arcadia."[215] His influence as such was very great, if not always
very beneficial; for his examples, as often happens, were more readily
followed than his precepts. Until the practical Defoe worked his great
reform in style, the language of the novel was encumbered with images
and unexpected metaphors, or distorted by a pompous verbosity; romance
writers mostly looked at life and realities through painted glass. For
this, Sidney is in some degree responsible.

His book was, so to speak, a standard one; everybody had to read it;
elegant ladies now began to talk "Arcadianism" as they had been before
talking "Euphuism." Dekker, in 1609, advises gallants to go to the play
to furnish their memories with fine sayings, in order to be able to
discourse with such refined young persons: "To conclude, hoarde up the
finest play-scraps you can get, upon which your leane wit may most
savourly feede for want of other stuffe, when the _Arcadian_ and
_Euphuized_ gentlewomen have their tongues sharpened to set upon
you."[216] When he has to represent "a court-lady, whose weightiest
praise is a light wit, admired by herself, and one more," her lover, Ben
Jonson, in his "Every man out of his humour," makes her talk
"Arcadianism." Her lover, who is quite the man to appreciate these
elegancies of speech, being "a neat, spruce, affecting courtier, one
that wears clothes well and in fashion, practiseth by his glass how to
salute ... can post himself into credit with his merchant, only with the
gingle of his spur and the jerk of his wand," thus describes the
Arcadian music which falls from the lips of the lady Saviolina: "She has
the most harmonious and musical strain of wit that ever tempted a true
ear ... oh! it flows from her like nectar, and she doth give it that
sweet quick grace and exornation in the composure, that by this good
air, as I am an honest man, would I might never stir, sir, but--she does
observe as pure a phrase and use as choice figures in her ordinary
conference as any be in the 'Arcadia.'"[217]

The demand for Sidney's book continued long unabated. It was often
reprinted during the seventeenth century,[218] and found imitators,
abbreviators and continuators. Among its early admirers it had that
indefatigable reader of novels, William Shakespeare, who took from it
several hints, especially from the story of the "Paphlagonian unkind
king," which he made use of in his "King Lear."[219] Books were
published under cover of Sidney's name, as "Sir Philip Sydney's
Ourania";[220] others were given away bearing as an epigraph an
adaptation of two well-known verses:

             "Nec divinam _Sydneida_ tenta
    Sed longe sequere et vestigia semper adora,"[221]

no insignificant compliment, considering the word which had to make
room for "Sydneida." Works without number were dedicated to the Countess
of Pembroke, not only because she was what she was, and a poetess of
some renown, but because she was the Mary Sidney of Arcadian fame.

As Sidney had stated that he did not consider his novel finished with
the marriage of his heroes, and the reconciliation of his royal couple,
continuations were not wanting; writers who did not consider their pen
"dulled" as he had declared his own to be, volunteered to add a further
batch of adventures to the "Sidneyd." Thus we have the "English Arcadia
alluding his beginning to Sir Philip Sidnes ending," by Gervase Markham,
1607; a "Sixth booke to the Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia, written by
R[ichard] B[eling] of Lincolnes Inne," 1624; or again a "Continuation of
Sir Philip Sydney's Arcadia: wherein is handled the loves of Amphialus
and Helena ... written by a young gentlewoman, Mrs. A. W.," 1651. Dramas
were built upon incidents in the "Arcadia"; Shakespeare we have seen
made use of it in his "King Lear"; John Day wrote after Sidney's tale,
"The Ile of Guls," 1606, "the argument being a little string or rivolet
drawne from the full streme of the right worthy gentleman, Sir Phillip
Sydneys well knowne Archadea."[222] Some years later, in 1640, Shirley
put Basilius and his court again on the stage in his "Pastorall called
the Arcadia."[223]

Authors of poems also took their plots from stories in Sidney's novel,
one of the most popular among those stories was the adventures of
Argalus and Parthenia; it was constantly reprinted in a separate form,
and was the subject of a long poem by the well-known Francis Quarles,
the author of the "Emblemes." "It was," says he in his preface, "a scion
taken out of the orchard of Sir Philip Sidney of precious memory, which
I have lately graffed upon a crab-stock in mine own.... This book
differs from my former as a courtier from a churchman." Not less did it
differ from his later books, among which the "Emblemes" were to figure;
but the pious author eases his conscience about it by alleging
"precedents for it." It cannot be denied that if Quarles' "churchman"
was very devout his "courtier" was very worldly. He goes far beyond
Sidney in his descriptions of love, of physical love especially, and
uses in this matter a freedom of speech and a bantering tone which
reminds us much more of the Reine de Navarre than of the author of the
"Emblemes." Such as it is, however, this poem remains, so far as
literary merit goes, one of the best Quarles ever wrote. He scarcely
ever reached again this terseness and vivacity of style, and this
_entrain_. Having for once shut himself out of the church, and not for
long, he wanted it seems to do the best with his time, and if he was
sinning, at least to enjoy his sin.


His contemporaries enjoyed it greatly; "Argalus and Parthenia" went
through an extraordinary number of editions;[224] some of them were very
fine, and were even illustrated with cuts. We give an example of them
showing the newly married couple sitting in their garden to read a

    "Upon a day as they were closely seated,
     Her ears attending whilst his lips repeated
     A story treating the renown'd adventures
     And famous acts of great Alcides, enters
     A messenger whose countenance did bewray
     A haste too serious to admit delay."

Is there any necessity for reminding the reader of the cause of the
messenger's haste? Is it possible that such world-famous adventures can
be now forgotten? The messenger was sent by King Basilius, who was
sorely pressed by his arch-enemy Amphialus. The young hero rushes to the
rescue of the Arcadian king, but he is piteously slain in a duel with
Amphialus. Then Parthenia dresses herself as a knight, and fights her
husband's conqueror. With more verisimilitude than is usually the case,
she too is piteously slain. And this is the end of Argalus and

But there was still more than this, and like Lyly, Sidney had direct
imitators who copied him in prose, and tried to fashion novels after his
model. All the peculiarities of his style and of his way, or rather
want, of composition, are to be found minutely reproduced in: "The
countesse of Mountgomeries Urania; written by the Rt. Hon. the Lady Mary
Wroath, daughter of the Rt. noble Robert earle of Leicester, and neece
to the ever famous and renowned S^r Phillips Sidney Kt. and to y^e most
excelent Lady Mary Countesse of Pembroke late deceased."[225] This
pedigree-shaped title is enough in itself to show what we may expect
from the performance. It is a complete and pious imitation of Sidney's
manner, especially of his defects, for they were more easily attained.
Thus we have those repetitions of the same words which were so pleasant
to Sidney's ear, and Lady Mary Wroth has a felicity of her own in
twisting the idea into the words, screw-wise, with a perfection her
model had scarcely ever attained: "All for others grieved; pittie
extended so, as all were carefull, but of themselves most carelesse: yet
their mutual care made them all cared for." A very true and logical
observation. Lady Mary is also fond of giving sense and feeling to
inanimate objects, and scarcely, again, can Sidney, with his sea that
will not wash, or Cyrano with his proud giant of curdled milk, suffer
comparison with this description of a burning tower into which a woman
throws the head of her enemy: "For her welcome [Dorileus] presented her
with the head of her enemy, which he then cut off and gave unto her, who
like Tomeris of Sithia, held it by the haire, but gave it quickly
another conclusion, for she threw it into the midst of the flaming
tower, which then, as being in it selfe enemy to good, because wasting
good, yet hotly desiring to embrace as much ill, and so headlongly and
hastily fell on it, either to grace it with the quickest and hottest
kisses, or to conceale such a villanous and treacherous head from more
and just punishments."[226]

As to the story, it is, like the "Arcadia," a tale of shepherds who are
princes, and of shepherdesses with royal blood in their veins; there are
eclogues, dialogues, and if not much poetry at least much verse. The
events take place in Greece and in the Greek islands; people go to the
temple of Diana and to the temple of Venus. In the last-named place they
get married. These worshippers of the deities of old are dressed as
follows. Here is the description of a man's costume: "Then changed he
his armour taking one of azure colour, his plume crimson, and one fall
of blew in it; the furniture to his horse being of those colours, and
his device onely a cipher, which was made of all the letters of his
misstrisses name, delicately composed within the compasse of one." Here
is now a description of the costume women wore in Lady Mary's Greek
land: "She was partly in greene too; as her upper garment, white buskins
she had, the short sleeves which she wore upon her armes and came in
sight from her shoulders were also white, and of a glistering stuffe, a
little ruffe she had about her neck, from which came stripps which were
fastned to the edges of her gowne, cut downe equally for length and
breadth to make it square; the strips were of lace, so as the skinne
came steallinglie through, as if desirous but afraide to bee seane,
knowing that little joy would moove desire to have more." This clever
young person had been "sworn a nymph," which prevented her getting
married for some years. Waiting for that auspicious date a lover was
offering his addresses to her, and as Lady Wroth's Arcadia is an Arcadia
with a peerage, we are informed that this sworn nymph's lover was "the
third sonne of an earle."[227]

No less a man than Ben Jonson proclaimed himself an admirer of Lady
Mary; he dedicated one of his masterpieces, "the Alchemist," to "the
lady most deserving her name and blood, Lady Mary Wroth," and in his
"Epigrams" he addressed her as follows, his only but sufficient excuse
being that the "Urania" was not yet written:

    "Madam, had all antiquity been lost,
     All history seal'd up and fables crost,
     That we had left us, nor by time nor place,
     Least mention of a Nymph, a Muse, a Grace,
     But even their names were to be made anew
     Who could not create them all from you?"[228]

The eighteenth century began, and Sidney's romance was not yet
forgotten; his book was still alive, if one may say so, when the novel
assumed its definite shape, style and compass with Defoe, Richardson and
Fielding. Addison notices its presence in the fair Leonora's library,
among "the some few which the lady had bought for her own use."[229] It
continued then to be fashionable, and a subject of conversation. No
wonder, therefore, that between the date of "Robinson Crusoe" and the
date of "Pamela" two more editions of the "Arcadia" were given to the
public. One of them contained engravings after drawings by L.
Chéron.[230] The other was "moderniz'd" and was published by
subscription under the patronage of the Princess of Wales.[231] Sidney's
novel continued to act on men's minds, and many proofs of its influence
on eighteenth-century literature might be pointed out. That Sidney was
Richardson's first teacher in the art of the novel is well known; that
Cowper read the "Arcadia" with delight is well known too, and he confers
no mean praise on our author when he speaks of

             "those golden times
    And those arcadian scenes that Maro sings
    And Sidney, warbler of poetic prose."[232]

Examples of Sidney's style are also to be found in several authors of
that time. Consciously or not, Young sometimes adopts all the
peculiarities of Sidney; for example, when he writes:

    "Sweet harmonist! and beautiful as sweet!
     And young as beautiful! and soft as young!
     And gay as soft! and innocent as gay!
     And happy (if aught happy here) as good!
     For fortune fond had built her nest on high."[233]

Sidney's popularity did not, of course, last so long without
encountering some opposition. For Milton, and no wonder, the "Arcadia"
was nothing but "a vain amatorious poem," though he is fair enough to
add that it is "in that kind, full of worth and wit."[234] Horace
Walpole was very hard upon our novelist: "We have a tedious, lamentable,
pedantic pastoral romance," says he, in his "Royal and Noble Authors,"
"which the patience of a young virgin in love cannot now wade
through."[235] It is sad to think that the once famous "Castle of
Otranto," though twenty times shorter, requires now no smaller dose of

    "See the fond youth! he burns, he loves, he dies,
     He wishes as he pines and feeds his famish'd eyes."]

None the less, the "Arcadia" was popular in the last century, and, at
the same time as it attracted the attention of fair Leonoras, it also
interested and delighted a much commoner sort of readers. It was several
times printed in an abbreviated form, and circulated, with engravings,
as a chap-book. Sometimes the whole of the "Arcadia" was compressed into
a small volume, sometimes only an episode was given to the public. The
story of Argalus and Parthenia was especially popular.[236] The
engravings, it is needless to say, were very coarse; and if Sidney had
taken little trouble to be historically or geographically accurate, the
wood-block makers took even less, and they offer to our eyes an
extraordinary medley of fifteenth-century knights, Roman soldiers,
gentlemen in flowing wigs and court swords, all of them supposed to have
at one time adorned with their presence the groves of Arcady. A few
specimens of these engravers' art are here given; no doubt the reader
will be pleased to know what the famous Argalus and Parthenia were
supposed to have been like, how the bathing of Philoclea in the Ladon
was represented, and the sorts of fêtes and courtly dances that
enlivened the marriage of that princess.

More striking even than these tributes to Sidney's merits as a novelist
is the treatment awarded him in France. The famous Du Bartas in his
second "Week" names Sidney as one of the "three firm pillars of the
English Speech." This speech, according to the French poet, is mainly
supported by Thomas More and Bacon,

    "Et le milor Cydné qui cygne doux-chantant
     Va les flots orgueilleux de Tamise flatant;
     Ce fleuve gros d'honneur emporte sa faconde
     Dans le sein de Thétis et Thétis par le monde."[237]


Besides this, Sidney's romance received in France an homage very rare
at that epoch: it was translated. A Frenchman possessing a knowledge of
the English language was then an extraordinary phenomenon. As late as
the year 1665, no less a paper than the "Journal des Scavans" printed a
statement to the following effect: "The Royal Society of London
publishes constantly a number of excellent works But whereas most of
them are written in the English language, we have been unable till now
to review them in our pages. But we have at last found an English
interpreter through whose offices it will be henceforth possible for us
to enrich our publication with the best things appearing in England." As
for Sidney, not only was he translated, but what is not less strange,
the fact provoked in France one of the most violent literary quarrels of
the time. Two translations of the "Arcadia," now entirely forgotten,
were published simultaneously, both in three volumes, both adorned with
engravings.[238] As soon as a volume appeared, each of the translators
profited by the occasion to write a new preface, and to repeat that his
rival was a mere plagiarist and did not know a word of English. The
other replied offering to prove such a rare knowledge; had it been a
question of Chinese or of Hindustani they could not have boasted more
noisily of their unique acquaintance with so mysterious an idiom. Each
appealed to his patroness, who was, in either case, no ordinary woman:
the one had dedicated his work to Diane de Chateaumorand (D'Urfé's
Diane), who had indeed the right to judge of Arcadias; the other invoked
the authority of the Queen-mother, Marie de Medicis, by whose express
command he had carried on his work.

Baudoin, who had been the first to turn the "Arcadia" into French,
published it in 1624, prefixing to it this remark, flattering to
Sidney's memory, but which shows how very little his language was known
in France: "Merely the desire of understanding so rare a book caused me
to go to England, where I remained for two years in order to gain a
knowledge of it."


Two years! immediately retorts the publisher of the other translation;
we can do better than that: the author of the work that we publish is
Mademoiselle Geneviève Chappelain, and what guarantees does she not
offer! "She has the honour to have lived more than seven years at the
court of the King of Great Britain, in the suite of the Countess of
Salisbury, who esteemed her as no ordinary young girl, but as a very
well-bred demoiselle who had been presented to her with good
credentials, and who was descended from a race that has given us great
men: verily, and women, too, that the muses have deigned to favour."
This is a little like the argument of Scudéry, boasting, ten years
later, of his noble birth in order to prove to poor Pierre Corneille
that he is the better poet of the two, and that the "Cid" is worth

But something better still follows, and here the worthy publisher
somewhat betrays himself: "If she has not been able to learn the
language of the country in which she has lived for more than seven
years, and nearly always with great ladies: how, I beg of you, could
those who have only lived there two years, and among the common people,
know the language? I do not wish to offend any one by this notice, which
I thought it necessary to make only to defend a young lady _who is my
near relation_."

Baudoin maintains his statement, and defies his rivals to translate
Sidney's verse, and he enumerates the precautions he himself has taken,
precautions which certainly ought to satisfy the reader as regards his
accuracy. Not only did he live for two years in England, but, he says,
"I secured the assistance of a French gentleman of merit and learning,
who has been good enough to explain to me the whole of the first book. I
have acted in such a way as to procure two different versions of it in
order to produce one good one." And he has done even something more: "I
have always had near me one of my friends to whom this tongue was as
familiar as our own; he has taken the trouble to elucidate for me any
doubts I may have had." In truth, he could hardly have surrounded
himself with more light, but then, what an arduous task to translate
from English!

Baudoin's adversaries were in no way intimidated by this display;
firstly, they had had the assistance of exactly the same gentleman; it
appears that a second equally learned was not to be found; secondly,
Mdlle. Chappelain also showed her translation to persons who knew both
languages, and they found her work perfect; lastly, and what more can be
required? she sends a challenge to Baudoin and his accomplices, and
invites them to a decisive combat: "She is ready to show that she knows
the English language better than they, and they would not dare to appear
in order to speak it with her in the presence of persons capable of
judging." Baudoin does not appear, indeed, to have accepted this
challenge, but neither does it seem to have discouraged him. He closes
the preface of his last volume with this poetical apostrophe to those
who are envious of his reputation: "By the mouth of good wits--Apollo
holds you in contempt,--Troop so ignorant and bold:--For you profane his
beauteous gifts,--And cause thistles to spring up--In the midst of your

What astonishes us now, when we follow the vicissitudes of the
long-forgotten dispute of these two writers is that so much passion
should have been expended over Sidney's romance, however great might be
its merit; while the attention of no one in France was attracted by
Shakespeare and the inimitable group of dramatists of his time. No
Baudoin, no Geneviève Chappelain disputed the honour of translating
"Hamlet," and a century was still to elapse before so much as
Shakespeare's name should figure in a book printed in France.[240]

This double translation of the "Arcadia" did not, however, pass
unnoticed, far from it; and from time to time we find the name of Sidney
reappearing in French books, while the giants of English literature
continued entirely unknown on the continent. When Charles Sorel
satirized the long-winded romances of his time in his "Berger
Extravagant," he did not forget Sidney, who figures among the authors
alternately praised and criticized in the disputation between Clarimond
and Philiris. The criticism is not very severe, and compared with the
treatment inflicted on other authors, it would seem that Sorel wished to
show courtesy to a foreigner who had been invited, so to say, as a
visitor to France by his translators.[241] Copies of Sidney's original
"Arcadia" crept into France, and are to be found in rather unexpected
places. Thus a copy of the edition of 1605 is to be seen in the National
Library in Paris, with the [Greek: Ph Ph] of surintendant Fouquet on the
cover. The way in which the letters are interlaced shows that the book
did not come from Fouquet's own library, but from the library of the
Jesuits,[242] to whom he had given a yearly income of 6,000 livres, and
who, in memory of their benefactor, stamped thus books purchased from
this fund.

In France, too, as well as in England, the "Arcadia" was turned into a
play. Antoine Mareschal, a contemporary of Corneille and the author of
such dramas as "La généreuse Allemande ou le triomphe de l'amour," 1631,
the "Railleur ou la satyre du temps," 1638, the "Mauzolée," 1642,
derived a tragi-comedy, in five acts, and in verse from the "Arcadia."
The piece, which, if the author is to be believed, made a great
sensation in Paris, was called the "Cour Bergère," and was dedicated to
Robert Sidney, Earl of Leicester, ambassador of England to France, and
brother to Sir Philip. It appeared in 1640; it was thus later than the
"Cid." None the less, it exhibits the phenomenon of several deaths on
the stage; but the ridiculous manner in which these deaths are
introduced could only strengthen Corneille in his scruples. The wicked
Cecropia, standing on a terrace at the back of the stage, moves without
seeing the edge, and falls head foremost on the boards, exclaiming:

    "Ah! je tombe, et l'enfer a mon corps entrainé ...
     Je déteste le ciel! Ah! je meurs enragée!"

In the following century Sidney was still remembered in France. In his
"Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de la République des lettres,"
Niceron mentions the "Arcadia" as "a romance full of intelligence and
very well written in the author's language."[243] Florian knew him and
held him in great honour; he names him with D'Urfé, Montemayor, and
Cervantes, as being, as it were, one of his literary ancestors,[244] and
the fact is not without importance; for Florian, continuing, as he did,
Sidney's tradition, and trying in his turn to write poems in prose,
stands as a link between the pastoral writers of the sixteenth century
and the author who was the last to compose prose epics in our time: the
author of "Les Martyrs" and of that American Arcadia called

[Illustration: SAGITTARIUS.]



[167] And which has been faithfully and touchingly described in Dr.
Jessopp's book: "Arcady: For better, for worse," recently published in

[168] Besides its fine collection of family portraits, one of which is
reproduced in this volume, by the kind permission of Lord de l'Isle and
Dudley, Penshurst is remarkable because it offers to this day a perfect
example of a fourteenth-century hall with the fireplace in the middle.

[169] "Life of the renowned S^r Philip Sidney," London, 1652, 12mo.

[170] "The Correspondence of Sir Ph. Sidney and Hubert Languet," ed.
Pears London, 1845, 8vo, Appendix; A.D. 1579(?).

[171] "Vindictæ contra tyrannos," Edinburgh, 1579, part iii.

[172] Padua, February 4, 1574, "Correspondence," p. 29.

[173] A.D. 1575, "Correspondence," p. 94.

[174] "Arcadia," bk. iii.

[175] "Captain Cox his ballads ... or Robert Laneham's Letter, 1575,"
ed. Furnivall, London, Ballad Society, 1871, 8vo, p. 53.

[176] "Correspondence," _ut supra_, March 1, 1578.

[177] "Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella ... edited from the
folio of 1598," by Alfred Pollard, London, 1888, 8vo, sonnet 33.
Penelope's marriage with Lord Rich seems to have taken place in April,

[178] "Astrophel and Stella," _ut supra_, pp. 170 and 72 (sonnet 69).


    "Goe little booke! thy selfe present
     As childe whose father is unkent
     To him that is the President
     Of noblenesse and chevalree...."

Dedication of the "Shepheardes Calender." Sidney seems to have had a
right and not over-enthusiastic appreciation of Spenser's eclogues; in
his "Apologie for Poetrie" he is content to say that "the Sheapheardes
Kalender hath much poetrie in his eglogues: indeede worthy the reading
if I be not deceived" (Arber's reprint, p. 62).

[180] The elegies written on this occasion are counted by the hundred. A
splendid series of engravings were published by T. Laut to perpetuate
the memory of Sidney's funeral, London, 1587

[181] London, 1598, fol.

[182] Sidney left only one daughter who became Countess of Rutland. His
wife remarried twice, first with the Earl of Essex, brother of Penelope,
then with Lord Clanricarde.

[183] "Essayes," London, 1603, fol. Dedication of Book II. This
"Epistle" is followed by two sonnets, one to each lady, again praising
them for their connection with Sidney. The sonnet to Penelope begins

    "Madame, to write of you, and doe you right,
     What meane we, or what meanes to ayde meane might?
     Since HE who admirably did endite,
     Entiteling you perfections heire, joies light,
     Loves life, lifes gemme, vertues court, Heav'ns delight,
     Natures chiefe worke, fair'st booke, his muses spright,
     Heav'n on earth, peerlesse Phoenix, Phoebe bright,
     Yet said he was to seeke, of you to write" (p. 191).

This last line alludes to Astrophel's first sonnet to Stella (quoted
below, p. 233).

[184] "What changes here," &c. "translated out of the 'Diana' of
Montemayor in Spanish. Where Sireno a shepheard pulling out a little of
his mistresse Diana's haire, wrapt about in greene silke, who now had
utterly forsaken him, to the haire hee thus bewayled himselfe."--"The
same Sireon ... holding his mistresse glasse ... thus sung." "Certaine
sonnets written by Sir Philip Sidney, never before printed."

[185] This masque was written in 1578; and was performed before the
Queen when staying with the Earl of Leicester at Wanstead. Sidney wrote
also for festivities of the same kind a "Dialogue betweene two
shepheards, uttered in a pastorall shew at Wilton" (the seat of his
sister the Countess of Pembroke). Both works are to be found in divers
old editions of the "Arcadia" (_e.g._, the eighth, 1633, fol.), which in
fact contain, very nearly, Sidney's complete works.

[186] The "Apologie" written about 1581, which circulated in MS. during
Sidney's life-time, was published only after his death: "An Apologie for
Poetrie, written by the right noble, vertuous and learned Sir Philip
Sidney, Knight," London, 1595, reprinted by Arber, London, 1869.

[187] Arber's reprint, pp. 46, 55, 41, and 40.

[188] "The Complete Poems of Sir Philip Sidney," ed. Grosart, London,
1877, 3 vol. 8vo; "Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel and Stella ... edited
from the folio of 1598," by Alfred Pollard, London, 1888, 8vo.

[189] The "Arcadia" begun in 1580, appeared after Sidney's death: "The
Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia, written by Sir Philippe Sidnei," London,
1590, 4to. Several of the numerous poems inserted in the "Arcadia" are
written in classical metres; for Sidney took part with several of his
contemporaries in the futile effort made in England as in France to
apply to modern languages the rules of ancient prosody. The pages
referred to in the following notes are those of the edition of 1633,
"now the eighth time published with some new additions."

[190] And compared as such to Octavia, sister of Augustus, by Meres in
his "Paladis Tamia," 1598. She helped her brother in translating the
Psalms of David and published various works, one of them being a
translation of one of Garnier's neo-classical tragedies: "The tragedie
of Antonie," written in 1590, printed in 1595, which contains,
conformably to Sidney's taste, messengers, monologues and choruses. It
begins thus in the regular classical style of that time:

    "Since cruel Heav'ns against me obstinate,
     Since all mishappes of the round engin doo
     Conspire my harme: since men, since powers divine,
     Aire, earth, and sea are all injurious:
     And that my queene her selfe, in whom I liv'd
     The idoll of my harte, doth me pursue,
     It's meete I dye."

[191] The "Diana" was turned into English by B. Yong, London, 1598, fol.
Shakespeare derived from one of the stories in Montemayor's romance (the
story of the shepherdess Felismena) a part of the plot of his "Two
Gentlemen of Verona." See above p. 150.

[192] Now in the Louvre.

[193] The taste for these fancies had been handed down from the Middle
Ages; ladies following as pages their own lovers, unknown to them,
abound in the French mediæval literature; one, _e.g._, is to be found in
the "Très chevaleureux Comte d'Artois," a very old tale, of which we
have only a version of the fifteenth century, but which existed long
before, and supplied Boccaccio with the groundwork of his story of
Giletta of Narbonne. From Boccaccio, this tale was transferred by
Paynter to his "Palace of Pleasure," and from this work, by Shakespeare,
to the stage, under the name of "All's well." Sidney's model Montemayor
gives the same part to play, as we have seen, to his pretended
shepherdess Felismena, who follows as his page her lover Don Felix.

[194] See "Les projets de mariage de Jacques V.," by Edmond Bapst,
Secrétaire d'Ambassade, Paris, 1889, 8vo, ch. xxiv. p. 289.

[195] "Memoires of Sir James Melvil," London, 1683, fol., p. 51.

[196] Sonnet 41. See also Sonnet 53.

[197] "Captain Cox his ballads ... or Robert Laneham's Letter, 1575,"
ed. Furnivall, London, 1871, 8vo, p. 49.

[198] Book i. p. 8 (edition of 1633).

[199] Book ii. p. 99.

[200] Book iii. p. 382.

[201] "Life of Sidney," London, 1652, 12mo, p. 18.

[202] Book ii. p. 117.

[203] "Zelmane would have put to her helping hand, but she was taken
with such a quivering, that she thought it was more wisdome to lean her
selfe to a tree and look on" (book ii. p. 138).

[204] Book i. p. 65.

[205] Book ii. p. 95. The daughter's speeches though she believes
Zelmane to be a woman and cannot understand her own feelings are
scarcely less intemperate (book ii. p. 112).

[206] And in order that no doubt may exist, Milton refers his reader to
the page in Sidney and in Dr. Juxon's book of "[Greek: Eikonoklastês],"
"Prose Works," London, 1806, 6 vols., 8vo, vol. ii. p. 407.

[207] "Arcadia," book iii. p. 248. In the "[Greek: Eikôn Basilikê], the
portraiture of his sacred majesty in his solitude and sufferings," 1648,
8vo, towards the end of the book, where are to be found "praiers used by
his majestie in the time of his sufferings, delivered to Dr. Juxon,
bishop of London, immediately before his death," the end of the prayer
of course is altered: "... so that at the last, I may com to thy eternal
kingdom through the merits of thy son our alone Saviour Jesus Christ.

[208] His contemporaries agreed in his belief: "Sir Philip Sidney writ
his immortal poem 'The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia' in prose; and yet
our rarest poet" (F. Meres "Paladis Tamia," 1598).

[209] Pp. 138 and 51.

[210] On this and other occasions Sidney combines alliteration with the
repetition of words. Here is another example: "Is it to be imagined that
Gynecia, a woman, though wicked, yet witty, would have attempted and
atchieved an enterprise no lesse hazzardous than horrible without having
some counsellor in the beginning and some comforter in the performing?"
(book v. p. 466).

[211] Pp. 10, 17, 129, 267, &c. The same curious repetition of words is
sometimes to be noticed in Sidney's poetry:

    "Nor faile my faith in my fayling fate;
     Nor change in change, though change change my state."

("The Smokes of melancholie.")

[212] Pp. 2, 137, 51.

[213] "Là, possible au sortir du combat, un oeillet tout sanglant tombe
de lassitude; là un bouton de rose, euflé du mauvais succès de son
antagoniste, s'épanouit de joie; là le lys, ce colosse entre les fleurs,
ce géant de lait caillé, glorieux de voir ses images triompher au
Louvre, s'élève sur ses compagnes et les regarde de haut en bas." Ice is
for Cyrano: "une lumière endurcie, un jour pétrifié, un solide néant"
("Lettre pour le printemps"; "Lettre à M. le Bret").

[214] Book i. p. 4.

[215] Here is an example among many others. Sidney's portrait, now
belonging to Earl Darnley, bears the following inscription painted on
its canvas: "S^r Phillip Sidney, who writ the Arcadia" (Tudor
Exhibition, 1890).

[216] "The Guls Horne-booke," "Works," ed. Grosart, vol. ii. p. 254.

[217] Act ii. sc. 1, performed 1599, printed 1600. See also in
"Bartholomew fair," performed in 1614, act iv. sc. 2, how Quarlous
chooses the word "Argalus" to try his luck in a love affair.

[218] The British Museum, which does not possess a complete collection,
has editions of 1590, 1598, 1599, 1605, 1613, 1621, 1623, 1627, 1629,
1633, 1638, 1655, 1662, 1674.

[219] From book ii. of the "Arcadia." It resembles the episode of
Gloucester and his sons, and shows the old King of Paphlagonia
dispossessed, become blind and led by his son Leonatus. See
"Shakespeare's Library," ed. Collier and Hazlitt, London, 1875, 6 vol.
8vo, "King Lear."

[220] A philosophical and scientific poem by N. Baxter, dedicated to the
Countess of Pembroke, Lady Mary Wroth, &c., and published in 1606, 4to.

[221] "Theophania or severall modern histories, represented by way of
Romance ... by an English person of quality," London, 1655, 4to.

[222] "The Ile of Guls, as it hath been often played in the blacke
fryars by the children of the revels" (reprinted by Bullen, "Works of
John Day," 1881, 4to.)

[223] "Works," ed. Dyce, vol. vi. All the main incidents of Sidney's
novel are reproduced by Shirley except the quarrel with Cecropia, and as
the romance might very well have ended where Sidney left it, the
dramatist did not go further and did not use any of the continuations.
See also "Zelmane," by W. Mountfort, 1705, "Parthenia, an Arcadian
Drama," 1764, &c.

[224] It was published in 1622. The British Museum possesses editions of
the years 1629, 1632, 1647, 1651, 1656, 1677, 1684, 1687, 1700, 1708,
1726. Grosart (Quarles' "Complete Works," 1876) mentions one more of the
year 1630.

[225] London, 1621, fol. (a very curious engraved title).

[226] Pp. 39 and 519.

[227] Pp. 295, 298.

[228] In Jonson's "Masque of Blackness," 1605, Lady Mary Wroth played
the part of Baryte, and Lady Rich, Sidney's Stella of many years before,
personated Ocyte.

[229] "Spectator," April 12, 1711.

[230] "The Works of the honourable S^r Philip Sidney," London, 1725, 3
vols. 8vo.

[231] "Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia," modernized by Mrs. [D.] Stanley,
London, 1725, fol. It is a very fine volume with wide margins. One of
the "improvements" due to Mrs. Stanley, is the suppression of all the
verses. She did so, she says, at the invitation of her subscribers. The
list of them which prefaces the book contains many Leonoras, who even at
this late period desired to have a copy of the "Arcadia" for "their own
use." In our century an abbreviated edition of the same work was
published by Mr. Hain Friswell, London, 1867, 8vo.

[232] "The Task," bk. iii. l. 514.

[233] Night iii. "Narcissa."

[234] "[Greek: Eikonoklastês]," "Prose Works," 1806, vol. ii. p. 408.

[235] Ed. of 1806, 5 vols., 8vo, "Life of Fulke Greville," vol. ii. p.

[236] "The unfortunate lovers: the history of Argalus and Parthenia,"
London, 12mo. The date, 1700 (?), given for this edition in the British
Museum catalogue, is obviously too early, as the publisher advertises at
the beginning of this volume "Robinson Crusoe," "Jonathan Wild," &c.
There were (not to mention earlier versions of "Argalus," _e.g._, one of
1691) other editions of (about) 1710, 1715, 1750, 1770, 1780, 1788, &c.
These little books had sometimes very long descriptive titles, such as
those Defoe has made us familiar with: "The famous history of heroick
acts of the honour of chivalry, being an abstract of Pembrokes'
'Arcadia,' with many strange and wonderful adventures, the whole being a
compleat series interwoven with the heroick actions of many valiant men,
as kings, princes, and knights, of undoubted fame, whose matchless
deeds, ..." &c., &c. London, 1701, 12mo, "Bound, 1s."

[237] Second day of the second Week, "Oeuvres," Paris, 1611, fol., p.
211. After Sidney, Du Bartas thus addresses the Queen:

    "Claire perle du nort, guerrière domte-Mars,
     Continue à chérir les muses et les arts,
     Et si jamais ces vers peuvent, d'une aile agile,
     Franchissant l'océan voler jusqu'à ton isle,
     Et tomber, fortunez, entre ces blanches mains
     Qui sous un juste frein régissent tant d'humains,
     Voy les d'un oeil bénin et, favorable, pense
     Qu'il faut, pour te louer, avoir ton éloquence."

[238] "L'Arcadie de la Comtesse de Pembrok, mise en nostre langue," by
J. Baudoin; Paris, 1624, three vol. 8vo. It contains fancy portraits of
Sidney and of his sister. The second translation appeared at the
bookseller's, Robert Fouet, in 1625, in the same size; it is ornamented
with pretty engravings. Of its three parts the first was the work of "un
brave gentilhomme," and the two others of Mdlle. Geneviève Chappelain.
It is needless to observe that the great success of D'Urfé's "Astrée"
had much to do with this zeal for translating Sidney's pastoral novel.

Baudoin, who died in 1650, was the translator of various other foreign
works, among which part of the works of Bacon. Sir Kenelm Digby, whose
fondness for romances was great, had in his library a copy of the
"Arcadia" in French; this was Baudoin's translation, and it is one of
the items of the catalogue drawn in view of the sale of his library
("Bibliotheca Digbeiana," London, 1680, 4to). There was, a little later,
a translation in German: "Arcadia ... in unser Hochteutsche Sprach ...
ubersetzt," by Theocritus von Hirschberg [_i.e._, Martin Opitz],
Francfort, 1629, 4to.


    "Par la bouche des bons esprits
     Apollon vous tient à mespris
     Troupe ignorance et trop hardie,
     Car vous prophanez ses beaux dons
     Et faites naistre des chardons
     Au milieu de vostre Arcadie."

[240] And then it was spelt _Chaksper_, "La critique du théâtre
anglois," translated from the English of Collier, Paris, 1715, 8vo. In
the "Journal des Scavans" for the year 1710 it appears under the shape
"Shakees Pear," p. 110.

[241] Thus speaks Clarimond in his harangue against romances:
"L'Angleterre n'a pas manqué d'avoir aussi son Arcadie, laquelle ne nous
a esté montrée que depuis peu par la traduction qui en a esté faite. Je
ne trouve point d'ordre là dedans et il y a beaucoup de choses qui ne me
peuvent satisfaire.... Il est vrai que Sidney, étant mort jeune, a pu
laisser son ouvrage imparfait." In his defence of romances, Philiris
answers: "Quant a l'Arcadie de Sidney, après avoir passé la mer pour
nous venir voir, je suis marry que Clarimond la reçoive avec un si
mauvais compliment. S'il n'entend rien aux amours de Strephon et de
Clajus, il faut qu'il s'en prenne a luy, non pas a l'autheur qui a rendu
son livre l'un des plus beaux du monde. Il y a des discours d'amour et
des discours d'estat si excellens et si délectables que je ne me
lasserois jamais de les lire" ("Le Berger extravagant, où, parmy des
fantaisies amoureuses, l'on void les impertinences des romans et de la
poesie," vol. iii., Paris, 1628, pp. 70 and 134). Sorel's work was
translated into English: "The extravagant shepherd. The anti-romance, or
the history of the shepherd Lysis," by John Davies, of Kidwelly; London,
1653, fol. The book has very curious plates; Davies in his preface is
extremely hard upon Sidney, and heaps ridicule especially on the head of
King Basilius. See _infra_, chap. vii.

[242] Fouquet, however, was very fond of foreign books; the catalogue
(dated 1665) of his library, drawn up after his committal, shows that he
had a fairly large number of English books. He was the earliest known
French possessor of a Shakespeare. The catalogue, it is true, reveals
the fact that he preserved it "in his garret":

"Livres in folio qui se trouvent dans le grenier:
 Comédies de Jazon [_i.e._, Ben Jonson] en anglois,
    2 vol., London, 1640                                _3l._
 Idem, comédies angloises                              _10s._
 Shakespeares comédies angloises                        _1l._
 Fletcher commédies angloises                           _1l._"

(MS. 9,438 français, in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.)

The second in date of the French possessors of copies of Shakespeare
was, strange to say, no less a person than the patron of Racine and
Boileau, the Roi-Soleil himself. Looking over, some time ago, at the
Bibliothèque Nationale, the original manuscript slips made in 1684 by
the royal librarian, Nicolas Clément, for his catalogue of the books
confided to his care, I found one inscribed: "Will. Shakspeare, poeta
Anglicus. Opera poetica, continentia tragoedias, comoedias et
historiolas, Anglice, Londres, Th. Cotes, 1632, fol." And to this,
considering that he had to deal with a thoroughly unknown person,
Clément was careful to add a note that people might be informed what was
to be thought of the poet. This is (so far as now known) the earliest
French allusion to Shakespeare: "Ce poète anglois a l'imagination assès
belle, il pense naturellement; mais ces belles qualitez sont obscurcies
par les ordures qu'il mêle dans ses comédies."

[243] Vol. xv. published in 1731.

[244] "Essai sur la pastorale," prefacing "Estelle."





"There is nothing beside the goodnesse of God, that preserves health so
much as honest mirth, especially mirth used at dinner and supper, and
mirth toward bed.... Therefore, considering this matter, that mirth is
so necessary a thing for man, I published this booke ... to make men
merrie.... Wherefore I doe advertise every man in avoiding pensivenesse,
or too much study or melancholic, to be merrie with honesty in God and
for God, whom I humbly beseech to send us the mirth of heaven.
Amen."[245] Such was the advice attributed to a man whose opinion should
carry weight, for he had been a "doctor of physicke" and had published
with great success a "Breviary of helth" which was a household book in
his time.

The pensive Sir Philip Sidney was, as we have seen, of a very different
turn of mind. He did not live to read the above wise counsels, but he
had had the opinion of his friend Languet on this subject, and that had
been of no avail. His propensity to overthinking is apparent in many
places in his writings, especially in his "Arcadia," where he made so
little use of the comical elements he had himself introduced into it.
The main incident in his book, the assignation given by Zelmane to both
Basilius and Gynecia and the "mistakes of a night" which follow, would
have been from any other pen, only too comical. It is, in fact, the
character it bears in Shirley's drama, and it has the same in the many
modern plays founded on similar mistakes, plays which serve to improve,
according to Andrew Borde's prescription, if not the morals, at least
the health of the "Palais Royal" audiences of to-day. With Sidney, the
comic is a vulgar style; he very rarely risks any jests, a portrait of
a cowardly peasant, or of an injured husband.[246] One of his best
attempts in this style is a character in his masque of the "Lady of
May," the pedant Rombus, who gives quotations which are always wrong and
like Rabelais' scholar, who belongs to "the alme, inclyte and celebrate
academy, which is vocitated Lutetia," is careful to make use of nothing
but quasi-Latin words. In order to relate how he has been unmercifully
whipped by shepherds he declares: "Yet hath not the pulchritude of my
vertues protected me from the contaminating hands of these Plebeians;
for comming, _solummodo_ to have parted their sanguinolent fray, they
yeelded me no more reverence, than if I had beene some _pecorius
asinus_."[247] But that is an easy way to amuse, and, even at that
epoch, not very new. Rabelais had made a better use of it before Sidney,
and after him, without mentioning Shakespeare, Cyrano de Bergerac
furnished more laughable specimens. No phrase of Rombus equals the order
given by the Pedant to his son when sending him to Venice to engage in
commerce: "Since thou hast never desired to drink of the pool
engendered by the hoof of the feathered horse,[248] and as the lyric
harmony of the learned murderer of Python has never inflated thy speech,
try if in merchandise Mercury will lend thee his Caduceus. So may the
turbulent Æolus be as affable to thee as to the peaceful nests of
halcyons. In short, Charlot, thou must go." Sidney kept entirely to
these ineffectual attempts, and had no desire to go further in his
examination of the ridiculous side of ordinary men.

This study was undertaken by several of his contemporaries. One of the
peculiarities of this first awakening of the novel in England, is that
it was nearly complete and produced, if not standard masterpieces, at
least curious examples of nearly all the different kinds of novel with
which later writers have made us familiar. We have seen already how Lyly
depicted courtly life, and tried to use the novel as a vehicle for wise
and philosophical advice; how Greene, Lodge and Sidney busied themselves
with romantic tales; how Greene tried to describe the realities of life
in some of his autobiographical stories. There was something more to do
in this line, and the Elizabethan drama offers innumerable examples of
it; but it is not so well known that in the time of Shakespeare, there
were in circulation, besides romantic and chivalrous tales, regular
realistic novels, the main object of which was to paint to the life
ordinary men and characters. These are the least known, but not the
least remarkable of the attempts made by Shakespeare's contemporaries in
the direction of the novel as we understand it.

Works of this kind took for the most part the shape to which has been
applied the name of _picaresque_. This was, like the pastoral, imported
into England from abroad: in the sixteenth century it shone with
particular brilliance in Spain. The incessant wars of that vast empire
on whose frontiers the sun never set, had favoured the multiplication of
adventurers, to-day great lords, to-morrow beggars; one day dangerous,
another day contemptible or ridiculous. "Such people there are living
and flourishing in the world, Faithless, Hopeless, Charityless: let us
have at them, dear friends, with might and main. Some there are, and
very successful too, mere quacks and fools: and it was to combat and
expose such as those, no doubt that _Laughter_ was made." So wrote in
our time William Thackeray,[249] who seems to have considered that the
age of the _picaro_ had not yet passed away, and that the novelist might
still with advantage turn his attention to him. However that may be the
great time for the rascal, the rogue, the knave, for all those persons
of no particular class whom adventures had left poor and by no means
peaceable, for the _picaro_ in all his varieties, was the sixteenth
century. A whole literature was devoted to describing the fortunes of
these strange persons; Spain gave it its name of _picaresque_ and
spread it abroad but did not altogether invent it. The rogue, who plays
tricks which deserve a hanging, had already filled and enlivened tales
in several languages. Master Reynard, in that romance of the Middle Ages
of which he is the hero, is something like a _picaro_. Another of them
is Til Eulenspiegel, whose adventures related in German furnished, in
1515, the subject of a very popular book;[250] even Panurge could at
need be placed in this great family. Only, with Master Reynard we live
in the world of animals and the romance is allegorical; with Til
Eulenspiegel we find no truth, no probability, merely tricks for tricks'
sake, and how coarse they are! With Panurge, we are distracted from the
_picaro_ by all the philosophic and fantastic digressions of an
extensive tale in which he is not the principal hero. But with the
Spaniards, with Lazarillo de Tormes, Guzman d'Alfarache[251] and the
rest, the _picaro_ holds a place in literature which is peculiarly his
own. Faithless, shameless, if not joyless, the plaything of fortune, by
turn valet, gentleman, beggar, courtier, thief, we follow him into all
societies. From hovel to palace he goes first, opens the doors and shows
us the characters. There is no plot more simple or flexible, none that
lends itself better to the study of manners, of abuses, of social
eccentricities. The only defect is that, in order to abandon himself
with necessary good will to the caprices of Fate, and in order to be
able to penetrate everywhere, the hero has necessarily little conscience
and still less heart; hence the barrenness of the greater part of the
picaresque romances and the weak _rôle_, entirely incidental, reserved
in these works for sentiment.

The success of these Spanish romances was immediate and lasting
throughout Europe. "Lazarillo" and "Guzman" were translated into several
languages, and were greatly appreciated here and abroad. "What! sir,"
says the Burgundian lord in "Francion,"[252] "is it thus that you
cruelly deprive me of the narration of your more amusing adventures? Do
you not know that these commonplace actions are infinitely entertaining,
and that we take delight in listening even to those of scoundrels and
rascals like Guzman d'Alfarache and Lazarillo de Tormes?" "Guzman" had
in France several illustrious translators; the ponderous author of "La
Pucelle" and famous academician, Chapelain, was one of them; another was
Le Sage who, before penning this translation, had revived and doubled
the popularity of the picaresque novel in publishing his "Gil
Blas."[253] In Germany, Grimmelshausen, following the same models, wrote
in the seventeenth century his "Simplicissimus." In England "Guzman" was
several times translated; "Lazarillo" was continually reprinted during
two centuries, and original romances of this kind were published here,
among others, by Thomas Nash, in the sixteenth, by Richard Head in the
seventeenth, by Defoe and Smollett, in the eighteenth century. The
initiative of Nash and his group was all the more important and
meritorious because before them the comic element was greatly wanting in
the English prose romance; amusing stories in the manner of the French
had found translators sometimes, but not imitators; the authors of
Arcadias were especially concerned in depicting noble sentiments, and
the gift of observation possessed by the English people ran the risk of
being for a long time exercised nowhere but on the stage, or in metrical
tales, or in moral essays.


Thomas Nash made one of that group of young men, full of spirit, fire
and imagination, who shone during the first part of Shakespeare's
career, who fancied they could live by their pen, and who died
prematurely and miserably. Nash was about thirty-three years old when he
died in 1600; Marlowe was twenty-nine, Peele thirty, Greene thirty-two.

Nash was born at Lowestoft in 1567:[254] "The head towne in that iland
is Leystofe, in which, bee it knowne to all men, I was borne; though my
father sprung from the Nashes of Herefordshire;" a family that could
"vaunt longer petigrees than patrimonies." He studied at Cambridge, in
St. John's College, "in which house once I tooke up my inne for seven
yere together lacking a quarter, and yet love it still, for it is and
ever was, the sweetest nurse of knowledge in all that university."[255]
"Saint Johns in Cambridge," says he at another place, "at that time was
an universitie within it selfe ... having, as I have hearde grave men of
credite report, more candles light in it everie winter morning before
foure of the clocke than the foure of clocke bell gave stroakes."[256]
Like Greene and Sidney, he imbibed early a passionate taste for
literature; he learnt the classical languages and foreign ones too, at
least French and Italian, and enjoyed much miscellaneous reading; old
English literature, Mandeville, Chaucer, Gower, Skelton, were not
forgotten. Following then the usual course, he seems to have travelled
on the continent, to have visited Italy and Germany,[257] and to have
come home, also according to custom, to rush into literature: by which
word was then habitually understood fame, poverty, quarrels,
imprisonment, and an early death. Not one of these items was wanting in
Nash's career. A prolific and easy writer, he tried his hand at all
kinds of work, composing them rapidly and with visible pleasure, always
ready to laugh at the follies of others, sometimes at his own, not
melancholy like Sidney, nor downcast like Greene. He very rarely alludes
to his miseries without a smile, though he could not help regretting the
better things he might have done if Fortune had not been so adverse,
"had I a ful-sayld gale of prosperity." But "my state is so tost and
weather-beaten, that it hath nowe no anchor-holde left to cleave
unto."[258] Having said thus much, he immediately resumes his cheerful
countenance and in the best of spirits and in perfect good humour goes
on describing the great city of Yarmouth, the metropolis of the Red

With this turn of mind and an inexhaustible fund of wit, satire, and
gaiety, he published numerous pamphlets, threw himself impetuously into
the Martin Marprelate controversy (in which another novelist, Lyly, was
also taking part); sustained a rude warfare against Gabriel Harvey;[259]
wrote a dissertation on social manners: the "Anatomie of absurditie,"
1589; a disquisition with an autobiographical turn, which may be
compared with those Greene has left; "Pierce Penilesse his supplication
to the Divell," 1592 (it had great success, and was even translated into
French, "maimedly translated," says Nash,[260] probably with great
truth); a novel "The unfortunate traveller or the life of Jack Wilton,"
1594, which has most undeservedly remained until now the least known of
his works; a drama, "The Isle of dogs," 1597, which is lost, and for
which the author was sent to prison; a curious and amusing discourse "in
praise of the red herring," 1599; and many other books, pamphlets, and
works of all kinds.[261]

Constantly entangled in quarrels, in such a way sometimes that the
authorities had to interfere--for example, in his war with Gabriel
Harvey, when the destruction of the books of both was ordered--he
preserved to the last his good humour and his taste for people and
authors who knew what it was to laugh. Curiously enough, he combined
this taste with an intense fondness for pure literature and for lyrical
poetry. Rabelais is among his masters, and so is Aretino, "one of the
wittiest knaves that ever God made." Tarleton the jester is among his
friends, and so is Kemp, the Dogberry of Shakespeare's "Much Ado," the
Peter of "Romeo and Juliet," the famous dancer who performed a morris
dance from London to Norwich. And at the same time he bestows with
unbounded enthusiasm heartfelt praises upon Spenser, "heavenly
Spenser"; upon "immortal" Sidney, whose "Astrophel and Stella" he
himself published in 1591; and upon Marlowe, as the author of the
exquisite Hero and Leander poem, "Leander and Hero of whome divine
Musæus sung and a diviner muse then him, Kit Marlow."[262]

With all his fondness for merry authors, Nash can discern true poetry,
and he adores it. If by chance, in the midst of an angry satirical
disquisition, the word poetry comes to his pen, he is suddenly
transformed, he smiles, he melts; nothing is left in him but human
sympathies. "Nor is poetry an art where of there is no use in a man's
whole life but to describe discontented thoughts and youthfull desires,
for there is no study but it dooth illustrate and beautifie.... To them
that demaund what fruites the poets of our time bring forth, or wherein
they are able to approve themselves necessarie to the state, thus I
answere: first and formost, they have cleansed our language from
barbarisme, and made the vulgar sort, here in London, which is the
fountaine whose rivers flowe round about England, to aspire to a richer
puritie of speach than is communicated with the comminalty of any nation
under heaven."[263] When a man like Nash could write in such a strain,
with a passion for vernacular literature scarcely equalled at any time,
there was obviously growing among that "vulgar sort, here in London," a
public for any great man that might appear, a public for William
Shakespeare himself, who was just then beginning to reach celebrity.
Nash does not doubt that it is possible for English to become a
classical language, however rude the garb it first bore. According to
Nash, Surrey was "a prince in content because a poet without peere.
Destinie never defames her selfe but when she lets an excellent poet
die: if there bee any sparke of Adams paradized perfection yet emberd vp
in the breasts of mortall men, certainely God hath bestowed that his
perfectest image on poets." Differing from Francis Bacon and a few of
the grave dignitaries of literature, he has faith in that group of
artists in the first rank of whom he placed heavenly Spenser, who can
well bear comparison with any author of France, Italy, or Spain.
"Neither is he the only swallow of our summer."[264]

This fondness for pure literature, for musical verse and lyrical poetry,
explains how, satirist as he was, Nash had numerous friends whose
feelings towards him were nothing short of tenderness. "Sweet boy,"
"Sweet Tom," are not usual expressions towards a satirist; they are,
however, applied to Nash both by Greene and by Francis Meres, because
there was in Nash's mind something besides the customary rancour of born
satirists, "The man," said Shakespeare,

    "The man that has no music in himself
     Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
     Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
     The motions of his spirit are as dull as night,
     And his affections dark as Erebus;
     Let no such man be trusted."[265]

A very different sort of a man was Nash; his friends found that he could
be "mov'd with concord of sweet sounds," and that he could be trusted.
As he survived Sidney at a time when a few years meant much for English
literature, he could form a far more favourable judgment of the drama
than the well-known one in the "Apologie." The ridiculous performances
noticed by Sidney had not disappeared, but they were not the only ones
to be seen on the stage; dramas of the highest order were being played;
actors rendered them with becoming dignity, and, curiously enough to our
ideas, Nash adds as a special praise that women were excluded from among
their number: "Our players are not as the players beyond sea, a sort of
squirting baudie comedians, that have whores and common curtezans to
play womens parts, and forbeare no immodest speech or unchast action
that may procure laughter; but our sceane is more stately furnisht than
ever it was in the time of Roscius, our representations honorable and
full of gallant resolution, not consisting like theirs of a Pantaloun, a
whore and a Zanie, but of emperours, kings and princes whose true
tragedies, _Sophocleo cothurno_ they do vaunt."[266] In the next
century, women were allowed to replace on the English stage the
newly-shaven young fellows who used to play Juliet and Titania; we are
happy to say that so indecent a practice was due to foreign influence.
We have Prynne's authority for believing that the first women who had
the audacity to appear before a London audience were French. This
happened in 1629 at the Blackfriars theatre. It is true that not long
after, to make up, as it were, for lost time, plays were performed in
England in which all the parts were taken by women; it is not known
whether on that occasion they were French.[267]

Another very important characteristic in Nash is the high ideal he has
shaped for himself of the art of writing, not only in verse, but in
plain prose. At a time when English prose was scarcely acknowledged to
be capable of artistic treatment, and when rules, regulations and
theories had, as is generally believed, very little hold upon writers,
it is interesting to notice that such an author as Nash, with his
stirring style and unbridled pen, with his prison and tavern life,
understood that words had a literary value of their own. They were not
to be taken at random, but chosen with care. His theory may on some
points be disputed, but it is certainly interesting to note that he had
a theory at all. First, he desires that a man shall write in his own
vein and not copy others, especially those who by their vogue and
peculiarities, such as Lyly or Greene, were easiest of reach and the
most tempting to imitate. He strongly defends himself from having ever
done anything of this sort; on the contrary, more than once appeals were
made to him to give judgment in literary matters:

"Is my style like Greenes, or my jeasts like Tarletons?

"Do I talke of any counterfeit birds, or hearbes or stones?... This I
will proudly boast ... that the vaine which I have ... is of my own
begetting and cals no man father in England but myselfe, neither
Euphues, nor Tarlton, nor Greene.

"Not Tarlton nor Greene but have beene contented to let my simple
judgment overrule them in some matters of wit. Euphues I read when I was
a little ape in Cambridge, and I then thought it was _ipse ille_: it may
be excellent still for ought I know, but I lookt not on it this ten
yeare: but to imitate it I abhorre."[268]

His vocabulary is very rich; he has always a variety of words at his
disposal and uses often two or three the better to impress our minds
with the idea in his own. He coins at need new words or fetches them
from classical or foreign languages. He does not do this in an off-hand
way, but on purpose and wilfully; he possessed much of that curious care
for and delight in words which is one of the characteristics of the men
of the Renaissance. To deal with words was in itself a pleasure for
them; they liked to mould, to adopt, to combine, to invent them. Word
painting delighted them; Nash has an extreme fondness for it, and
satirical and comical as he is, he often astonishes us by the poetic
gracefulness of his combinations of words. In this as in many other
particulars he imitates, _longe sequens_, the master he seems to have
admired above others, Rabelais, who, in the tempestuous roll of his
diverse waters, sometimes washes up on to the sand pearls fit to adorn
the crown of any lyrical poet. Fishes appear in Nash's otherwise
unpoetical prose as "the sea's finny freeholders;" the inhabitants of a
port town do not sow corn, "their whole harvest is by sea;" they plough
"the glassy fieldes of Thetis." He has an instinctive hatred for
abstract terms; he wants expressive words, words that shine, that
breathe, that live. Instead of saying that Henry III. _granted_ a
charter and certain privileges in a particular year of his _reign_, he
will write that "he _cheard up their blouds_ with two charters more, and
in Anno 1262 and forty-five of his _courte keeping_, he permitted them
to wall in their towne."[269] The pleasure of replacing stale,
commonplace expressions by rare, picturesque, live ones, and in lieu of
a plain sentence to give an allegorical substitute, has so much
attraction for Nash, that clear-sighted as he is, he cannot always avoid
the ordinary defects of this particular style, defects which he has in
common with many of his contemporaries, not excluding Shakespeare
himself, namely, obscurity and sometimes bad taste.

Another of Nash's tendencies, which he has most decidedly in common with
Rabelais, consists in the use of a number of expressions in the same
sentence for the same idea. Of course one carefully chosen word would
be enough; such a man as Mérimée, to take an example at the other
extremity of the line, picks out the one term he wants, puts it in its
place; word and place fit exactly; there is nothing to add or desire.
Not so Rabelais; not so either his admirer Nash; the newly-awakened
curiosities of the Renaissance were too young as yet, too fresh and
strong upon them, to be easily kept down by rule and reflection.
Literature too was young then, and young things are endowed with eyes
that stare and admire more easily than old ones. When entering their
word-shop, writers of the sixteenth century were fain to take this word,
and this other too, and yet that one more; and when on the threshold,
about to go, they would turn and take two or three again. There are
pages in Rabelais and pages in Nash where most of the important words
are supplemented and fortified with a number of others placed there at
our disposal as alternatives or substitutes, for the pleasure of our
ears and eyes, in case we might like them better. Nash has to express
this very simple idea: Look at Yarmouth, what a fine town it is! Well,
it owes all it is to the red herring. This he formulates in the
following manner with quite a Rabelaisian mixture of native and half
Latin words and iterations for most terms of importance: "Doe but
convert, said hee, the slenderest twinckling reflexe of your eye-sight
to this flinty ringe that engirtes it, these towred walles, port-cullizd
gates, and gorgeous architectures that condecorate and adorne it, and
then perponder of the red herringes priority and prevalence, who is the
onely inexhaustible mine that hath raised and begot all this, and,
minutely, to riper maturity, fosters and cherisheth it."[270]

Some critics of his time abused Nash for the liberties he took with the
vocabulary, especially for his foreign and compound words. He was ready
with this half-serious, half-jocose answer: "To the second rancke of
reprehenders, that complain of my boystrous compound wordes, and ending
my Italionate coyned verbes all in _ize_," such as "tympanize;
tirannize," says he elsewhere; "thus I replie: That no winde that blowes
strong but is boystrous; no speech or wordes of any power or force to
confute or perswade, but must be swelling and boystrous. For the
compounding of my wordes, therein I imitate rich men, who having
gathered store of white single money together, convert a number of those
small little scutes into great peeces of gold, such as double Pistoles
and Portugues. Our English tongue of all languages, most swarmeth with
the single money of monosillables, which are the onely scandall of it.
Bookes written in them and no other seeme like shopkeepers' bookes, that
containe nothing else save halfe-pence, three-farthings, and two-pences.
Therefore what did me I, but having a huge heape of those worth lesse
shreds of small English in my _pia maters_ purse, to make the royaller
shew with them to men's eye, had them to the compounders immediately,
and exchanged them foure into one, and others into more, according to
the Greek, French, Spanish, and Italian."[271]

Nash had a particular literary hatred for mere empty bombast. His love
for high-sounding words with a meaning was not greater than his aversion
for big sounds without one. Even his friend Marlowe does not escape his
censure for having trespassed in this particular beyond the limits of
good taste. Nash wonders "how eloquent our gowned age is growen of
late," and he has nothing but contempt for those "vainglorious
tragoedians who contend not so seriously to excel in action, as to
embowell the clowdes in a speach of comparison; thinking themselves more
than initiated in poets immortalitie, if they but once get Boreas by the
beard and the heavenlie bull by the deaw-lap."[272]

His ideas regarding the art of novel writing are very liberal, and he
accepts as belonging to literature many specimens we should sternly
reject. The one point to remember, however, is that he does not accept
them all; he draws the line somewhere, and in that age when the novel
was in its infancy, there was merit in doing even no more than this. He
is very hard upon the old mediæval romances, which it is true he seems
to have known only through the abridged and degenerate texts circulated
in his time, for the amusement of idle readers. He readily endorses the
moral views of Ascham about them, adding however, what is more
interesting for us, some literary criticism: "What els I pray you, doe
these bable booke-mungers endevor but to repaire the ruinous wals of
Venus court, to restore to the worlde that forgotten legendary licence
of lying, to imitate a fresh the fantasticall dreames of those exiled
Abbie-lubbers [_i.e._, the monks] from whose idle pens proceeded those
worne out impressions of the feigned no where acts of Arthur of the
rounde table, Arthur of litle Brittaine, Sir Tristram, Hewon of
Burdeaux, the Squire of low degree, the four sons of Amon, with
infinite others.... Who is it that reding Bevis of Hampton, can forbeare
laughing, if he marke what scambling shyft he makes to end his verses a
like? I will propound three or foure payre by the way for the readers

    The porter said: By my snout,
    It was Sir Bevis that I let out."[273]

Every reader will agree with Nash, I suppose, in condemning this as

Endowed thus with artistic theories of his own, with an intense love of
literature, with an inborn gaiety and faculty of observation, Nash added
to the collection of novels of the Shakespearean era, not another Bevis
of Hampton, but his "Jack Wilton,"[274] the best specimen of the
picaresque tale in English literature anterior to Defoe. His romance,
written in the form of memoirs, according to the usual rule of the
picaresque, is dedicated to the Earl of Southampton, under whose
patronage Shakespeare had already placed his "Venus and Adonis." It has
the defect of all the romances of the time, in England as elsewhere: it
is incoherent and badly put together. But it contains excellent
fragments, two or three capital portraits of individuals which show
careful observation, and a few solidly constructed scenes like the
vengeance of Cutwolfe which allow us to foresee that one day the
dramatic power of the English genius, worn out doubtless by a too long
career on the stage, instead of dying altogether, will be revived in
the novel.

Nash, after the manner employed by More in his "Utopia," by Greene in
his "Ciceronis amor," and in our age, with a splendour of fame to which
several generations have already borne testimony, by Sir Walter Scott,
introduces historical personages in his fiction. The page Jack Wilton,
the hero of the tale, a little superior by his rank to the ordinary
_picaro_ has, like Gil Blas, little money in his pocket and a few odds
and ends of Latin in his head; he distributes in his conversation the
trite quotations that have remained by him, skilfully enough to persuade
the vulgar that he does not belong to their tribe. "Tendit ad sidera
virtus--Paulo majora canamus--Secundum formam statuti," &c., and from
time to time, when he is greatly elated and wishes to show himself in
all his magnificence, he adopts the elegances and similes proper to the
euphuistic style: "The sparrow for his lecherie liveth but a yeere,"

Wilton is present first with the royal court of England at the siege of
Tournay, under Henry VIII. What my credit was at this court "a number of
my creditors that I coosned can testifie." He lives on the resources of
his wits, playing tricks worthy a whipping if not a hanging on
respectable persons of limited capacity. His most notable victim is the
purveyor of drink or victualler to the camp, a tun-bellied coward, proud
of his pretended noble descent, a Falstaff grown old, whose wit has been
blunted, who has ended by marrying Mistress Quickly, and has himself
become tavern keeper in partnership with her. In old days he drank on
credit: now the good fellows tipple at his expense. Such is the end of
all the Falstaffs and all the Scapins. "This great Lorde, this worthie
Lord," relates the wicked page, "thought no scorne, Lord have mercy upon
us, to have his great velvet breeches larded with the droppings of this
dainty liquor," that is, the cider that he sold; "and yet he was an olde
servitor, a cavelier of an ancient house, as it might appeare by the
armes of his ancestrie, drawen very amiably in chalk, on the in side of
his tent doore."[276]

The scene between the fat, ruddy host, open-mouthed, blear-eyed, and the
frolicking slender page, who delights in his tricks and covers his
victim with jesting compliments, is extremely well described. Wilton
finds his man "counting his barrels, and setting the price in chalke on
the head of everie one of them." He addresses him his "duty verie
devoutly," and tells him he has matters of some secrecy to impart to him
for which a private audience is necessary:

"With me, young Wilton? quoth he, marie and shalt. Bring us a pint of
syder of a fresh tap into the 'Three Cups'[277] here; wash the pot!

"So into a backe roome he lead mee, where after hee had spit on his
finger, and picked off two or three moats of his olde moth eaten velvet
cap, ... he badde me declare my minde, and there upon he dranke to me on
the same."

Jack is careful not to touch at once on the matter in his head: he knows
his man and attacks him first by that vanity of a noble descent which he
possesses in common with Falstaff. Jack has always borne him affection,
"partly for the high discent and linage from whence he sprung, and
partly for the tender care and provident respect he had of poore
soldiers ... he vouchsafed in his own person to be a victualer to the
campe: a rare example of magnificence and courtesie; and diligently
provided, that without farre travel, every man might have for his money
syder and cheese his bellyfull. Nor did he sell his cheese by the way
onely, or his syder by the great, but abast himselfe with his owne hands
to take a shoomakers knife: a homely instrument for such a high
personage to touch, and cut it out equally like a true justiciarie in
little penny-worthes that it would doo a man good for to looke upon. So
likewise of his syder, the pore man might have his moderate draught of
it (as there is moderation in all things) as well for his doit or his
dandiprat as the rich man for his halfe souse or his denier ..."

Jack goes on irrepressible, overflowing; it is his best moment; he does
not want the sport to end too quickly: "Why, you are everie childs
felow: any man that comes under the name of a souldier and a good
fellowe, you will sitte and beare companie to the last pot, yea, and you
take in as good part the homely phrase of: 'Mine host heeres to you,' as
if one saluted you by all the titles of your baronie. These
considerations, I saie, which the world suffers to slip by in the
channell of carelesnes, have moved me in ardent zeale of your welfare,
to forewarne you of some dangers that have beset you and your barrels.

"At the name of dangers hee start up, and bounst with his fist on the
boord so hard, that his tapster overhearing him cried: 'Anon! anon!
sir,' and entering with a bow askt him what he wanted.

"Hee was readie to have stricken his tapster for interrupting him in
attention of this his so much desired relation, but for feare of
displeasing me he moderated his furie, and onely sending him for the
other fresh pint, wild him looke to the barre, and come when he is cald
with a devilles name.

"Well, at his earnest importunitie, after I had moistned my lips, to
make my lie run glib to his journies end, forward I went as followeth
..." And the good apostle stops again; the cider and his own words have
moved him; he is a little fuddled, so is mine host; they both fall to
weeping. The innkeeper is ready to believe anything, and at this moment,
which is the right one the page at length determines to inform him that
in an assembly where he was present, he heard mine host, the purveyor of
the camp, accused of connivance with the enemy, by giving information to
the besieged through letters hidden in his empty barrels. High treason
is suspected! How are these dangerous rumours to be dissipated? There is
only one way of doing it, that is in becoming popular in the army, very
popular; he must make himself beloved by all; he must distribute cider
freely and for a time suppress in his shop the unbecoming custom of

The victualler follows this advice, but soon the trick is discovered;
the page is roundly whipped, but being to the core a true picaroon,
Wilton does not for all that feel his spirit in any way lessened: "Here
let me triumph a while, and ruminate a line or two on the excellence of
my wit!" This is all the sorrow and repentance the whip extracts from

Shakespeare, two years later, fused the two characters into one, caused
the wit of the page to enter the brain of the fat man, and the blending,
animated by his genius, produced the inimitable customer of the "Boar's
Head" tavern.

After various adventures, Wilton returns to London, and struts about in
fine clothes, whose originality he describes with an amusing rush of
language: "I had my feather in my cap as big as a flag in the fore-top;
... my cape cloake of blacke cloth, over-spreading my backe like a
thornbacke or an elephantes eares, ... and in consummation of my
curiositie my hands without gloves, all a mode French." The sense of the
picturesque, the careful observation of the effect of a pose, of a fold
of a garment, were, before Nash, entirely unknown to English novel
writers, and it was not until the eighteenth century, until the time of
Defoe, Fielding, and, above all, Sterne, that the author of "Jack
Wilton" was excelled in this special talent.

Soon the page takes up the course of his adventures again, and travels
anew on the continent. He visits Venice, Florence, Rome, refraining with
a care for which he is to be thanked from trite descriptions. What's the
good of describing the monuments of Rome? he says; everybody knows them:
"he that hath but once drunke with a traveller, talkes of them." Sir
Thomas More contemplating his "Utopia," John of Leyden dragged to the
scaffold, the Earl of Surrey jousting for the fair Geraldine "against
all commers," Francis I., conqueror at Marignan, Erasmus, Aretino, "one
of the wittiest knaves that ever God made," and other personages of the
Renaissance, figure in the narrative. Faithful to the picaresque plot,
Nash conducts his reader into all societies, from the tavern to the
palace, from the haunt of robbers to the papal court, and makes his hero
no better than he should be. At Marignan, Wilton occupies himself
especially in discovering quickly who is likely to be the strongest, in
order to attach himself ardently to the winner. At Venice he runs away
with an Italian lady, deserts his master, the Earl of Surrey, and passes
himself off as the Earl.

All this is too much at length for honest Nash, and feeling not less
displeased than ourselves with the wicked actions of his hero, he
himself interposes at times, not without disadvantage to his plot, and,
in spite of the improbability of placing such remarks in Wilton's mouth,
introduces his own opinions on the persons and incidents of the romance.
This is an effect of the impetuosity of his temperament, blameable
undoubtedly from an artistic point of view. We shall be indulgent to him
if we remember that no author of the time was entirely master of himself
and faithful to his plot. Even Shakespeare rarely resists like
temptation, and when a poetic image comes into his mind, little matters
it to him what character is on the stage; he makes of him a dreamer, a
poet, and lends to him the exquisite language of his own emotion. Let
us remember how the murderers hired to assassinate Edward's children
describe the scene of the murder. They saw "the gentle babes ...
girdling one another

    Within their alabaster innocent arms:
    Their lips were four red roses on a stalk,
    And, in their summer beauty, kiss'd each other."

A very improbable remark, it will be admitted, on the part of the
murderers. But, then, it is Shakespeare who talks aloud, forgetting that
he is supposed not to be there.

Nash, with like heedlessness, often interposes in his own person, and
takes the words out of his page's mouth; and his bold, characteristic
and concise opinions are very curious in the history of manners and
literature. For example, when he describes the war of the Anabaptists
and the execution of John of Leyden, he sums up thus in a short pithy
sentence the current opinion of his day among literary people and men of
the world, on the already formidable sect of the Puritans: "Heare what
it is to be Anabaptists, to bee puritans, to be villaines: you may be
counted illuminate botchers for a while, but your end wil be: Good
people pray for me."

His open admiration of the charity of the Catholics at Rome reveals in
him great independence of mind and much courage: "Yet this I must say to
the shame of us Protestants, if good workes may merit heaven they doo
them, we talke of them. Whether superstition or no makes them
unprofitable servants, that let pulpets decide: but there, you shall
have the bravest Ladies in gownes of beaten gold, washing pilgrimes and
poore souldiours feete, and dooing nothing they and their wayting mayds
all the yeare long, but making shirts and bandes for them against they
come by in distresse."

At Wittenberg, Wilton sees "Acolastus" performed, an old play that was
as popular in England as on the continent,[278] and Nash's severe
criticism on the actors shows how well the difference between good
comedians and common players was understood in London. Nash shared
Shakespeare's opinion of the actors who "out-heroded Herod," and he
would have been of Molière's way of thinking about the performances at
the Hôtel de Bourgogne: "One as if he had beene playning a clay floore,
stampingly troade the stage so harde with his feete, that I thought
verily he had resolved to doe the carpenter that sette it uppe some
utter shame. Another floung his armes lyke cudgelles at a peare tree,
insomuch as it was mightily dreaded that hee woulde strike the candles
that hung above theyr heades out of their sockets, and leave them all
darke." This severe criticism may serve to reassure us about the way in
which the great English dramas were interpreted at that period.[279] And
indeed they deserved that some trouble should be taken with them, for
in London it was the time of "Romeo and Juliet," of "Midsummer Night's
Dream," of "Richard III."

In fact, Nash does not only possess the merit of knowing how to observe
the ridiculous side of human nature, and of portraying in a full light
picturesque figures now worthy of Teniers and now of Callot; some fat
and greasy, others lean and lank; he possesses a thing very rare with
the picaresque school, the faculty of being moved. He seems to have
foreseen the immense field of study which was to be opened later to the
novelist. A distant ancestor of Fielding, as Lyly and Sidney appear to
us to be distant ancestors of Richardson, he understands that a picture
of active life, reproducing only, in the Spanish fashion, scenes of
comedy, is incomplete and departs from reality. The greatest jesters,
the most arrogant, the most venturesome have their days of anguish; no
brow has ever remained unfurrowed from the cradle to the grave, and no
one has been able to live an impassive spectator and not feel his heart
sometimes beat the quicker, nor bow his head in sorrow. Nash caught a
glimpse of this, and therefore mingled serious scenes with his pictures
of comedy, in order that his romance might the more closely resemble
life. Sometimes they are love scenes as when the Earl of Surrey
describes to us his awakening passion for Geraldine, and how he met her
at Hampton Court: "Oh thrice emperiall Hampton Court, Cupids inchaunted
castle, the place where I first sawe _the perfect omnipotence of the
Almightie expressed in mortalitie_!" Sometimes they are tragic scenes
full of blood and tortures. It is true that Nash then falls into
melodrama and conducts his Wilton to a sort of Tour de Nesles where the
Countess Juliana, the Pope's mistress, gives herself up to excesses, by
the side of which those of Margaret of Burgundy are but child's play.
Murders, rapes, and scenes of robbery multiply under cover of the plague
that rages at Rome, and the horrors resulting from the pestilence are
described with a vigour that reminds us of Defoe, without however
equalling him. Carts containing the dead go up and down the streets, and
lugubrious cries resound: "Have you anie dead to burie? Have you anie
dead to burie?" The carts "had manie times of one house their whole

Wilton is accused of murders committed in his house; the rope almost
about his neck, he is saved by an English earl, in exile, who seems to
have been imbued with Ascham's teaching, and who reproaches him for
travelling, especially in Italy, where morals are so corrupt and where
immorality is so dangerous. "Take care," said the earl, "if thou doest
but lend halfe a looke to a Romans or Italians wife, thy porredge shall
bee prepared for thee, and cost thee nothing but thy life." The earl,
who proves to be a rather pedantic nobleman, passes in review all
nations, and proves that they are not worth the trouble of going to see.
Wilton, whose personal experience does not justify such unfavourable
prognostications, especially now that he is out of danger, is wearied by
this talk, and, pretending important business, gives his chattering
benefactor the slip. He is soon punished; he is captured by the Jews of
Rome; his adventures become more and more mysterious and alarming, and
more and more does melodrama invade the story.

Sometimes, however, in the midst of these abominations, Nash's tone
rises; his language becomes eloquent and his emotion infectious; he
shudders himself, horror penetrates him and seizes us; the jests of the
picaroon are very far from our mind, the drama is then as terrible as
with the most passionate romanticists of our century in their best

Few stories of our day are better contrived to give the sense of the
horrible than the story of the vengeance of Cutwolfe related by himself
just as he is going to be tortured. After a prolonged search, Cutwolfe
at last finds his enemy, Esdras of Granada, alone, in his shirt, and far
from all help. The unfortunate man implores Cutwolfe, whose brother he
had killed, to make it impossible for him to do any more harm, to
mutilate him, but to spare his life. His enemy replies: "Though I knewe
God would never have mercie on mee except I had mercie on thee, yet of
thee no mercie would I have.... I tell thee, I would not have undertooke
so much toyle to gaine heaven, as I have done in pursuing thee for
revenge. Divine revenge, of which, as one of the joies above, there is
no fulnes or satietie. Looke how my feete are blistered with following
thee from place to place. I have riven my throat with overstraining it
to curse thee. I have ground my teeth to powder with grating and
grinding them together for anger, when anie hath nam'd thee. My tongue
with vaine threates is bolne, and waxen too big for my mouth....
Entreate not, a miracle maye not reprive thee."

The scene is prolonged. Esdras continues to beg for his life; he will
become the slave, the chattel of his enemy. An idea comes into the mind
of the latter: Sell thy soul to the devil, and I will pardon thee.
Esdras immediately utters horrible blasphemies.

"My joints trembled and quakt," continues Cutwolfe, "with attending
them, my haire stood upright, and my hart was turned wholly to fire....
The veyne in his left hand that is derived from his heart with no faint
blow he pierst, and with the bloud that flowd from it, writ a ful
obligation of his soule to the divell: yea more earnestly he praied unto
God never to forgive his soule than manie Christians doo to save theyr
soules. These fearfull ceremonies brought to an end, I bad him ope his
mouth and gape wide. He did so: as what wil not slaves doo for feare?
Therwith made I no more adoo, but shot him ful into the throat with my
pistol: no more spake he after; so did I shoote him that hee might never
speak after, or repent him. His body being dead lookd as black as a

This conversation and the sight of Cutwolfe's horrible punishment,
recall Jack Wilton to himself. He regrets his irregular life, but not to
the point of refunding the money stolen from the Countess Juliana; rich
as Gil Bias, he can now, like him, take rank among peaceable and settled
folk; he marries his Venetian lady, and returns to the king of England's
army, occupied in giving a grand reception to Francis I. at the Field of
the Cloth of Gold. There ends the most complete career furnished in
England, before Defoe, by a character of fiction.

The primary if not only result of the publication of "Jack Wilton" was,
so far as the author himself was concerned, to place him in new
difficulties. His well-known satirical vein, his constant use and abuse
of allusions, which often render him obscure, were so well known that it
was considered improbable that he had been writing this time with a
merely artistic aim. He had been careful to state in his dedication that
readers would merely find in his book "some reasonable conveyance of
historie and varietie of mirth," and that he was attempting a kind of
writing new to him; it was to no purpose. Readers were on the look-out
for allusions; they took his historical heroes for living people but
thinly disguised, and lined Nash's story with another of their own
invention. The author, who well knew the dangers of such
interpretations, never ceased to protest that, in this work at least,
there was no place for them. When once the public is started upon such a
track, it is no easy matter to make them turn round. Nash had recourse
to his usual revenge, that is, to laugh at his interpreters. "I am
informed," he wrote, shortly after his "Wilton" was printed, "there be
certaine busie wits abrode that seeke to anagrammatize the name of
Wittenberge to one of the Universities of England; that scorn to be
counted honest, plaine meaning men, like their neighbours, for not so
much as out of mutton and potage, but they will construe a meaning of
kings and princes. Let one but name bread, but they will interpret it to
be the town of Bredan in the Low countreyes; if of beere he talkes, then
straight he mockes the countie Beroune in France; if of foule weather or
a shower of raine, he hath relation to some that shall raigne

His remonstrances seem to have had very indifferent success, and Nash,
to our great loss, did not again attempt novel writing. But the vein was
in him, and it constantly reappears in the variety of pamphlets he has
left behind him. Fine scenes of comedy, good portraits of ridiculous
characters to be met in every-day life, amusing anecdotes, nearly all
the elements of a sound comic novel are scattered through his writings.
The familiar portraits of the upstart, of the false politician, of the
inventor of new sects, portraits at which many observers of human nature
in the time of Shakespeare tried their hand, are to be seen in the
gallery Nash painted in his "Pierce Penilesse."[282] Conformably to the
fitness of things, Nash described himself under the name of Pierce,[283]
as Sidney had given his high moral tone, his melancholy and loving soul
to the shepherd Philisides, as Greene had told his own miseries under
the name of poor Roberto. Here is Nash's portrait of the upstart who has
travelled abroad and has brought back from his journey nothing more
valuable than scorn for his own country: "Hee will bee humorous forsooth
and have a broode of fashions by himselfe. Somtimes, because Love
commonly wears the liverie of wit, hee will be an _Inamorato poeta_, and
sonnet a whole quire of paper in praise of Ladie Manibetter, his
yeolowfac'd mistres.... All _Italionato_ is his talke, and his spade
peake [_i.e._, his beard] is as sharpe as if he had been a pioner before
the walls of Roan. Hee will dispise the barbarisme of his owne countrey,
and tell a whole legend of lyes of his travayles unto Constantinople. If
he be challenged to fight ... hee objects that it is not the custome of
the Spaniard or the Germaine to looke backe to everie dog that barks.
You shall see a dapper Jacke that hath beene but once at Deepe, wring
his face round about, as a man would stirre up a mustard pot and talke
English through the teeth, like Jaques Scabdhams, or Monsieur Mingo de
Moustrapo; when, poore slave, he hath but dipt his bread in wylde boares
greace and come home againe, or been bitten by the shinnes by a wolfe;
and saith he hath adventured uppon barricadoes of Gurney or Guingan, and
fought with the yong Guise hand to hand."

Like Ben Jonson, Nash met on his way some Politick Would-Bes that
"thinke to be counted rare politicians and statesmen, by beeing
solitarie: as who should say, I am a wise man,"[284]--"and when I ope my
lips," would have added Shakespeare, "let no dog bark!" He has met
inventors of sects, and has heard of pre-Darwinian "mathematicians" who
doubt the fact that there were no men before Adam and are inclined to
think there are no devils at all. Nash strongly condemns these
inventors and mathematicians, drawing at the same time a curious picture
of the state of confusion in religious matters which was then so
conspicuous in England: "They will set their self love to study to
invent new sects of singularitie, thinking to live when they are dead,
by having their sect called after their names: as Donatists of Donatus,
Arrian[s] of Arrius, and a number more of new faith founders, that have
made England the exchange of innovations and almost as much confusion of
religion in everie quarter, as there was of tongues at the building of
the Tower of Babel ...

"Hence atheists triumph and rejoyce and talke as prophanely of the Bible
as of Bevis of Hampton. I heare say there are mathematicians abroad that
will proove men before Adam; and they are harboured in high places, who
will maintayne to the death that there are no divells."[285]

Scenes of light comedy abound in Nash; they are especially numerous in
his "Lenten Stuff,"[286] a queer little book, his last work, and one
which he seems to have written _con amore_. Never was he in better
humour than when, the year before his death, he betook himself to
singing "the praise of the red herring," Monsieur Herring, Solyman
Herring, Sacrapant Herring, Red Herring of Red Herring hall, Pater
Patriæ, as he is fond of calling him, inventing on each page a new title
for his hero. There is no event in ancient or modern history where he
does not discover that "Cæsarean Charlemaine Herring" has had a part to
play; no person of however mean or exalted rank who has not had to deal
with "Gentleman Jacke Herring." The fishes made him their king, and the
Pope made him a saint. The first time he appeared at the Pope's court
was a great event in Christendom. An English sailor had sold him for
three hundred ducats to the purveyor of the papal kitchen, and
"delivered him the king of fishes, teaching hym to geremumble it, sauce
it, and dresse it, and so sent him away a glad man. All the Pope's
cookes in their white sleeves and linnen aprons met him middle way to
entertaine and receyve the king of fishes, and together by the eares
they went, who shoulde first handle him or touch him. But the clarke of
the kitchin appeased that strife, and would admit none but him selfe to
have the scorching and carbonadoing of it, and he kissed his hands
thrice, and made as many _humblessos_ before he woulde finger it; and,
such obeysances performed, he drest it as he was enjoyned, kneeling on
his knes, and mumbling twenty _Ave Maryes_ to hymselfe, in the
sacrifizing of it on the coales, that his diligent service in the
broyling and combustion of it, both to his kingship and to his
fatherhood might not seeme unmeritorious."[287]

However careful Thomas Nash had been to act according to the views
attributed to Dr. Andrew Borde concerning the cultivation of mirth as a
preservative of health, he reached what this authority calls "the mirth
of heaven," with much more rapidity than might have been expected. His
mirth diet was obviously adulterated and mingled with wrath and sorrow.
He had been born in 1567, and we read about him in a comedy performed
at Cambridge in 1601, these verses which are friendly if not very

[Illustration: "TOM NASH HIS GHOST."]

    "Let all his faultes sleepe with his mournfull chest,
     And there for ever with his ashes rest,
     His style was wittie, though it had some gall,
     Some things he might have mended, so may all,
     Yet this I say, that for a mother witt,
     Few men have ever seen the like of it."[288]

The manner in which his friend Dekker represents him, shortly after,
reaching the Elysian fields, leaves little doubt that his life was
shortened not only by his angry passions, but by sheer want: "Marlow,
Greene and Peele had got under the shades of a large vyne, laughing to
see Nash, that was but newly come to their colledge, still haunted with
the sharpe and satyricall spirit that followed him heere upon earthe:
for Nash inveyed bitterly, as he had wont to do against dryfisted
patrons, accusing them of his untimely death, because if they had given
his Muse that cherishment which she most worthily deserved, hee had fed
to his dying day on fat capons, burnt sack and sugar, and not so
desperately have venturde his life and shortned his dayes by keeping
company with pickle herrings."[289]


Some of Shakespeare's contemporaries attempted to give their readers
"the like" of Nash's wit, and tried their hand either at the picaresque
novel or at the reproduction of scenes taken from ordinary life, of
which Greene also had left some examples. The comic school was far from
equalling the fecundity of its romantic rival; it existed however, and
though absolutely forgotten now, it helped to keep up and improve the
natural gift of observation which belonged to the English race.

One of the most extraordinary ventures ever attempted in the picaresque
style was made by Henry Chettle, another member of the group to which
Greene, Nash, and the others belonged. He was, like Nash himself, a
personal friend of Greene, and published after his death his
"Groats-worth of wit," 1592, for which, as we have seen, he had to offer
in his next pamphlet explanations and apologies, among others, to
Shakespeare. Chettle seems to have followed the literary career usual in
his time; he composed many dramas alone[290] or in collaboration; he was
perpetually borrowing money from the notorious Henslowe, and he was
occasionally lodged in Her Majesty's prisons. In 1595 he published his
"Piers Plainnes seaven yeres prentiship,"[291] in which we find, mingled
together, Sidney's Arcady, Greene's romantic heroes, and the customary
incidents of picaresque novels. The scene is laid in Tempe; there are
Menalcas and Corydons; there are sheep who are poetically invited by
their keeper to eat their grass:

    "Sport on faire flocke at pleasure
     Nip Vestaes flouring treasure."

There is too Piers Plain, now a shepherd but formerly nothing short of a
picaro, who has seen much and has followed many trades, and served many
masters. His companions asked for his story, and he very willingly
agreed to tell them what he had been, "and what the world is," no mean
subject to be sure, and no wonder that he "cravde pardon to sit because
the taske was long, which they willingly graunted." Piers, according to
the picaresque traditions, had been the servant of many masters; he
tells his experience of them in the first person, following also in this
the rules of the picaresque tale. He first introduces us to a swaggering
and cowardly courtier, and plays his part in intrigues and conspiracies.
Then he describes the "vertuous and famous virgin Æliana," Queen of
Crete, who delighted in hunting, and went to the woods "Diana-like." To
be "Diana-like," she dressed as follows:

"On her head she wore a coronet of orientall pearle; on it a chaplet of
variable flowers perfuming the ayre with their divers odors, thence
carelessly descended her amber coloured hair ... Her buskins were richly
wrought like the Delphins spangled cabazines; her quiver was of
unicornes horne, her darts of yvorie; in one hand she helde a boare
speare, the other guided her Barbary jennet, proud by nature, but nowe
more proude in that he carried natures fairest worke, the Easterne
worlds chiefe wonder." In a somewhat similar style Zucchero painted the
Queen, not of Crete, but of England, and when dressed in this fashion,
Her Majesty too, was supposed to be represented "Diana-like."

Of the misrule in Crete, and of the dangers Æliana runs from the
incestuous passions of her uncle, and of her escape through the
providential intervention of Prince Æmilius, we shall say nothing; nor
of the "frolicke common-wealth" established in Thrace, feeling as we do
some sympathy with Corydon, who interrupts the speaker, saying: "Reach
hither thy bottle that we may drinke round; I am sure thou must needes
be dry with talking when I am so a thirst with hearing." Piers passes
from the court to the shop of a dealer in old clothes and an usurer. He
leads a very miserable life, and we have sordid descriptions of scenes
in low life with which Chettle was better acquainted than with the loves
of Æmilius and Æliana. Princes and princesses come in again; there are
revolutions, awful dangers and marvellous deliverances. All ends
happily, and Piers and his hearers agree to meet "at theyr ploughman's
holidaye. Where what happened, if Piers Plainnes please, shall per
adventure be published." This "adventure" never took place. The
incoherent mixture of the picaresque, romantic, and Arcadian tale
resulted in such an unpalatable compound that even novel-readers of
Shakespeare's time objected to a narration of this kind, and did not
trouble Chettle with a demand for its continuation.

His reputation therefore rests mainly on his dramas. One of his most
frequent associates in writing them, and one of the most prolific and
gifted, Thomas Dekker, was also something of a novelist. He has left,
besides a great quantity of plays, a number of pamphlets written very
much in Nash's vein,[292] in which there is some excellent realism,
together with the most amusing and whimsical fancies.[293] His
biography is a mere repetition of his friend's life, and the words:
Henslowe, drama, penury, pamphlets, prison, quarrels, put together, will
give a sufficient idea of the sort of existence led by him as well as by
so many of his associates.[294] He wrote some of his plays alone, many
others with numberless collaborators, such as Chettle, Drayton, Wilson,
Ben Jonson (with whom he afterwards had a violent quarrel), Haughton,
Day, Munday, Hathaway, Middleton, Webster, Heywood, Wentworth Smith,
Massinger, Ford, Rowley, and even others, for the dramatic faculty was
then so very common that any one, so to say, was good enough to act as a
collaborator in writing plays.

He had many traits in common with Nash: the same excellent faculty of
observation, the same gaiety and _entrain_, with powers of his own to
associate it with the most exquisite tenderness and pathos; the same
love for literature and for the poets, for Chaucer, for Spenser, whose
arrival in the Elysian fields he describes in a way to tempt the pencil
of a painter: "Grave Spenser was no sooner entred into this chappell of
Apollo, but these elder fathers of the divine furie gave him a lawrer
and sung his welcome; Chaucer call'd him his sonne and plac'd him at his
right hand. All of them, at a signe given by the whole quire of the
Muses that brought him thither, closing up their lippes in silence, and
turning all their eares for attention to heare him sing out the rest of
Fayrie Queenes prayses."[295]

But a marked difference between Dekker and Nash resulted from the fact
that Dekker had not only a love of poetry, but a poetical faculty of a
high order. He went far beyond the picturesqueness of Nash's
word-painting, and reached in his prose as well as in his verse true
lyrical emotion and pathos; he had, said Lamb, "poetry enough for
anything;"[296] and while Nash's gaiety, true and hearty as it is,
takes often and naturally a bitter satirical turn, Dekker's gaiety
though sometimes bitter, more usually takes a pretty, graceful, and
fanciful turn. "Come, strew apace, strew, strew: in good troth tis a
pitty that these flowers must be trodden under feete as they are like to
be anon ...

[Illustration: "DEKKER HIS DREAM."]

"Pitty? come foole, fling them about lustily; flowers never dye a
sweeter death than when they are smoother'd to death in a Lovers bosome,
or else pave the high wayes over which these pretty, simpering, setting
things call'd brides must trippe."[297]

Intimate literary ties, however, existed between Nash and Dekker; many
passages in the one remind us of similar things in the other, the result
sometimes of actual imitation, sometimes of involuntary reminiscences.
Dekker was well aware of the family likeness between the two, so much so
that we see him once calling Nash's ghost to his assistance, as one from
whom he might most naturally gain help: "And thou into whose soule ...
the raptures of that fierie and inconfinable Italian spirit were
bounteously and boundlesly infused; thou sometimes secretary to Pierce
Pennylesse and master of his requests, ingenious, ingenuous, fluent,
facetious T. Nash, from whose aboundant pen hony flow'd to thy friends,
and mortall aconite to thy enemies; thou that madest the doctor a flat
dunce[298] ... sharpest satyre, luculent poet, elegant orator, get leave
for thy ghost to come from her abiding and to dwell with me

Nash's ghost was most certainly hovering about Dekker when he was
writing the pamphlet from which this apostrophe is taken; it taught him
how to disrobe for our amusement the heroes of antique legends of their
dignified looks and dresses, and place their haloed selves in the open
daylight of the street below our window. With all his admiration for
Marlowe's performance Nash had told, in very ludicrous fashion indeed,
the story of Hero and Leander, associating in a manner unwarranted by
ancient historians their fate with the vicissitudes of Great Yarmouth
and the red herring. In the same way Dekker makes choice of that
exquisite tale of Orpheus which reads so pathetically in the prose of
King Alfred, and he tells it thus:

"Assist mee therefore, thou genius of that ventrous but zealous musicion
of Thrace, Euridice's husband, who being besotted on his wife, of whiche
sin none but ... should be guiltie, went alive with his fiddle at's
backe, to see if he could bail her out of that adamantine prison. The
fees he was to pay for her were jigs and countrey-daunces: he paid them;
the forfeits if he put on yellow stockings and lookt back upon her, was
her everlasting lying there, without bayle or mayne-prize. The loving
coxcomb could not choose but look backe, and so lost her: perhaps hee
did it because he would be rid of her. The morall of which is, that if a
man leave his owne busines and have an eie to his wives dooings, sheele
give him the slip though she runne to the divell for her labour."[300]

Dekker did not write novels properly so called, but his prose works
abound with scenes that seem detached from novels, and that were so well
fitted for that kind of writing that we find them again in the works of
professional novelists of his or of a later time. His "Wonderfull yeare
1603," from which Defoe seems to have taken several hints, abounds in
scenes of this sort.[301] It is a book "wherein is shewed the picture
of London lying sicke of the plague. At the ende of all, like a mery
epilogue to a dull play sundry tales are cut out in sundry fashions of
purpose to shorten the lives of long winters nights that lye watching in
the darke for us." Some of these tales are extremely well told, for
Dekker is more successful in describing the humours than the terrors of
the plague. In one of them we find another copy of the fat hostler so
well described already by Nash and, as it seems, inspired by a
reminiscence of the picture in "Jack Wilton." Dekker's man is not
thinner, cleaner, nor braver than Nash's victualler. He is a country
innkeeper: "a goodly fat burger he was, with a belly arching out like a
beere-barrell, which made his legges, that were thicke and short like
two piles driven under London bridge.... In some corners of [his nose]
there were blewish holes that shone like shelles of mother of pearle ...
other were richly garnisht with rubies, chrisolites, and carbunckles,
which glistered so oriently, that the Hamburgers offered I know not how
many dollars for his companie in an East-Indian voyage, to have stoode a
nightes in the poope of their Admirall, onely to save the charge of

"In conclusion he was an host to be ledde before an Emperour, and though
he were one of the greatest men in all the shire, his bignes made him
not proude, but he humbled himself to speake the base language of a
tapster, and uppon the Londoners first arrival, cried: 'Welcome! a cloth
for this gentleman!' The linnen was spread and furnisht presently with
a new cake and a can, the roome voided, and the guest left, like a
French Lord, attended by no bodie."[302]

This new-comer, freshly arrived from London was flying on account of the
plague; but it so happened that he had himself already contracted the
disease; he was scarcely seated before it grew upon him and he fell
dead. Great was the terror in the inn. The host, the maids, all the
inmates ran from the corpse and left the house; the terror spread in the
borough; no one would even walk near the place.

"At last a tinker came sounding through the towne, mine hosts being the
auncient watring place where he did use to cast anchor. You must
understand he was none of those base rascally tinkers that with a bandog
and a drab at their tayles and a picke staffe at their necks will take a
purse sooner then stop a kettle. No this was a devout tinker, he did
honor God Pan; a musicall tinker, that upon his kettle-drum could play
any countrey-dance you cald for, and upon Holly-dayes had earned money
by it, when no fidler could be heard of. Hee was onely feared when he
stalkt through some towns where bees were, for he strucke so sweetely on
the bottome of his copper instrument that he would emptie whole hives
and leade the swarmes after him, only by the sound."

These two beings, the host and tinker, depicted as vividly by Dekker as
Callot would have drawn them, meet in the open air, and the former
offers the tinker a crown if he undertakes to bury the dead man. The
tinker haggles for better payment and they agree for ten shillings.
"The whole parish had warning of this presently ... therefore ten
shillings were leveyed out of hand, put into a rag, which was tyed to
the ende of a long pole and delivered, in sight of all the parish, who
stood aloofe stopping their noses, by the head boroughs owne selfe in
proper person." Nothing dismayed by this awful array, the tinker sits at
table, drinks deep, takes the corpse on his back and carries it to a
field. Before committing it to the earth he carefully searches its
pockets and empties them; he then makes a parcel of the clothes "and
carrying that at the end of his staffe on his shoulder, with the purse
of seven pounds in his hand, backe againe comes he through the towne,
crying aloud: 'Have you any more Londoners to bury; Hey downe a downe
dery; Have you any more Londoners to bury?' The Hobbinolls running away
from him as if he had beene the dead citizens ghost, and he marching
away from them in all the hast he could, with that song still in his

Another sort of writing congenial to Dekker's temperament, and which
novelists of a later date continued to cultivate after him, are those
series of counsels or praises in which, with due seriousness, the thing
is recommended or praised which ought to be avoided. An example of this
kind of satirical composition is the famous "Quinze joyes de mariage,"
in which the pleasant humours of a young wife are described in such a
way as to deter even a Panurge from marrying. Another example is the
"Grobianus"[303] Latin poem of the German F. Dedekind, which enjoyed an
immense reputation throughout Europe in the sixteenth century; it
contains ironical advice to a gallant with regard to his behaviour so
that in any given circumstances he may be as objectionable and improper
as possible.

Dekker translated both works into English, but with many alterations, so
numerous indeed, especially in the last, that his book may be considered
almost original.[304] He called it "The Guls Horne-booke," or alphabet.
He gives in it a lively description of the humours of gallants in the
time of Shakespeare, of the places they used to frequent, and the
company they liked to meet. Grobianism differs from the picaresque tale
by the absence of a story connecting the various scenes, but it
resembles it in the opportunity it affords for describing a variety of
characters, humours, and places. In the same way as we follow the picaro
in the houses of his several masters, we here follow the gallant from
his rooms to his ordinary, and from St. Paul's to the play. We climb
with him to the top of the cathedral, we show our new garments in the
walks, meet courtiers, soldiers and poets at dinner, stroll at night in
the dark streets of the city and fall in with the watch. Here, again,
Dekker paints from life scenes with which he was familiar, and we have
but to follow his footsteps to become acquainted with the haunts of the
Bohemians of his time, and of the great men too, of Jonson and
Shakespeare themselves.

The scene at the theatre is the most original and lively of all. The
serio-comic advice to the gallant how he "should behave himself in a
playhouse"[305] is a perfect picture of what was daily taking place, be
the play Shakespeare's "Hamlet" or Dekker's "Patient Grissil."[306] Of
course the gallant must sit on the stage and "on the very rushes," which
in the theatre, and also in palaces and houses, continued as in the
Middle Ages to serve for carpets;[307] he will not care for the
disapprobation of the groundlings, but must plant himself valiantly,
"beating downe the mewes and hisses of opposed rascality.

"For do but cast up a reckoning; what large commings-in are pursd up by
sitting on the stage? First a conspicuous eminence is gotten; by which
meanes, the best and most essencial parts of a gallant (good cloathes, a
proportionable legge, white hand, the Persian lock, and a tollerable
beard), are perfectly revealed."

Of course you must choose with the greatest care your time to come in.
"Present not your selfe on the stage especially at a new play until the
quaking Prologue hath, by rubbing, got [colour] into his cheekes and is
ready to give the trumpets their cue that hees upon point to enter; for
then it is time, as though you were one of the properties, or that you
dropt out of ye hangings, to creepe from behind the arras, with your
tripos or three-footed stoole in one hand and a teston (_i.e._, six
pence) mounted betweene a forefinger and a thumbe in the other; for if
you should bestow your person upon the vulgar when the belly of the
house is but halfe full, your apparell is quite eaten up, the fashion
lost ..."[308]

When the play is well begun, there is also a special behaviour to
observe: "It shall crowne you with rich commendation to laugh alowd in
the middest of the most serious and saddest scene of the terriblest
tragedy; and to let that clapper your tongue, be tost so high that all
the house may ring of it: your lords use it; your knights are apes to
the lords, and do so too ... be thou a beagle to them all.... [At]
first, all the eyes in the galleries will leave walking after the
players and onely follow you; the simplest dolt in the house snatches up
your name, and when he meetes you in the streetes, ... heele cry: 'hees
such a gallant.' ... Secondly you publish your temperance to the world,
in that you seeme not to resort thither to taste vaine pleasures with a
hungrie appetite; but only as a gentleman to spend a foolish houre or
two, because you can doe nothing else; thirdly you mightily dis relish
the audience and disgrace the author." Perhaps the next time he will be
wise enough to offer you a dedication sonnet "onely to stop your mouth."

The getting away must not be less carefully performed than the getting
in. If you owe the author a particular grudge, mind you leave just in
the middle of his play: "bee it Pastoral or Comedy, Morall or Tragedie,
you rise with a screwd and discontented face from your stoole to be
gone: no matter whether the scenes be good or no; the better they are,
the worse you distast them. And being on your feet, sneake not away like
a coward; but salute all your gentle acquaintance, that are spred either
on the rushes or on stooles about you; and draw what troope you can from
the stage after you. The mimicks are beholden to you for allowing them
elbow roome; their poet cries perhaps, 'A pox go with you'; but care not
for that; there is no musick without frets."

But the rain outside may deprive you of the benefits of this carefully
laid plan. In that case, and this is the last piece of advice, here is
what you must do: "If either the company or indisposition of the weather
binde you to sit it out, my counsell is then that you turne plain ape:
take up a rush, and tickle the earnest eares of your fellow gallants to
make other fooles fall a laughing; mewe at passionate speeches; blare
at merrie; find fault with the musicke; whew at the children's action,
whistle at the songs."

Dekker knew only too well such gallants as those he describes, and if
his picture of a theatre in Shakespeare's time seems now somewhat
exaggerated, if we cannot conceive "Hamlet" or "Romeo" performed while
gallants on the stage tickle each other's ears with rushes picked from
the stage boards, let us remember as a confirmation of his accuracy that
such customs were prevalent, not only in England, but in Europe. In
France especially, even in the time of the Grand Roi, when Molière and
Corneille were shining in all their glory, we have Molière's
corroborating evidence that these customs had not been abolished.
Molière was annoyed by the same malpractices as Shakespeare, only he did
not, like Shakespeare, who never complained of anything or anybody, keep
his displeasure to himself. He recurs in more than one of his plays to
the indecent behaviour of marquesses sitting on the stage, and there is
scarcely one of the particulars mentioned by Dekker which does not find
place in Molière's angry pictures of ill-bred gallants:

"The actors began; every one kept silence; when ... a man with large
rolls entered abruptly crying out: 'Hulloa, there, a seat directly!' and
disturbing the audience with his uproar, interrupted the play in its
finest passage....

"Whilst I was shrugging my shoulders, the actors attempted to continue
their parts. But the man made a fresh disturbance in seating himself,
and again crossing the stage with long strides, although he might have
been quite comfortable at the wings, he planted his chair full in front,
and, defying the audience with his broad back, hid the actors from
three-fourths of the pit.

"A murmur arose, at which any one else would have felt ashamed; but he,
firm and resolute, took no notice of it, and would have remained just as
he had placed himself if, to my misfortune, he had not cast his eyes on

"He began asking me a hundred frivolous questions, raising his voice
higher than the actors. Every one was cursing him; and in order to check
him, I said, 'I should like to listen to the play.'

"'Hast thou not seen it, marquis? Oh! on my soul I think it very funny,
and I am no fool in those matters. I know the canons of perfection and
Corneille reads me all that he writes.'

"Thereupon he gave me a summary of the piece informing me, scene after
scene, of what was about to happen; and when we came to any lines which
he knew by heart, he recited them aloud before the actor could say them.
It was in vain for me to resist; he continued his recitations, and
towards the end rose a good while before the rest. For those fashionable
fellows, in order to behave gallantly, especially avoid to listen to the

Grobianism and the picaresque novel, long survived both Nash and Dekker.
English, Spanish, and French rogues, invented or imitated, swarmed in
the English literature of the seventeenth century, without, however, in
any case reaching the level attained by "Jack Wilton." Both kinds of
writing had to wait for the time of Swift and Defoe to reach their
highest point. Defoe has left the best examples of the picaresque tale
extant in English literature, and Swift revived Grobianism with
unparalleled excellence in his "Directions to Servants" and his
"Complete Collection of genteel and ingenious conversation, according to
the most polite mode and method now used at court and in the best
companies of England."[310]

As for the "Quinze joyes," turned also into English by Dekker, its
popularity was equally great in England; a new and different translation
was published in the seventeenth century and had several editions. It
was prefaced with a note "to the Reader," in which the satirical aims of
the author in this study of woman's foibles is accentuated by a tone of
pretended praise, savouring of Grobianism and anticipating the sort of
ridicule which was to be relished by Pope and the critics of Queen
Anne's time. "This treatise ... will at least shake, if not totally
explode, that common opinion, viz., that women are the worst piece of
the Hexameron creation.... This is the composition of some amorous
person, who, animated with the same spirit and affection as I am, hath
undertaken, and judged it his duty too, to satisfie you, and he hopes so
far as to work upon you a persuasion that the modesty, bashfulness,
debonaireté and civility, together with all qualifications that adorn
and beautifie the soul, are as exemplarily eminent in women of this age
as ever they were in any of the former; and instruct you to set a value
on their actions as the best creatures in the worst of times, whose
vertue must needs shine with the greater lustre, being subject to the
vain assaults and ineffectual temptations of men grown old, like the
times, in wickednes, malice and revenge."[311]

[Illustration: CAPRICORNUS.]


[245] "The first and best part of Scoggins Iests ... being a
preservative against melancholy, gathered by Andrew Boord," London,
1626, 8vo. Many of the jests, tricks, and pranks recounted here are to
be found in other collections of such anecdotes, English as well as
foreign. For example, the coarse story explaining "how the French king
had Scogin into his house of office, and shewed him the King of
England's picture" appears in Rabelais, where however the two kings play
exactly opposite parts. Andrew Borde died in 1549.

[246] One of the few passages which would raise a laugh even to-day is
the rapturous speech with which good Basilius greets the morning after
his "mistakes of a night": "Should fancy of marriage keep me from this
paradise? or opinion of I know not what promise bind me from paying the
right duties to nature and affection? O who would have thought there
could have been such difference betwixt women? Be jealous no more O
Gynecia, but yield to the preheminence of more excellent gifts," &c.
(bk. iv. p. 410). See also the ridiculous fight between Clinias and
Dametas pp. 276 _et seq._; and a story told in verse, bk. iii. p. 390.
Molière built his "Ecole des maris" upon a similar plot.

[247] "Arcadia," ed. of 1633, p. 619.

[248] That is to drink of the fountain of Hippocrene, to write verse.
"Puis donc que tu n'as jamais voulu t'abreuver aux marais fils de
l'ongle du cheval emplumé et que la lyrique harmonie du savant meurtrier
de Python n'a jamais enflé ta parole, essaye si dans la marchandise
Mercure te prètera son Caducée. Ainsi le turbulent Eole te soit aussi
affable qu'aux pacifiques nids des alcyons. Enfin, Charlot, il faut
partir" ("Pédant joué," 1654).

[249] "Vanity Fair," chap. viii.

[250] Many of his adventures are made up of old anecdotes which were
current in Europe during the Middle Ages, and which the success of
Eulenspiegel again put into circulation. The very coarse anecdote
connected with the death of Til (chap. xcii.) is the subject of
Chaucer's Sompnoures tale. The story in chapter lxxx. of the innkeeper
who asks payment for the smell of his dishes, and who is paid with a
tinkling of coins, is also very old, and was afterwards made use of by
Rabelais. "Til" was very popular in France and in England. It was
translated in both countries; in the latter one, under the title: "Here
beginneth a merye Jest of a man that was called Howleglas," London,
Copland, [1528?], 4to.

[251] "Guzman de Alfarache," by Mateo Aleman appeared in 1598 or 1599.
The first edition of "Lazarillo de Tormes" was published a few years
before the middle of the sixteenth century. All efforts to ascertain its
authorship have proved fruitless. See Alfred Morel Fatio "Lazarille de
Tormes," Paris, 1886, Introduction. As to the antiquity of some of the
adventures in "Lazarillo," see _Athenæum_, Dec. 29, 1888, p. 883.

[252] "Histoire comique de Francion," par M. de Moulinet (_i.e._,
Charles Sorel), Paris, 1622 (?), 8vo. It was translated into English "by
a person of honour," probably Robert Loveday: "The comical history of
Francion," London, 1655, fol.

[253] "Le Gueux ou la vie de Guzman d'Alfarache, image de la vie
humaine," translated by J. Chapelain, Lyon, 1630. Le Sage published his
"Gil Blas" in 1715, and his translation of "Guzman" in 1732. "Guzman"
was several times translated into English, once by J. Mabbe: "The Rogue,
or the Life of Guzman de Alfarache," London, 1623, fol.

[254] He was baptized in November of that year. The discovery is due to
Dr. Grosart. Memorial Introduction to the "Works" of Nash, vol. i. p.

[255] "The Complete Works of Thomas Nashe ... for the first time
collected," ed. Grosart, London, 1883-4, 6 vol. 4to; "Nashe's lenten
stuffe," 1599, vol. v. p. 277; "Have with you to Saffron Walden," vol.
ii. p. 256; "Lenten Stuffe," v. p. 241.

[256] Nash's letter "to the Gentlemen Students," prefacing his friend
Greene's "Menaphon," 1589.

[257] This has been doubted, for the statement was considered mainly to
rest upon the dedication of "An almond for a parrat," and Nash's
authorship of this work is no longer accepted (Grosart, i. p. 4). But as
good evidence, at least, for Nash's probable travels, is derived from
his "Jack Wilton," in which more than one statement comes, to all
appearance, from an actual eye-witness.

[258] "Lenten Stuffe," "Works," vol. v. p. 204. The first time he
appeared in print was when he prefaced with the above-mentioned letter
Greene's "Menaphon" in 1589.

[259] In his "Quip for an upstart courtier," 1592, Greene had spoken
irreverently of Harvey's low extraction. Harvey heaped abuse upon
Greene, being rather encouraged than stopped by the death of his
opponent. In the same year, Nash, with great courage, rushed to the
rescue of his friend and of his memory; when this was done he continued
the war on his own account with great success, till the authorities
interfered and stopped both combatants.

[260] "My Piers Penilesse ... being above two yeres since maimedly
translated into the French tongue." "Have with you to Saffron Walden,"
"Works," vol. iii. p. 47.

[261] His principal writings are distributed as follows in Dr. Grosart's
edition:--I. "Anatomie of Absurditie," 1589; various Martin Marprelate
tractates. II. "Pierce Penilesse," 1592; "Strange newes," 1593, and
other writings against Harvey. III. "Have with you to Saffron Walden,"
1596 (against Harvey); "The terrors of the night or a discourse of
apparitions," 1594, in which Nash on many points anticipates Defoe. IV.
"Christ's tears over Jerusalem," 1593, a long pious discourse. V. "The
unfortunate traveller," 1594; "Lenten Stuffe," 1599. VI. "The tragedie
of Dido," 1594 (in collaboration with Marlowe); "Summers last will and
testament," a play by Nash alone.

His "Isle of dogs" is lost, having been suppressed as soon as performed.
The troubles Nash got into on account of this unlucky play are thus
commemorated by him: "The straunge turning of the Ile of Dogs from a
commedie to a tragedie two summers past, with the troublesome stir which
hapned about it is a generall rumour that hath filled all England, and
such a heavie crosse laide upon me as had well neere confounded mee."
("Lenten Stuffe," vol. v. p. 199).

[262] "The unfortunate Traveller," vol. v. p. 93; "Lenten Stuffe," vol.
v. p. 262.

[263] "Pierce Penilesse," "Works," vol. ii. pp. 60, 61.

[264] "The unfortunate Traveller, or the Life of Jack Wilton," "Works,"
vol. v. p. 60, and Prefatory letter to Greene's "Menaphon."

[265] Greene's "Groats-worth," "Works," vol. i. p. 143; Mere's "Paladis
Tamia"; "Merchant of Venice," act v. sc. 1.

[266] "Pierce Penilesse," "Works," vol. ii. p. 92.

[267] "Histrio-mastix," 1633, 4to, p. 215. Coryat reports on hearsay
(1608) that women had already appeared at that date on the English
stage; but he is careful to note that he had never personally witnessed
this extraordinary phenomenon; and he adds that he was greatly
astonished to see in Italy women perform their parts in a play "with as
good a grace, action and gesture and whatsoever convenient for a player
as ever I saw any masculine actor" ("Crudities," London, 1776, vol. ii.
p. 16).

[268] "Strange newes of the intercepting certaine letters," 1592,
"Works," vol ii. p. 267.

[269] "Lenten Stuffe," vol. v. pp. 226, 244, 216.

[270] "Works," vol. v. p. 231.

[271] Preface to "Christ's teares," edition of 1594, "Works," vol. iv.
p. 6.

[272] Prefatory letter to Greene's "Menaphon."

[273] "Anatomie of Absurditie," 1589, "Works," vol. i. p. 37.

[274] "The unfortunate Traveller, or the Life of Jack Wilton," 1594,
"Works," vol. v.

[275] In these cases, Nash, or rather his hero (for Nash does not
himself make use of this language which he in no way admired, but only
puts it into the mouth of his self-confident good-for-nothing as the
finishing touch to his portrait), adopts Lyly's style entirely,
alliteration and all: "The sparrow for his lecherie liveth but a yeere,
he for his trecherie was turned on the toe."

[276] "Works," vol. v. pp. 15 _et seq._

[277] Name of a room in the tavern.

[278] It was translated into English from the Latin by John Palsgrave:
"Acolastus," London, 1540, 4to. As to this play and its author,
Gulielmus Gnapheus (Fullonius) of the Hague, who had it represented in
1529, see C. H. Herford, "Studies in the Literary Relations of England
and Germany in the Sixteenth Century," Cambridge, 1886, 8vo, pp. 84 _et
seq._, 108 _et seq._

[279] _Ibid._ p. 71. _Cf._ "Returne from Parnassus," 1601, ed. Macray,
Oxford, 1886, act iv. sc. 3, pp. 138 _et seq._, where the rules of good
acting are also under discussion. Shakespeare's opinions on the same are
well known ("Hamlet," act iii. sc. 2, A.D. 1602).

[280] "Works," vol. v. p. 183.

[281] "Christs teares" (preface of the edition of 1594), "Works," vol.
iv. p. 5. He recurs again to the same topic in his "Lenten Stuffe"
(1599), and complains that when he talks of rushes it is taken to mean
Russia, &c.

[282] "Pierce Penilesse his supplication to the Divell" (1592), "Works,"
vol. ii.

[283] Nash speaks of himself as being Pierce: "This is a predestinate
fit place for Pierse Pennilesse to set up his staff on." "Lenten
Stuffe," "Works," vol. v p. 201.

[284] "Works," vol. ii. _Cf._ Ben Jonson: "Sir Politick (speaking to

    "First for your garb, it must be grave and serious,
     Very reserv'd and lock'd; not tell a secret
     On any terms, not to your father; scarce
     A fable, but with caution" ("The Fox," act iv. sc. 1).

[285] "Works," vol. ii.

[286] "Nashe's Lenten Stuffe, containing the description ... of Great
Yarmouth ... with a ... praise of the Red Herring," 1599, "Works," vol.

[287] "Lenten Stuffe," vol. v. p. 280.

[288] "The Returne from Pernassus," ed. W. D. Macray, Oxford, 1886, p.

[289] "A Knights Conjuring," 1607, "Works," ed. Grosart, vol. v. p. xx.

[290] Only one of this sort has been preserved: "The tragedy of Hoffman
or a revenge for a father," published in 1631. Chettle died about 1607.

[291] London, 1595, 4to. It has never been reprinted; only one copy
belonging to the Bodleian Library is known to exist.

[292] Some also are in Greene's and Harman's vein; for example, his
"Belman of London," 1608, and his "Lanthorne and candle-light," 1608, in
which he describes, with no less success than his predecessors, "the
most notorious villanies that are now practised in the kingdome."

[293] "Dramatic Works, now first collected," London (Pearson), 1873, 4
vol. 8vo; "Non-Dramatic Works," ed. Grosart, London, 1884, 5 vol. 4to,
which non-dramatic works are the following:

I. "Canaans Calamite, Jerusalem's misery," 1611 (a poem on the siege and
destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans); "The wonderfull yeare 1603" (on
the plague of London); "The Batchelars banquet," 1603 (an adaptation of
the "Quinze joyes de mariage"). II. "The seven deadly sinnes of London
... bringing the plague with them," 1606; "Newes from Hell," 1606,
shortly after reprinted as "A Knights conjuring"; "The double P. P., a
papist in armes," 1606 (in verse); "The Guls Horne-booke," 1609; "Jests
to make you merie," 1607. III. "Dekker his dreame," 1620 (in verse);
"The Belman of London," 1608; "Lanthorne and candle-light," 1609; "A
strange horse race, at the end of which comes in the catch-poles
masque," 1613. IV. "The dead tearme or ... a dialogue betweene the two
cityes of London and Westminster," 1608; "Worke for armourers ... open
warres likely to happin," 1609; "The ravens Almanacke, foretelling of a
plague," &c., 1609; "A rod for run-awayes, in which ... they may behold
many fearefull Judgements of God ... expressed in many dreadfull
examples of sudden death," 1625. V. "Foure birdes of Noahs Arke," 1613;
"The pleasant comodie of Patient Grissil," 1603 (with Chettle and

[294] Only there was this notable difference, he died old, at about
seventy years of age, probably in 1641.

[295] "A Knights conjuring," 1607. In the same happy retreat Dekker,
gives a place to Watson, Kyd, Marlowe, Greene, Peele, Nash, Chettle, who
comes in "sweating and blowing, by reason of his fatness" ("Non-Dramatic
Works," vol. v. p. xx.).

[296] "Notes on the Elizabethan Dramatists"; "Philip Massinger; Thomas

[297] "Satiro-mastix or the untrussing of the humorous poet," 1602.
"Dramatic Works" vol. i. p. 186. This is the play Dekker wrote as a
revenge for Ben Jonson's "Poetaster," 1601, in which he was himself
ridiculed under the name of Demetrius.

[298] _I.e._, Gabriel Harvey, Nash's obstinate adversary.

[299] "Newes from Hell," "Non-Dramatic Works," vol. ii. pp. 102-103.

[300] "Newes from Hell," "Non-Dramatic Works," vol. ii. p. 101.

[301] "Non-Dramatic Works," vol. i. _Cf._ Defoe's "Journal of the plague
year ... 1665," London, 1722.

[302] "Non-Dramatic Works," vol. i. pp. 138 _et seq._

[303] "Grobianus. De morum simplicitate, libri duo. In gratiam omnium
rusticitatem amantium conscripti," Francfort, 1549, 8vo. It was
translated into English by "R. F.," a little before Dekker adapted it:
"The schoole of slovenrie: or Cato turned wrong side outward ... to the
use of all English Christendome," London, 1605, 4to. In the same
category of works may be placed Erasmus's famous: "Moriae Encomium,"
Antwerp, 1512, 4to, translated by Sir T. Chaloner: "The Praise of
Folie," London, 1549, 4to. Many scenes in the comedies of the period are
written in a style akin to Grobianism. They are especially to be found
in Ben Jonson; see, for example, his satire of courtiers in "Cynthia's
revels," act iii. sc. 1 and 3, &c.; note how their elegancies of speech
are mostly derived from plays and novels.

[304] "The Bachelars banquet ... pleasantly discoursing the various
humours of women," 1603; "The Guls Horne-booke," 1609; "Non-Dramatic
Works," vols. i. and ii.

[305] "Non-Dramatic Works," vol. ii. pp. 246 _et seq._

[306] 1603; with Chettle and Haughton.

[307] A scene at court. "_Amorphus_ (to the prentice courtier Asotus):
If you had but so far gathered your spirits to you as to have taken up a
rush when you were out, and wagged it thus, or cleansed your teeth with
it; or but turn'd aside ..." &c. Ben Jonson, "Cynthia's Revels," act
iii. sc. 1.

[308] _Cf._ Ben Jonson: "Why, throw yourself in state on the stage, as
other gentlemen use, sir."--"Away, wag; what, would'st thou make an
implement of me? 'Slid, the boy takes me for a piece of perspective, I
hold my life, or some silk curtain, come to hang the stage here"
("Cynthia's Revels," Induction).

[309] "Les Facheux," act i. sc. 1 (Van Laun's translation, vol. ii. p.
97); _cf._ "Critique de l'Ecole des Femmes," sc. vi.

[310] The connection of Swift with Grobianism was noticed in his time,
and a new translation of Dedekind's poem, "Grobianus or the compleat
Booby," 1739, was dedicated by Roger Bull "to the Rev. Dr. Jonathan
Swift, ... who first introduced into these kingdoms ... an ironical
manner of writing, to the discouragement of vice, ill-manners and
folly." To come to even nearer times, Flaubert's "Bouvart et Pecuchet"
may be taken as a branch of Grobianism.

[311] "The fifteen comforts of rash and inconsiderate marriage ... done
out of French," London, 1694, 12mo, fourth edition.





In the works of Nash and his imitators, the different parts are badly
dovetailed; the novelist is incoherent and incomplete; the fault lies in
some degree with the picaresque form itself. Nash, however, pointed out
the right road, the road that was to lead to the true novel. He was the
first among his compatriots to endeavour to relate in prose a
long-sustained story, having for its chief concern: the truth. He
leaves to his real heroes, Surrey, More, Erasmus, Aretino, their
historical character, and he gives to his fictitious ones caprices and
qualities which make of them distinct and living beings like those of
every-day life. He gives us no more languid shepherds, no more romantic
disguises, no more pretended warriors whose helmets cover, as in
Ariosto, a woman's fair locks. His style is flexible, animated, suited
to the circumstances, free from those ornaments of language so sought
after in his time; no one, Ben Jonson excepted, possessed at that epoch,
in so great a degree as himself, a love of the honest truth. With Nash,
then, the novel of real life, whose invention in England is generally
attributed to Defoe, begins. To connect Defoe with the past of English
literature, we must get over the whole of the seventeenth century and go
back to "Jack Wilton," the worthy brother of "Roxana," "Moll Flanders,"
and "Colonel Jack."

But shepherds were not yet silenced, nor had romantic heroes spoken
their last. On the contrary, their best time was still to come; in the
seventeenth century they resumed their hardly interrupted speeches,
conversations, correspondence, exploits and adventures, and flourished
mightily in the world. We come to the time of the heroic romance and
heroic drama. The main originality of the romance literature in England
during this century was the increase and over-refinement of heroism in
works of fiction. For many among the reading public of that age,
Shakespeare was barbarous and Racine tame; but Scudéry was the "greatest
wit" that ever lived.

This kind of writing was thus partially renovated through certain
superadded characteristics, the part allotted to "heroism" being the
foremost; but the groundwork was as old as the very origin of the
nation. For this new species of novel was mainly a development of the
old chivalrous romances of early and mediæval times. These romances, as
we know, had continued in Elizabethan times to enjoy some reputation,
and under an altered shape to have a public of their own. Even in the
seventeenth century they had not passed entirely out of sight.
Palmerins, Dons Belianis and Esplandians continued to be written,
translated, adapted, paraphrased, printed, purchased, and read. There
was still a brisk trade in this sort of literature. People continued to
read "the auncient, famous and honourable history of Amadis de Gaule,
discoursing the adventures loves and fortunes of many princes;"[312] or
again "the famous history of Hercules of Greece, with the manner of his
encountering and overcoming serpents, lyons, monsters, giants, tyrants
and powerful armies."[313] Guy of Warwick, our friend of former
chapters, still carried on, with undaunted energy, his manifold exploits
throughout the world. Only, as time passes, we find that he has become
civilized; he has taken trouble to improve his mind, he has read books;
he has even gone to the play. And his choice shows him a man of taste
and feeling; a man with a memory too; for reaching a cemetery somewhere
in his travels he "took up a worm-eaten skull, which he thus addressed:
Perhaps thou wert a prince or a mighty monarch, a King, a Duke or a
Lord. But the King and the beggar must all return to the earth; and
therefore man hath need to remember his dying hour. Perhaps thou
mightest have been a Queen or a Dutchess, or a Lady varnished with much
beauty; but now thou art worms meat, lying in the grave, the sepolchre
of all creatures." We are only surprised that "Alas poor Yorick" does
not come in. The page is beautifully adorned with an engraving
representing Sir Guy in cocked hat, addressing a skull he carries in his


The same phenomenon was taking place in France, and from France were to
come the first examples of the regular heroic romance. "I have read
[Lancelot]" says Sarasin, in a conversation reported by the well-known
Jean Chapelain, the author of "La Pucelle," and "I have not found it too
unpleasant. Among the things that have pleased me in it I found that it
was the source of all the romances which for four or five centuries
have been the noblest entertainment of all the courts of Europe and have
prevented barbarism from encompassing the whole world."[315] But as well
as Guy of Warwick, Lancelot wanted some "rajeunissement." His valour was
still the fashion, but his manners, after so many centuries, and his
dress too, were a little out of date. The new heroism was to pervade the
whole man, and, in order to make him acceptable, to influence his
costume as well as his mind. There was to be something Roman in him, and
something French; he was to be represented in the style of Louis the
Fourteenth's statues, where the monarch appears in a Roman tunic and a
French wig.


The transformation occurred first in France, and was received with great
applause. The times indeed were most propitious for a display, not of
the barbaric heroism of olden times, but of courtly heroism; of an
heroism which plumes, wigs and ribbons well fitted, and which, with
scarcely any change, could be transferred from the battle field to the
drawing-room, from Rocroy to the Hôtel de Rambouillet: no mean heroism,
however, for all its ribbons. At this period, in France, manly and lofty
virtues, as well as worldly ones, were worshipped in life, in literature
and in art. From the commencement to the end of the century, examples of
undoubted heroes were not lacking; Henri IV., Richelieu, Mme. de
Longueville, Condé, Louis XIV., Turenne, now by their good qualities,
now by their caprices, now by their deeds and now by their looks,
resembled heroes of romance, and popularized in France an ideal of
nobleness and greatness. In order to please and to be admired, it was
necessary to show a lofty character; men must be superior to fortune,
and women must appear superior to the allurements of passion; the hero
made a display of magnanimity, the heroine of chastity. The hero won the
battle of Fribourg, and the heroine had Montausier to pay court to her
for thirteen years before she consented to be united to him in the bonds
of wedlock. Such were the persons most admired in real life; such were
the characters of romance and tragedy whom the public liked best,
without, however, distinguishing between them. The Cid, Alceste,
Artaban, Nicomède, as well as Julie d'Angennes, Montausier and Condé,
were all members of the same family, and not any one of them more than
another appeared comic or ridiculous: that is why Montausier was very
far from being offended that traits of the character of Alceste were
thought to be found in him, and that is why Mme. de Sévigné, a
passionate admirer of Corneille, becomes as honestly enthusiastic over
the extravagant heroes of the new romances as over those of the great
Cornelian tragedies. "I am mad for Corneille; everything must yield to
his genius ... My daughter, let us take good care not to compare Racine
with him. Let us feel the difference!"[316] She writes elsewhere with
regard to the heroes of La Calprenède: "The beauty of the sentiments,
the violence of the emotions, the grandeur of the incidents and the
miraculous success of their invincible swords, all that delights me like
a young girl."[317]

This change, which consisted, not of course in the introduction of
heroism into novels, where it had in all times found place, but in the
magnifying, to an extraordinary degree, of this source of interest, and
in a transformation of costume and of tone of speech, appeared not only
in romances, but in the drama also, and even in history. Everything
worthy of attention was for many years to be heroical. Heroes defy earth
and heaven; they do not, like Aucassin, with a temper of ironical
submission, give up Paradise in the hope of joining Nicolete in the
nether world; they make the nether world itself tremble on its
foundations: for nothing can resist them. Even in serious historical
works the old rulers of the French nation appear under an heroical garb.
King Clovis is thus described by Scipion Dupleix, historiographer royal,
in his "Histoire Générale de France," 1634: "The hour of Easter-eve at
which the King was to receive the baptism at the hands of St. Remy
having come, he appeared with a proud countenance, a dignified gait, a
majestic port, very richly dressed, musked and powdered; his flowing wig
was curiously combed, curled, frizzed, undulated and perfumed, according
to the custom of the old french Kings;"[318] but much more it seems
according to the custom of less ancient sovereigns; and there is at the
Louvre, a portrait of Louis XIII. bare-legged, periwigged,
ermine-cloaked, which corresponds far better to this description than
anything we know of Clovis.

The same characteristics appear in the epic and the drama. Antoine de
Montchrestien, besides having written the earliest treatise of political
economy, and thus having stood, if nothing more, godfather to a new
science,[319] wrote a number of plays, flavoured most of them with a
grandiloquence and heroism which give us a foretaste of Dryden. In his
"Aman ou la vanité," he treats the same subject as Racine in his
"Esther," but he has nothing in common with his successor, and much with
the dramatists of the heroical school. In order, doubtless, to justify
from the first the title of the play, Aman indulges his "vanité" in an
opening monologue to the following effect:

"Whether fair Phoebus coming out of the hollow waters brings back colour
to the face of the world, whether with his warmer rays he sets day
ablaze or departs to take his rest in his watery bower, he cannot see in
all the inhabited world a single man to be compared with me for
successes of any sort. My glory is without peer, and if any of the gods
were to exchange heaven for earth and dwell under the lunar disc, he
would content himself with such a brilliant fortune as mine."[320]

Nearly all the dramas of Scudéry are made up of such speeches, and they
were the rage in Paris before Corneille arose, Corneille in whom
something of this style yet lingers. Each of Scudéry's heroes, be it in
his dramas, in his epics, in his romances, is like his Alaric, nothing
less than "le vainqueur des vainqueurs de la terre"; and having
conquered all the world is in his turn conquered by Love. To write thus
was supposed to be following the noble impulse given by the Renaissance,
to be Roman, to outdo Seneca.[321]

In the novel especially this style shone in all its lustre and beauty.
All the heroes of the interminable romances of the time, by Gomberville,
George and Madeleine de Scudéry, La Calprenède and many others, be they
Greek, Roman, Turk or French, are all of them the conquerors of the
world and the captives of Love. "I can scarcely believe," wrote wise
censors, "that the Cyrus and the Alexanders have suddenly become, as I
hear it reported, so many Thyrsis and Celadons."[322] But their protests
were of no avail, for a time, and romance heroes continued to reign in
France, having had from the first for their palace and chief place of
resort the famous Hôtel de Rambouillet.

This hotel had been building from 1610 to 1617 in the Rue St.
Thomas-du-Louvre. Polite society began to gather there soon after its
completion, and began to desert it only thirty years later. The heroic
romances of the period were among the chief topics of conversation; and
this is easily understood: they were meant as copies of this same polite
society, and of its chiefs; under feigned names people recognized in
Cyrus the Grand Condé; in Mandane, Madame de Longueville; in Sapho, the
authoress herself, Mdlle. de Scudéry; in Aristhée, the poet Jean
Chapelain. Persons thus designated often continued in real life to be
called by their romance appellations; thus Madame de Sévigné is wont to
subscribe herself "the very humble servant of the adorable
Amalthée."[323] Men and women considered it a great honour to have their
portraits in a romance; they felt sure then of going down to the
remotest posterity, a fond belief to which posterity has already given
the lie. Much intrigue went on to obtain such a valuable favour. While
we are scarcely able now to plod on for a few chapters along the winding
road which led Cyrus to his victories, these volumes were awaited with
intense interest and discussed with passion as soon as published.
Neither the expectation of the next number of the "Revue des deux
Mondes," when it contains some important new study of actual life, nor
the discussion about the last play of Dumas, can give us now an adequate
idea of the amount of interest concentrated in Paris at that time upon
those heroical, grandiloquent, periwigged figures.

And sometimes it was a very long time before the end of the adventures,
and the answers of the lovers were known. These books were not written
without care and thought and some attention to rules and style. In the
preface to his "Ibrahim" Scudéry gives us a sort of "Ars poetica" for
heroic romance writers; he states what precepts it is necessary to
follow, and those which may sometimes be dispensed with; he informs us
that attention is to be paid to the truth of history, and that manners
must be observed. For example, in "Ibrahim" he has thought fit to use
some Turkish words, such as "Alla, Stambol"; these he calls "historical
marks," and they correspond to what goes now under the name of local
colour; according to his way of thinking they give a realistic
appearance to his story. His heroes in this particular romance are not
kings, he confesses; his excuse is that they are worthy to be such, and
that besides they belong to very good families. He has been careful to
use an easy, flowing style, and to avoid bombast "except in speeches."
He has something to say about the unities, which have their part to play
even in romances. Nothing must be left to chance in those works; and as
for himself, he would have refused, he declares, the praise bestowed
upon the Greek painter who, by throwing his brush against his work,
obtained thus the finest effect in his picture. In Scudéry's picture
everything is drawn with a will and a purpose, everything is the result
of thought and calculation, and, if we are to believe him, much art was
thus spent by the gallant Gouverneur de Nostre Dame; much art that is
now entirely concealed from the dim eyes of posterity.[324]


(_From an English translation of "Clélie."_)]

Speeches, with descriptions, letters (which are always given in full as
if they were documents of state), conversations and incidental anecdotic
stories, were among the most usual means employed to fill up the many
volumes of an ordinary heroical romance. For the volumes were many:
"There never shone such a fine day as the one which was to be the eve of
the nuptials between the illustrious Aronce and the admirable Clélie."
Such is the beginning of the first volume of "Clélie, histoire romaine,"
by Madeleine de Scudéry, published in January, 1649. It happens that the
marriage thus announced is delayed by certain little incidents, and is
only celebrated towards the end of the tenth and last volume published
in September, 1654. Volume I. contained the famous "Carte du Tendre," to
show the route from "Nouvelle amitié" to "Tendre," with its various
rivers, its villages of "Tendre-sur-Inclination," "Tendre-sur-Estime,"
with the ever-to-be-avoided hamlets of Indiscretion and Perfidy, the
Lake of Indifference and other frightful countries. Let us turn away
from them and go back to our heroes.

One of their chief pleasures was to tell their own stories. Of this
neither they nor their listeners were ever tired. Whenever in the course
of the tale a new person is introduced, the first thing he is expected
to do is to tell us who he is and what he has seen of the world.
Sometimes stories are included in his own, and when the first are
finished, instead of taking up again the thread of the main tale, we
merely resume the hearing of the speaker's own adventures: a custom
which sometimes proves very puzzling to the inattentive frivolous reader
of to-day. As for the supposed listeners in the tale itself, the men or
women the hero has secured for his audience, they well knew what to
expect, and took their precautions accordingly. We sometimes see them go
to bed in order to listen more comfortably. In "Cassandre," the eunuch
Tireus has a story to tell to Prince Oroontades: "The prince went to his
bedroom and put himself to bed; he then had Tireus called to him, and
having seats placed in the _ruelle_, he commanded us to sit," and then
the story begins; and it goes on for pages; and when it is finished we
observe that it was included in another story told by Araxe; wherefore,
instead of finding ourselves back among the actors of the principal
tale, we alight only among those in Araxe's narrative.[325] These
stories are thus enclosed in one another like Chinese boxes.


This literature as soon as imported into England realized there the most
complete success. To find a parallel for it we must go back to the time
when mediæval Lancelot and Tristan were sung of by French singers, and
afterwards by singers of all countries. Cyrus and Mandane, Oroontades
and Tireus, Grand Scipio and Illustrious Bassa, Astrée and Céladon, our
heroes and our shepherds once more began the invasion and conquest of
the great northern island. As was to be expected from such unparalleled
conquerors, they accomplished this feat easily, and their work had
consequences in England for which France can scarcely offer any perfect
equivalent. Through their exertions there arose in this country a
dramatic literature in the heroical style which, thanks especially to
Dryden, has still a literary interest. But in France our heroes of
fiction were curtailed of much of their glory by the inexorable Boileau.
They left, it is true, some trace of their influence in the works of
Corneille and even of Racine, but the heroic drama, properly so called,
was restricted to the works of the Scudérys and Montchrestiens, which is
saying enough to imply that it was not meant to survive very long.

During the greater part of the century French romances were in England
the main reading of people who had leisure. They were read in the
original, for French was a current language in society at that time, and
they were read in translations both by society and by the ordinary
public. Most of them were rendered into English, and so important were
these works considered that sometimes several translators tried their
skill at the same romance, and published independently the result of
their labours, as if their author had been Virgil or Ariosto, or any
classical writer. French ideas in the matter of novels were adopted so
cordially that not only under Charles I., but even during the civil war
and under Cromwell this rage for reading and translating did not abate.
The contrary, it is true, has often been asserted, without inquiry, and
as a matter of course; but this erroneous statement was due to a mere
_a priori_ argument, and had no other ground than the improbability of
the same fashion predominating in the London of the Roundheads and the
Paris of the Précieuses. What likelihood was there of any popularity
being bestowed upon heroes who were nothing if not befeathered heroes,
heroes _à panaches_ at a time when Puritans reigned supreme, staunch
adversaries as we know of _panaches_, curls, vain talk, and every sort
of worldly vanity? Was it not the time when books were published on "The
unlovelinesse of Love-lockes," being "a summarie discourse prooving the
wearing and nourishing of a locke or love-locke to be altogether
unseemely, and unlawfull unto Christians. In which there are likewise
some passages collected out of Fathers, Councells and sundry authors and
historians against face-painting, the wearing of supposititious,
poudred, frizled or extraordinary long haire, the inordinate affectation
of corporall beautie, and womens mannish, unnaturall, impudent, and
unchristian cutting of their haire"?[326] So early in the century as
1628 it was thus discovered that women's short hair and men's long wigs
were equally unchristian. What was to be the fate of our well-curled
heroes? They were received with open arms. "Polexandre," for example,
was published in English in 1647; "Ibrahim ou l'illustre Bassa,"
"Cassandre," and "Cléopatre" in 1652; "Le Grand Cyrus" in 1653, the very
year in which Cromwell became Protector; the first part of "Clélie" in
1656; "Astrée" in 1657; "Scipion" in 1660, &c.

The English prefaces to these French novels plainly showed that,
notwithstanding the puritanical taunts of the party in power, publishers
felt no doubt as to the success of their undertaking. These works were
not spread timidly among the public; they were announced noisily in the
most pompous terms:

"I shall waste no time to tell you how this book hath sold in France
where it was born: since nothing falls from Monsieur de Scudéry's hand,
but is receiv'd there as an unquestionable piece, by all that have a
taste of wit or honour. The translator hath inserted no false stitches
of his own, having only turn'd the wrong side of the Arras towards us,
for all translations, you know, are no other."[327]

The translator of "Astrée" was fain to inform his readers of a judgment
passed, as he pretends, on this work by "the late famous Cardinall of
Richelieu. That he was not to be admitted in the Academy of wit who had
not been before well read in Astrea." And he claims for his author a
highly beneficial purpose, that could be condemned by none except
obdurate Puritans: "These are the true designs and ends of works of this
nature: these are academies for the lover, schools of war for the
soldier, and cabinets for the statesman; they are the correctives of
passion, the restoratives of conversation, ... in a word, the most
delightful accommodations of civill life."[328]

Another goes so far as to give the lie direct to the Puritans, to
"those morose persons" who condemn novels; in truth, "delight is the
least advantage redounding from such compositions." French romances
(which seem to have altered somewhat in this respect) are nothing but a
school of morality, generosity, and self-restraint: "Not to say anything
concerning the ground work which is generally some excellent piece of
ancient history accurately collected out of the records of the most
eminent writers of old, ... the addition of fictitious adventures is so
ingenious, the incident discourses so handsome, free and fitted for the
improvement of conversation (which is not undeservedly accounted of
great importance to the contentment of human life), the descriptions of
the passions so lively and naturally set forth; yea the idea of virtue,
generosity and all the qualifications requisite to accomplish great
persons so exquisitely delineated that ... I must speak it, though I
believe with the envy and regret of many, that [the French] have
approv'd themselves the best teachers of a noble and generous morality
that are to be met with."[329]


(_French Engraving used in an English book._)]

Sometimes both the engravings and the story were imported from France.
As the illustrations to Harington's translation of "Ariosto" had been
originally made by an Italian artist, so now French engravings began to
be popularized in England. For example, when a translation appeared
of "Endimion," the curious mythological novel of Gombauld, with its
pleasant descriptions and incidents, half dreamy, half real, the plates
from drawings by C. de Pas were sent over to England and used in the
English edition. Sometimes, too, the English copies had original plates
or engraved titles; but even in these the French style was usually
apparent. Robert Loveday, who translated La Calprenède's "Cléopatre,"
prefaces his book with one such plate; and it is curious to notice when
reading his published correspondence that the engraving was made
according to his own minute directions. The bookseller "offer'd to be at
the charge of cutting my own face for the frontispiece, but I refused
his offer." As, however, the publisher insisted on having something, "I
design'd him this which is now a-cutting: Upon an altar dedicated to
Love, divers hearts transfix'd with arrows and darts are to lye broiling
upon the coals; and upon the steps of it, Hymen ... in a posture as if
he were going to light [his taper] to the altar; when Cupid is to come
behind him and pull him by the saffron sleeve, with these words
proceeding from his mouth: Nondum peracta sunt præludia";[330] a
statement that is only too true and in which Loveday summarizes unawares
the truest criticism levelled at these romances. You may read volume
after volume, and still "nondum peracta sunt præludia," you have not yet
done with preliminaries.

But this constant delaying of an event, sometimes announced, as in
"Clélie," at the top of the first page, was not in the least displeasing
to seventeenth-century readers. The lengthy episodes, the protracted
conversations, enchanted them; it was an age when conversation was at
its height in France, and from France the taste spread to other
countries. Translators, as we have seen, expressly mentioned as an
attraction in their books the help they would give to conversation.
Numberless examples of this polite pastime are provided in the heroic
romances; in "Almahide, or the Captive Queen,"[331] among others, we
read discussions as to whether it is better for a man to court a lady in
verse or in prose, whether an illiterate lover is better than a learned
one, &c., &c.

[Illustration: "HYMEN'S PRÆLUDIA."

(_Frontispiece of the translation of La Calprenède's "Cléopatre."_)]

Such topics, and many more of a higher order, which were the subject of
persistent debate in the drawing-rooms of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, were
also discussed in England; there was, it is true, no Hôtel de
Rambouillet, but there was the house of the Philips at Cardigan. There
was no Marquise, but there was Catherine Philips, the "matchless
Orinda," who did much to acclimatize in England the refinements,
elegancies, and heroism _à panache_ of her French neighbours. With
the help of her friends she translated some of the plays of Corneille,
not without adding something to the original to make it look more
heroical. The little society gathered round her imitated the feigned
names bestowed upon the habitués of the Parisian hotel. While she went
by the name of Orinda, plain Mr. Philips, her husband, was re-baptized
Antenor; her friend Sir Charles Cotterel, translator of "Cassandre," was
Poliarchus; a lady friend, Miss Owen, was Lucasia;[332] fine names, to
be sure, which unfortunately will remind many a reader not only of
matchless Arthenice, of the Hôtel de Rambouillet, but of Molière's
Cathos and Madelon, who, too, had chosen to imitate the Marquise, and
insisted on being called Aminte and Polixène, to the astonishment of
their honest father.[333]

The high morality and delicacy, both of the "Hôtel," and, alas, of
Molière's "Précieuses," were also imitated at Cardigan. To get married
was a thing so coarse and vulgar that people with refined souls were to
slip into that only at the last extremity. "A fine thing it would be,"
says the Madelon of the "Précieuses," "if from the first Cyrus were to
marry Mandane and if Aronce were all at once wedded to Clelia!" We have
seen that such is not the case, and that ten volumes of adventures
interpose between their love and their marriage. In the same way an
eternal friendship, a marriage of soul to soul, having been sworn
between Orinda and Lucasia, it was a matter of great sorrow, shame and
despair for the first when the second, after thirteen years of this
refined intercourse proved frail and commonplace enough to marry a lover
of appropriate age, fortune and position.

Another centre for heroic thoughts and refined morality was the country
house of the pedantic but pretty Duchess of Newcastle, a prolific writer
of essays, letters, plays, poems, tales, and works of all kinds. To her,
literature was a compensation for the impossibility, through want of
opportunity, of performing with her own hand heroical deeds: "I dare not
examine," says she, "the former times, for fear I should meet with such
of my sex that have out-done all the glory I can aime at or hope to
attaine; for I confess my ambition is restless, and not ordinary;
because it would have an extraordinary fame. And since all heroick
actions, publick employments, powerfull governments and eloquent
pleadings are denyed our sex in this age or at least would be condemned
for want of custome, is the cause I write so much."[334]


She wrote a great deal, and not without feeling a somewhat deep and
naïvely expressed admiration for her own performances. The epithet
"restless" which she applies to her ambition, well fits her whole mind;
there is restlessness about everything she did and wrote. She is never
satisfied with one epistle to the reader; she must have ten or twelve
prefaces and under-prefaces, which forcibly remind us of her
contemporary, Oronte, in his famous sonnet scene with Alceste. Her
"Natures pictures drawn by Fancies pencil to the life" is preceded by
several copies of commendatory verses and a succession of preambles,
entitled: "To the reader--An epistle to my readers--To the reader--To
the reader--To my readers--To my readers"; each being duly signed "M.
Newcastle." It seems as if the sight of her own name was a pleasure to
her. These prefaces are full of expostulations, explanations and
apologies, quite in the Oronte style: "The design of these my feigned
stories, is to present virtue, the muses leading her and the graces
attending her.... Perchance my feigned stories are not so lively
described as they might have been.... As for those tales I name
romancicall, I would not have my readers think I write them either to
please or to make foolish whining lovers.... I must entreat my readers
to understand, that though my naturall genius is to write fancy, yet ...
Although I hope every piece or discourse in my book will delight my
readers or at least some one, and some another ... yet I do recommend
two as the most solid and edifying." Great is the temptation to answer
with Alceste: "Nous verrons bien!"[335] But how could one say so when
she was so pretty? The best preface to her volumes is in fact the
charming engraving representing a party meeting at her house to tell and
hear tales round the fire, and of which we give a reproduction. The only
pity is that the figure meant as her portrait, though laurel-crowned,
looks much more plain and commonplace than we might have expected.

She wrote then abundantly "romancicall" tales, as she called them, with
a touch of heroism; edifying tales in which she prescribes "that all
young men should be kept to their studies so long as their effeminate
beauties doth last;" dialogues "of the wise lady, the learned lady and
the witty lady," the three being only too wise; plays in which she
depicts herself under the names of Lady Sanspareile, of Lady Chastity,
&c., unpardonable sins, no doubt, to give oneself such names; but it is
reported she was so beautiful!

Among the mass of her writings, it must be added, ideas are scattered
here and there which were destined to live, and through which she
anticipated men of true and real genius. To give only one example, she
too may be credited with having anticipated Richardson in her "Sociable
Letters," in which she tries to imitate real life, to describe scenes,
very nearly to write an actual novel: "The truth is," she writes, "they
are rather scenes than letters, for I have endeavoured under cover of
letters to express the humors of mankind, and the actions of man's life
by the correspondence of two ladies, living at some short distance from
each other, which make it not only their chief delight and pastime, but
their tye in friendship, to discourse by letters as they would do if
they were personally together."[336] Many collections of imaginary
letters had, as we have seen, been published before, but never had the
use to which they could be put been better foreseen by any predecessor
of Richardson.


The Duchess lived till 1674, surrounded by an ever-increasing group
of admirers, deaf to the jokes of courtly people concerning her
old-fashioned chastity; more than consoled by the firm belief she had as
to the strength of her mind and genius. In this persuasion "she kept,"
wrote Theophilus Cibber, "a great many young ladies about her person,
who occasionally wrote what she dictated. Some of them slept in a room
contiguous to that in which Her Grace lay, and were ready at the call of
her bell to rise any hour of the night to write down her conceptions,
lest they should escape her memory. The young ladies no doubt often
dreaded Her Grace's conceptions, which were frequent."[337] Here, again,
her restless spirit was in some manner anticipating unawares another
great writer, namely, Pope.

Thus, in spite of Cromwell and the Puritans on the one side, and Charles
II. and his courtiers on the other, French ideas as to the possible
dignity and purity of lives in which the worldly element was not wanting
grew to some extent on the English soil, though, it is true, with less
success, being as we see mainly relegated at that time to the country.
The true hour for virtues not the less real because sociable, virtues
such as they were understood by Madame de Sévigné or Madame de
Rambouillet, had not yet come. They were to be thoroughly acclimatized
only in the next century, principally through the exertions of Steele
and Addison.

But the strictly heroical part of French tastes was accepted immediately
and with great enthusiasm. The extraordinary number of folio heroical
romances still to be seen in old English country houses testifies at
the present day to their extraordinary hold upon the polite society of
the time. The King gave the example. Charles I. had been a reader of
such novels; on the eve of his death he distributed a few souvenirs to
his most faithful friends, and we see him give away, besides Hooker's
"Ecclesiastical Polity" and Dr. Andrews' sermons, the romance of
"Cassandre," which he left to the Earl of Lindsey. During the troublous
times of the civil war, Dorothy Osborne constantly alludes, in her
letters to Sir William Temple, to the books she reads, and they are
mostly these same French novels. While troops are marching to and fro;
while rebellions and counter-rebellions are preparing or breaking out,
the volumes of "Cléopatre" and "Grand Cyrus" go to and fro between the
lovers and are the subject of their epistolary discussions. "Have you
read 'Cléopatre'? I have six tomes on't here that I can lend you if you
have not; there are some stories in't you will like, I believe."--"Since
you are at leisure to consider the moon, you may be enough to read
'Cléopatre,' therefore I have sent you three volumes.... There is a
story of Artimise that I will recommend to you; her disposition I like
extremely, it has a great deal of practical wit; and if you meet with
one Brittomart, pray send me word how you like him."--"I have a third
tome here [of "Cyrus"] against you have done with that second; and to
encourage you, let me assure you that the more you read of them, you
will like them still better,"[338] and so on.

The wife of Mr. Pepys was not less fond of French romances than Dorothy
Osborne, and we sometimes find her husband purchasing copies at his
bookseller's to bring home as presents. But he himself did not like them
very much; he seems to have been deterred from this kind of literature
by his wife's habit of reciting stories to him out of these works; some
quarrel even took place between the couple about "Cyrus," though it
seems that "Cyrus" was in this case more the pretext than the reason of
the discussion, as honest Pepys with his usual frankness gives us to
understand: "At noon home, where I find my wife troubled still at my
checking her last night in the coach in her long stories out of 'Grand
Cyrus,' which she would tell, though nothing to the purpose, nor in any
good manner. This she took unkindly, and I think I was to blame indeed;
but she do find with reason that in the company of Pierce, Knipp, or
other women that I love I do not value her as I ought. However very good
friends by and by." As a penance doubtless we see him buying for her
later "L'Illustre Bassa in four volumes" and "Cassandra and some other
French books."[339]


But reading and translating was not enough for a society so enamoured of
heroical romances; some original ones were to be composed for English
readers and the composing of them became a fashionable pastime. "My lord
Broghill," writes again Dorothy Osborne to her future husband, Sir
William Temple, the patron hereafter of the yet unborn Jonathan Swift,
"sure will give us something worth the reading. My Lord Saye, I am told,
has writ a romance since his retirement in the isle of Lundy, and Mr.
Waller they say is making one of our wars, which if he does not mingle
with a great deal of pleasing fiction, cannot be very diverting, sure,
the subject is so sad."[340]

The following year, that is 1654, the English public received, according
to Dorothy's previsions, the first instalment of the most noticeable
heroical romance composed in their language. It was called
"Parthenissa,"[341] and had for its author Roger Boyle, Lord Broghill,
afterwards Earl of Orrery, one of the matchless Orinda's great

In this heroic romance, the imitation of France is as exact as possible;
the few literary qualities perceptible in the vast compositions of
Mdlle. de Scudéry and of La Calprenède, do not shine with any brighter
lustre in "Parthenissa." As in France ancient history is put to the
torture, though Scudéry, as we have seen, had set up as a rule that the
truth of history was to be respected in romances; of observation of
nature there is little or none, and the conversations of the characters
are interminable. "Turning over the leaves of the large folio," wrote
one of the last critics who busied themselves with this work, "I
perceived that ... the story some-how or other brought in Hannibal,
Massinissa, Mithridates, Spartacus, and other persons equally well
known.... How they came into the story or what the story is I cannot
tell you; nor will any mortal know any more than I do, between this and
doomsday; but there they all are, lively though invisible, like carp in
a pond."[343] We must make bold, though doomsday has not yet come, to
draw forth some of these carp out of the water, and, after all, this is
not the darkest pond in which we shall have fished.

At the commencement, Boyle introduces us to a young and handsome
stranger who comes to Syria in order to consult the oracle of Venus. The
priest Callimachus appears before him, and quite suddenly asks for his
history. The stranger is very willing to tell it. His name is Artabanes
and he is the son of the King of Parthia; he is in love with the
Princess Parthenissa and has proved his affection for her in the manner
of Sidney's heroes: he met on one occasion an Arab prince, who was
travelling with a collection of twenty-four pictures, representing the
mistresses of twenty-four famous champions overthrown by him. Artabanes
in his turn measured swords with the Arab and got possession of the
twenty-four paintings, and one in addition, which represented the
mistress of his adversary: whence it results that Parthenissa is the
most beautiful woman in the world, exactly what the hero intended to

Artabanes has a rival, Surena; he fancies that Surena is the happy man,
leaves Parthenissa and goes to live in solitude. Pirates carry him off,
and sell him at Rome for a slave. Then under the name of Spartacus, he
stirs up a revolt and accomplishes exploits attributed by ancient
writers to that rebel; however he does not die as in history, but
returns to Asia. There, Parthenissa, rather than surrender to a lover,
swallows a drug and dies; but hers is only an apparent death and she
returns to life. Artabanes, in the same way, stabs himself, but he is
cured; and then it is that he comes to consult the oracle.

Callimachus thanks him for his interesting but somewhat lengthy story,
and revenges himself by relating his own. Unfortunately he is
interrupted: they see a lady who looks exactly like Parthenissa herself
enter a neighbouring grove; she is accompanied by a young cavalier; they
embrace and disappear among the trees. Artabanes' anguish at this sight
cannot be described. But here Roger Boyle found that he was tired and
wrote no more. His romance, which already comprised five parts, was
published by him in this unfinished form.

For a long time the public was left in suspense. The Protector was dead,
his son had fallen, the Stuarts had again ascended the throne, and no
one knew the end of the loves of Prince Artabanes. The continuation of
the romance is due to the charming Henrietta of England, Duchess of
Orleans. Ten or twelve years after the appearance of the first volume,
she was curious to know what Parthenissa was doing in the wood, and
begged Roger Boyle to bring her out of it. He wrote a sixth part in
four books and dedicated it to her.

Are we to imagine that the author is now going to lead his impatient
readers in search of the heroine? Not at all. Callimachus, who was
unfairly interrupted in his tale, proposes to his companions to leave
one of them, Symander, on guard, and to go and refresh themselves. When
they were rested, "they conjur'd him to prosecute his story, though what
they had seen and heard gave them impatiences which nothing but their
desires of knowing so generous a friend's fortunes could have dispensed
with." The four books of the sixth part are devoted to this narrative;
Boyle, as he said in his preface, had thought at first of concluding
everything in this supplement; but he was forced to recognize that it
was impossible to "confine it within so narrow a compass." This
statement will be found on page 808 of his folio volume. Why Parthenissa
entered the grove was never to be known nor what she had to say in her
justification. Boyle, who had taken up his pen again at the instance of
the young duchess, had very soon no reason to continue: Bossuet was
calling on the court of the Grand Roi to weep with him for the loss of
this charming woman, whose beauty and grace had only blossomed "for one

As soon as the book was out, Dorothy Osborne had a copy sent to her, but
she did not like it so much as the French models. She writes to Temple:
"I'll ... tell you that 'Parthenissa' is now my company. My brother sent
it down and I have almost read it. 'Tis handsome language; you would
know it to be writ by a person of good quality though you were not told
it; but on the whole I am not very much taken with it. All the stories
have too near a resemblance with those of other romances; there is
nothing new and _surprenant_ in them; the ladies are all so kind they
make no sport."[344]

Boyle, it is said, besides his dramas and other works, again tried his
fortune as a novel writer, and published in 1676 "English Adventures by
a person of honour." It is in a style so absolutely different from his
former romance that it is scarcely credible that both came from the same
pen. "English Adventures" tell the story of the amours of King Henry
VIII., of Brandon, and others. All the reserve in "Parthenissa" has
entirely disappeared, and scenes are presented to the eye which, except
at the time of the Restoration, have usually been veiled. Love is in
this novel the subject of many discussions, and so it was in heroic
romances, but while it was spoken of there with decency and dignity, it
is never mentioned in "English Adventures" but in a tone of banter and
raillery. The discourses about this passion recall Suckling's ideas much
more than those of Madeleine de Scudéry. "Pardon me, madam, Wilmore
reply'd, if I think you mistake the case, for I never said I was for a
siege in Love: that is the dull method of those countries whose
discipline in amours I abominate. I am for the French mode, where the
first day, I either conquer my mistress or my passion." Whether or not
this be according to "the French mode," we are obviously very far from
the Montausier ideal. The author continues: "Nor indeed did I ever see
any woman (I mean in France) cry up constancy, but she was decaying; for
when any thing but love is to maintain love 'tis a proof Beauty cannot
do it, and then, alas, nothing else can."[345] If this and the very
licentious adventures which follow are really Boyle's, it must be
conceded that the change worked upon him by the new Restoration manners
was indeed vast and comprehensive.

Other original attempts at the heroical romance were made in England at
this period. It will be enough to mention one more. The two main defects
of the heroical dramas of Dryden and his contemporaries are bombast in
the ideas and bad taste in the expressions. In Crowne's heroical novel
of "Pandion and Amphigenia"[346] both defects are pushed to an extreme
which, incredible as it may seem to the readers of Dryden, was never at
any time reached by the laureate.

The story is the usual heroical story of valorous deeds and peerless
loves; the author is careful to assert that he is perfectly original:
"All ... is genuine, nothing stole, nothing strained." He has been
especially careful to avoid imitating the French and the elegancies of
"that ceremonious nation." After such a declaration we are rather
surprised to hear Periander thus answer a lady who, in the usual way,
had asked him for his inevitable story: "Madam," said he, "your
expressions speak you no less rich in virtue than beauty.... I should
be more savage then the beasts that Orpheus charmed into civility,
should I remain inexorable to the intreaties of so sweet an orator,
whose perfections are such that I cannot but account it as great a glory
to obey you, as it would make me sensible of shame to refuse any thing
you should command, though it were to sacrifice my life and honour,
which are the only jewels I ever prized in my prosperity, and which is
all that Fortune hath left to my disposal in my adversity." Then he
tells his story, which we had better not listen to, for it begins: "Know
you then that in the city of Corinth, there dwelt a gentleman called
Eleutherius ...," and we know full well what such beginnings threaten.
The romance goes on describing bloody feuds and matchless beauties. Here
is in characteristic style a portrait of a matchless beauty:

"The pillow blest with a kiss from her cheeks, as pregnant with delight,
swelled on either side.... A lock that had stollen from its sweet
prison, folded in cloudy curls, lay dallying with her breath, sometimes
striving to get a kiss, and then repulsed flew back, sometimes obtaining
its desired bliss, and then as rapt with joy, retreated in wanton
caperings.... Her breasts at liberty displayed were of so pure a
whiteness as if one's eye through the transparent skin, had viewed the
milky treasures they inclosed."

Oh! for a Boileau, shall we exclaim, to cut off the flowers of such
paper gardens! for a Defoe to show how prose fiction should be written!
But Boileau is abroad and Defoe's time is yet to come. Wait, besides,
for this is nothing and we have better in store; that was love, here is

"The signal for the battail being given, there began such a terrible
conflict, as that within a short time thousands lay dead in the place,
both sides maintaining their assaults with such impetuous rage as if the
Gyants had been come to heap mountains of carcasses to assail heaven and
besiege the gods; nothing but fury reigned in every breast, some that
were thrust through with lances would yet run themselves farther on to
reach their enemies and requite that mortal wound ... the earth grew of
a sanguine complexion, being covered with blood, as if every soldier had
been Death's herald, and had come to emblazon Mars's arms with a sword
Argent on a field Gules.... In one place, lay heads deposed from their
sovereignties, yawning and staring as if they looked for their
bodies."[347] One refreshing thought is the remembrance of the pure,
deep pleasure Crowne must have found in fastening together such an
unparalleled series of conceits. "Peste," is he sure to have said with

    "Peste! où prend mon esprit toutes ces gentillesses?"

As for the final result of these wars and love-makings, it is a very
airy one; for Crowne seems to have entertained a higher ideal of purity
than even Montausier and Orinda. His ladies bestow upon their lovers
nothing at all, not even marriage, and the author, after having been at
some trouble to re-establish order in Thessaly and other countries,
gives up all idea of getting Pandion and Amphigenia wedded, this lady,
she of the pillow above described, being as he says so very "coy."

Though not quite a match for Crowne's it must be conceded that neither
is Dryden's bombast of a mean order. The following passage which very
nearly bears comparison with the above, will show how heroism appeared
when transferred to the stage. In one of the dramas, the plot of which
Dryden took from the French romances, Almanzor thus addresses a rival:

    "If from thy hands alone my death can be,
     I am immortal and a god to thee,
     If I would kill thee now, thy fate's so low
     That I must stoop ere I can give the blow:
     But mine is fixed so far above thy crown,
     That all thy men,
     Piled on thy back, can never pull it down:
     But at my ease, thy destiny I send,
     By ceasing from this hour to be thy friend.
     Like heaven, I need but only to stand still,
     And not concurring to thy life, I kill."[348]


Any number of speeches of this sort are to be found in the heroical
dramas of Dryden, Settle, Lee, and their contemporaries. Roman, Arab,
Turk, Greek or Moorish heroes, pirates or princes, when they mean to set
anything at defiance, choose nothing less than heaven and earth as their
object; they divide the world between them as if it were an orange; they
rush to the fight or stop for a speech with a fine shake of the head
which sends a majestic undulation round the wig worn by them, even by
the Moors, as we may see in one of the very rare dramas then published
with engravings. They are represented there with embroidered
justaucorps, wigs and ribbons.[349]

Crowne besides his romance wrote several dramas that secured him a wide,
if temporary, popularity. He also adapted Racine's "Andromaque" for the
English stage, but he was very much disgusted with this work; the French
original, though not "the worst" of French plays, was after all so mean
and tame! "If the play be barren of fancy, you must blame the original
author. I am as much inclined to be civil to strangers as any man; but
then they must be strangers of merit. I would no more be at the pains to
bestow wit (if I had any) on a French play, than I would be at the cost
to bestow cloaths on every shabby Frenchman that comes over." Here we
have Racine put in his proper place; what claim had he to be considered
"a stranger of merit"? True, some crabbed English critics seem to have
taken his part against the translator, and, incredible as it may seem,
they have expressed a thought that "this suffered much in the
translation.--I cannot tell in what," answers Crowne, "except in not
bestowing verse upon it, which I thought it did not deserve. For
otherwise, there is all that is in the French play, verbatim, and
something more, as may be seen in the last act, where what is dully
recited in the French play is there represented, which is no small
advantage."[350] And true, it is, Pyrrhus is slain before our eyes;
there are "alarums" and other lively, if customary, ornaments.

In this age obviously Racine could not please. Nor would Shakespeare
have pleased a French audience, but as we know no attempt in that
direction was made in Paris. The two nations lent one another, if
anything, their defects. "Alaric" was named with praise by Dryden;
Scudéry and La Calprenède continued to be most popular French authors
during the century. Even in the next we find something remaining of
their fame. Among the books in the library of the fashionable Leonora,
Addison notices: "'Cassandra,' 'Cleopatra,' 'Astræa' ... the 'Grand
Cyrus,' with a pin stuck in one of the middle leaves ... 'Clelia,' which
opened of it self in the place that describes two lovers in a
bower,"[351] &c. The passions in them which seem to us now so incredibly
frigid, had not yet cooled down; their warmth was still felt: so much so
that in one of Farquhar's plays, "Cassandra" is mentioned as greatly
responsible for Lady Lurewell's first and greatest fault, the beginning
of many others: "After supper I went to my chamber and read 'Cassandra,'
then went to bed and dreamt of it all night, rose in the morning and
made verses ..."[352] We cannot follow her in her account of the

All that was truly noble and simple in French literature was known, but
at the same time generally misunderstood in England. To make French
authors acceptable, grossness was added to Molière, bombast to Racine;
even Otway, when translating "Bérénice," transformed Racine's "Titus"
into a bully of romance who, in order to assuage his grief, goes to
overrun "the Universe" and make "the worlds" as wretched as he is.[353]
Madame de la Fayette had shown how it was possible to copy from life, in
a novel, true heroism and true tenderness without exaggeration; her
exquisite masterpiece was translated of course as was everything then
that was French; but oblivion soon gathered round the "Princess of
Cleve," and the only proof we have that it did not pass unnoticed is a
clumsy play by Lee, in which this best of old French novels is
mercilessly caricatured.[354] There was no attempt to imitate the
Comtesse's pure and perfect style and high train of thought.


Reaction against the heroical romances did not wait, however, till the
eighteenth century to assert itself in England; it set in early and very
amusingly: but it remained powerless. As the evil had chiefly come from
France, so did the remedy; but the remedy in France proved sufficient
for a cure. In that country at all times the tale had flourished, and at
all times in the tale, to the detriment of chivalry and heroism, writers
had prided themselves on seeking mere truth. Thus, in the charming
preface of the Reine de Navarre's "Heptaméron," Dame Parlamente
establishes the theory of these narratives, and relates how, at the
court, it had been decided to write a series of them, but to exclude
from the number of their authors "those who should have studied and be
men of letters; for Monseigneur the Dauphin did not wish their artifice
to be introduced into them, and was also afraid lest the beauty of
rhetoric should in some place injure the truth of the tale."

In the seventeenth century, the tradition of the old story-tellers is
carried on in France in more developed writings, in actual novels, such
as the "Baron de Foeneste" of D'Aubigné, 1617; the "Francion" of Charles
Sorel, 1622(?); the "Berger extravagant" of the same, 1628; the "Roman
Comique" of Scarron, 1651; the "Roman bourgeois" of Furetière, 1666, and
many others. Scarron, who had travestied Virgil, was not the man to
spare La Calprenède, and he does not lose his opportunity. "I cannot
exactly tell you," he writes of one of his characters, "whether he had
sup'd that night, or went to bed empty, as some Romance-mongers use to
do, who regulate all their heroes' actions, making them rise early, and
tell on their story till dinner time, then dine lightly, and after their
meal proceed in the discourse: or else retire to some shady grove to
talk by themselves, unless they have something to discover to the rocks
and trees."

Furetière, writing in the same spirit, declares that he wishes to
concern himself with "persons who are neither heroes nor heroines, who
will neither raise armies nor overturn kingdoms; but who will be good
people of middling rank who quietly go on their usual way, of whom some
are handsome and others plain, some wise and others foolish; and the
latter have the appearance indeed of forming the greatest number."[355]

Without speaking of the more important works of Cervantes and
Rabelais,[356] most of these novels were translated into English, and in
the same spirit as they had been written, that is, to be used as engines
of war against heroes and heroism. "The French themselves," writes one
of the translators, "our first romantique masters ... have given over
making the world otherwise than it was; are now come to represent it to
us as it is and ever will be."[357] "Among all the books that ever were
thought on," writes another, who curiously enough had about the same
opinion of the favourite novels of his time as Sidney had had of the
drama a century earlier, "those of knight errantry and shepherdry have
been so excellently trivial and naughty, that it would amuse a good
judgment to consider into what strange and vast absurdities some
imaginations have straggled ... the Knight constantly killing the gyant,
or it may be whole squadrons; the Damosel certainly to be relieved just
upon the point of ravishing; a little childe carried away out of his
cradle after some twenty years discovered to be the sone of some great
prince; a girl after seven years wandring and co-habiting and being
stole, confirmed to be a virgin, either by a panterh, fire or a
fountain, and lastly all ending in marriage ... These are the noble
entertainments of books of this kinde, which how profitable they are,
you may judge; how pernicious 'tis easily seen, if they meet but with
an intentive melancholy and a spirit apt to be overborn by such
follies;"[358] a spirit, in fact, such as Lady Lurewell's, whose reading
of "Cassandra" had, as we have seen, such remarkable consequences.[359]


Efforts made in England to imitate this style and to lead, by means of
the romance itself, a reaction against the false heroism that the
romance had introduced, proved sadly abortive. These attempts have
fallen into a still more profound oblivion than those of the
story-tellers of Shakespeare's time. The English were not yet masters of
the supple, crisp and animated language which suited that kind of tale,
and which the French possessed from the thirteenth century. A few
original minds like Sidney in his "Apologie" had employed it; but they
formed rare exceptions, and in the seventeenth century most men
continued to like either the pompous prose with its Latin periods, held
in highest honour by Bacon, or the various kinds of flowery prose used
by Lodge, Greene, Shakespeare and Sidney. So the romance writers who
attempted to bring about a reaction received no encouragement and were
forgotten less from want of merit than because even their
contemporaries paid no attention to them. Thinking to open up a new
path, they got entangled in a blind alley where they were left. The
ground was to be broken anew by more robust hands than theirs, the hands
of Defoe.

Some of these attempts however are worthy of attention, notably one in
which imitation of Scarron and Furetière is to be found, entitled "The
Adventures of Covent Garden."[360] The scene is laid in London among the
cultivated upper middle class: life is so realistically represented,
that this work, now entirely unknown, is one of those that best aid us
to re-constitute that society in which Dryden, Wycherley and Otway

Peregrine, the hero of the tale, spends his evenings at the "Rose" or at
"Will's," Dryden's favourite coffee-house, or at the theatre, where the
"Indian Emperor," one of Dryden's heroic dramas, was being played. With
the Lady Selinda, in whose box he sits, he discusses the merits of the
play, the value of the French rules and the license of Shakespeare and
Ben Jonson. Many interesting remarks occur in these conversations which
seem put in writing after nature, and are very curious in the history of
literature. If they do not exactly recall the Molière of the "Critique
de l'Ecole des Femmes," they will recall Furetière, no insignificant
praise. It is, besides, a compliment difficult to apply to any other
English novelist of the period. Here is a specimen of literary criticism
if not deep, at least lively, such as was going on at the play, or in
the drawing-rooms at the time of the Restoration:

"You criticks, said Selinda, make a mighty sputter about exactness of
plot, unity of time, place and I know not what, which I can never find
do any play the least good (Peregrine smiled at her female ignorance).
But, she continued, I have one thing to offer in this dispute, which I
think sufficient to convince you. I suppose the chief design of plays is
to please the people,[361] and get the playhouse and poet a livelihood?

"You must pardon me, madam, replyed Peregrine, Instruction is the
business of plays.

"Sir, said the lady, make it the business of the audience first to be
pleased with instruction, and then I shall allow you it to be the chief
end of plays.

"But, suppose, madam, said he, that I grant what you lay down.

"Then sir, answered she, you must allow that whatever plays most exactly
answer this aforesaid end are most exact plays. Now I can instance you
many plays, as all those by Shakespeare and Johnson, and the most of Mr.
Dryden's which you criticks quarrel at as irregular, which nevertheless
still continue to please the audience and are a continual support to the
Theatre. There is very little of your unity of time in any of them, yet
they never fail to answer the proposed end very successfully....
Certainly, these rules are ill understood, or our nature has changed
since they were made, for we find they have no such effects now as they
had formerly. For instance, I am told the 'Double Dealer' and 'Plot and
no Plot' are two very exact plays, as you call them, yet all their unity
of time, place and action neither pleased the audience nor got the poets
money. A late play called 'Beauty in distress,'[362] in which the author
no doubt sweat as much in confining the whole play to one scene, as the
scene-drawers should, were it to be changed a hundred times, this play
had indeed a commendatory copy from Mr. Dryden, but I think he had
better have altered the scene and pleased the audience; in short, had
these plays been a little more exact as you call it, they had all been
exactly damn'd."

Further, some traits of character almost worthy of Fielding are to be
remarked in the course of the tale, though, it is true, it grows
confused towards the end, and touches the melodramatic in the same way
as Nash's novel. Thus the above conversation is interrupted by the
entrance of the coquette Emilia, long before loved by Peregrine who had
vainly asked for her hand. "Peregrine would have answered, but a pluck
by the sleeve obliged him to turn from Selinda to entertain a lady
mask'd who had given him the nudg. He presently knew her to be Emilia,
who whispered him in the ear: I find sir, what Guyomar said just now is
very true:

    That love which first took root will first decay;
    That of a fresher date will longer stay.

Peregrine tho surprised was pleased with her pretty reprimand, being
delivered without any anger, _but in murmuring, complaining accents,
which never fail to move_ ..."

Thus again, Peregrine goes to the famous St. Bartholomew fair, which was
still, as in Ben Jonson's time, a place of general meeting. "Lord C." is
there discovered, who had a masked lady with him; she pulls off her mask
and smiles at Peregrine, who again recognizes Emilia. The mixed
impressions that this sight makes on the hero are analysed in these

"He took a secret pride in rivalling so great a man, and it confirmed
his great opinion of Emilia's beauty to see her admir'd by so
accomplish't a person and absolute a courtier as my lord C. These
considerations augmenting his love increased his jealousy also, and
every little familiarity that my Lord us'd, heightened his love to her
and hatred to his Lordship; he lov'd her for being admir'd by my Lord,
yet hated my Lord for loving her."

The vain woman for her part is sufficiently interested in Peregrine to
put a stop to a dawning passion which she discovers in him for another
woman, and which might have ended in a marriage; but not at any rate
enough to repay his sacrifice by true love. Emilia's artifices are
studied with much skill, and the author seems, here too, to be imitating
nature, and recounting personal experiences: "_Quorum pars magna fui_,"
as he says on the title-page of his book. At one time Emilia feels that
Peregrine is escaping her; what does she conceive will keep him attached
to her? At such a crisis she is shrewd enough not to resort to vulgar
coquetries, feeling that they are no longer in season. With excellent
instinct she guesses that the only means of recovering possession of
honest Peregrine is to appeal to his good heart: instead of promising
him her favours, she asks of him a service. Peregrine would have
despised himself had he not rendered it, and it is only afterwards that
he perceives his chain is by this means newly forged. Emilia has fixed
ideas on the usefulness of men of this sort, and puts them very clearly
before Lord C. Only unsubstantial favours must ever be granted them, in
order that the favours by which they see their rivals profit, may not
give them too gloomy suspicions. They are very useful for defending
publicly their mistress' honour; they must if possible be men of a lofty
and refined mind, for only such persons are simple enough to feed their
passions on nothing.

The direct satire and caricature of heroical novels in the style of
Scudéry and La Calprenède, which had been also practised in France, is
to be found in a few English tales, of which the best, as entirely
forgotten as the worst, is entitled "Zelinda, an excellent new romance,
translated from the French of Monsieur de Scudéry."[363] With an amusing
unconcern, and a very lively pen, the author hastens, on the first
page, to give the lie to his title, and to inveigh against the
impertinences of publishers in general. "Book-sellers too are grown such
saucy masterly companions, they do even what they please; my friend Mr.
Bentley calls this piece an excellent romance; there I confess his
justice and ingenuity. But then he stiles it a translation, when (as
Sancho Panca said in another case) 'tis no more so then the mother that
bore me. Ingrateful to envy his friend's fame.... But I write not for
glory, nor self-interest, nor to gratifie kindness nor revenge. Now the
impertinent critical reader will be ready to ask, for what then? For
that and all other questions to my prejudice, I will borrow Mr. Bays's
answer and say, Because--I gad sir, I will not tell you--I desire to
please but one person in the world, and, as one dedicates his labours
and heroes to Calista, another to Urania, &c., at the feet of her my
adored Celia, I lay all my giants and monsters."

There follows a story in the manner of Scudéry, the plot of which,
however, is drawn not from Scudéry, but from Voiture,[364] and which is
treated in a playful accent, and with an air of persiflage that reminds
us of Byron's tone when relating the adventures of Don Juan. It is
Voiture indeed, but Voiture turned inside-out. As with Byron, the
raillery is from time to time interrupted by poetical flights, and, as
with him, licentious scenes abound and are described with peculiar

Alcidalis and Zelinda, both pursued by a contrary fate, adore one
another, but at a distance: for tempests, pirates, family feuds separate
them, according to the classical standard of the grave romances of the
day. They mutually seek one another; Alcidalis, who only dreams of
Zelinda, has every good fortune he does not want. He believes his
_fiancée_ has been married to an elderly Italian duke distractedly in
love with the young princess: "As we are never so fond of flowers, as in
the beginning of spring, or towards the end of autumne; the first for
their novelty, and the others because we think we shall see them no
more: so the pleasures of love are at no time so dear to us as in the
beginning of our youth and the approaches of our age." Alcidalis,
deceiving the jealous vigilance of the duke, makes the tour of a
promontory in a boat by night, climbs to a window by means of a
rope-ladder, and in the second visit gains the favour of the duchess,
who was not at all the lady whom he thought to find. "Ye gods! do I
again behold the fair Zelinda? cries Alcidalis in his joy (a very
pertinent question, for it is to be remembred there was no light)."

Very unseasonably the husband arrives; Alcidalis has as much difficulty
in escaping as Don Juan; and the duchess, just like the first mistress
of Byron's hero, bursts out into reproaches against her bewildered
husband, who has much trouble to obtain her pardon. "O woman! woman!"
continues the author in an apostrophe Byron would not have disowned;
"thou dark abysse of subtility; 'tis easier to trace a wandring swallow
through the pathless air, then to explicate the crafty wyndings of thy
love or malice."

During this time, Alcidalis in flight, comes "to the sea side, where a
ship being just ready to leave the port (for that must never be wanting
to a hero upon a ramble)," he gets on board and resumes his search for
the true Zelinda. He encounters many new adventures, and in a battle
dangerously wounds a warrior. This warrior is a woman, Zelinda herself.
The lovers recognize one another, embrace, and relate their adventures.
Alcidalis omits nothing except the episode of the duchess, and shows
himself as fond a lover as at starting: "Were I racked to ten thousand
pieces, as every part of a broken mirrour presents an entire face, in
every part of Alcidalis would appear the bright image of my adored
Zelinda." At length they are married; the couple recline at their
banquet of love, "and if no other pen raises them, they shall lye there
till Doomsday."


Thus in two different ways a reaction showed itself against the
literature in fashion, and the merits of those who attempted it only
made its failure the more felt. The caricature of the heroic romance and
the attempt at the novel of common life were without effect. Their
authors had come too soon, and remained isolated; the false heroism now
scoffed at in France continued in England until the eighteenth century.
The writers under Queen Anne, in order to destroy it, were obliged to
recommence the whole campaign. Addison, as we have seen, found heroism
still in fashion, and the great romances in their places in ladies'
libraries. They were still being reprinted. There is, for example, an
English edition of "Cassandra" dated 1725, and one of "Cleopatra" dated
1731. Fielding saw heroism still in possession of the stage, and he
satirized it in his amusing "Tom Thumb." Carey attacked it in his

The hundred years which follow Shakespeare's death are, therefore, taken
altogether, a period of little invention and progress for romance
literature. The only new development it takes, consists in the
exaggeration of the heroic element, of which there was enough already in
many an Elizabethan novel; it consists, in fact, in the magnifying of a
defect. The imitation of France only resulted in absurd productions
which were so successful and filled the literary stage so entirely that
they left no space for other kinds of romances. In vain did a few
intelligent persons, such as the authors of "The Adventures of Covent
Garden" and of "Zelinda," attempt to bring about a reaction; their words
found no echo. The other kinds of novels started in Shakespearean times
continued to be cultivated, but were not improved. The picaresque
romance as Nash had understood it, includes in the seventeenth century
no original specimen but Richard Head's "English Rogue,"[366] one of
the worst compositions in this style to be found in any literature. The
allegorical, social, and political novel, as inaugurated by Sir Thomas
More, continued by Bacon, by Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich, and by
Godwin,[367] that novel which was to gain new life in the hands of Swift
and Johnson, is, if we except Bunyan's eloquent manual of devotion,
mainly represented in the second half of the century by barren
allegories, such as Harrington's "Oceana," 1656, and Ingelow's
"Bentivolio and Urania," 1660; or by short stories like "The perplex'd
Prince," "The Court Secret," &c.[368] When we have read ten pages of
these it is difficult to speak of them with coolness and without an
aggressive animosity towards their authors.

Persistent and close analysis of human emotion and of the passion of
love in the way in which Sir Philip Sidney had caught sight of it,
disappeared from the novel until the day when a second "Pamela" was to
figure on the literary stage, and to fill with emotion all London and
Paris, down even to Crébillon fils, who was to write to Lord
Chesterfield: "Without 'Pamela' we should not know what to read or to
say." And at reading it, the author of "The Sopha" was "moved to tears."

One work alone was published towards the end of the century in which an
original thought is to be found, the "Oroonoko"[369] of Mrs. Behn. The
sentiment that animates it is of another epoch, and belongs to a quite
peculiar class of novel; with her begins the philosophical novel,
crowded with dissertations on the world and humanity, on the vanity of
religions, the innocence of negroes, and the purity of savages. These
are the ideas of Rousseau before Rousseau: other ideas of Rousseau had
been, as we have seen, anticipated, in the history of the novel, by

Remains of the ordinary heroic style are of course not wanting. Being
love-struck Oroonoko, an African negro, well read in the classics,
refuses to fight, and following Achilles' example, retires to his tent.
"For the world, said he, it was a trifle not worth his care. Go,
continued he, sighing, and divide it amongst you, and reap with joy what
you so vainly prize!" In trying to carry out this advice his companions
are utterly routed, until after two days Oroonoko consents to take up
his arms again, and the victors are at once all put to flight.
Oroonoko's death is also in the heroical style, but a peculiar sort of
heroism which recalls Scudéry, and at the same time Fenimore Cooper.

But more striking are the parts in which the manners of the savages are
compared to those of civilized nations. "Everything is well," Rousseau
was to say later, "when it comes fresh from the hands of the Maker of
things; everything degenerates in the hands of man."[370] Mrs. Behn
expressed many years before the very same ideas; her Oroonoko has been
educated by a Frenchman who "was a man of very little religion, yet he
had admirable morals and a brave soul," an ancestor obviously of
Rousseau himself, and a fit tutor for this black "Emile." The aborigines
of Surinam live in a state of perfection which reminds Mrs. Behn of Adam
and Eve before the fall: "These people represented to me an absolute
idea of the first state of innocence, before man knew how to sin: and
'tis most evident and plain that single nature is the most harmless,
inoffensive and virtuous mistress. 'Tis she alone, if she were
permitted, that better instructs the world than all the inventions of
man. Religion would here but destroy that tranquillity they possess by
ignorance, and laws would but teach 'em to know offences of which now
they have no notion. They made once mourning and fasting for the death
of the English governor who had given his hand to come on such a day to
'em and neither came nor sent; believing when a man's word is past,
nothing but death could or should prevent his keeping it."

The words "humanity," "mankind," are repeated also with a frequency
worthy of Rousseau, and the religion of humanity is set in opposition to
the religion of God with a clearness foreshadowing the theories of
Auguste Comte. When the sea captain refuses to take the word of Oroonoko
as a pledge equivalent to his own, "which if he should violate, he must
expect eternal torments in the world to come,"--"Is that all the
obligations he has to be just to his oath? replyed Oroonoko. Let him
know, I swear by my honour; which to violate, would not only render me
contemptible and despised by all brave and honest men, and so give me
perpetual pain, but it would be eternally offending and displeasing to
all mankind, harming, betraying, circumventing and outraging all

Most of these ideas, including an embryo-taste for landscape painting,
were to be cherished and eloquently defended by Rousseau. Mrs. Behn, as
a novelist, can only be studied with the authors of the middle of the
eighteenth century; she carries us at once beyond the times of Defoe,
Richardson, and Fielding, and takes us among the precursors of the
French Revolution. With the change she foreshadows, philosophy and
social science are perhaps more concerned than the novel proper.

It can, all things considered, be stated with truth that, between the
age of Elizabeth, and the age of Anne and the Georges, there is in the
history of the novel a long period of semi-stagnation. The seventeenth
century, which furnishes hardly any important name, added very little,
apart from an exaggerated heroism, to the art of the novel. Defoe,
Richardson and Fielding are, as novelists, more nearly related to the
men of the time of Shakespeare than to the men of the time of Dryden.
They have been thus so completely separated from their literary
ancestors that the connection has been usually forgotten. It cannot,
however, be doubted.

Now that we have carried so far this sketch of the history of the early
English novel, as far indeed as the time of writers whose works are
still our daily reading, we have to take leave of our heroes, picaroons,
and monsters, of Arthur and Lancelot, Euphues and Menaphon, Pyrocles and
Rosalind, Jack Wilton and Peregrine, Oroontades and Parthenissa; nor let
us forget to include in this farewell our Lamias, Mantichoras, dragons,
and all the menagerie of Topsell and of Lyly. Mummified, buried and
forgotten as most of these romances have long been, they managed somehow
not to die childless, but left behind them the seed of better things.
"No, those days are gone away," says Keats, thinking of the legends of
early times,

    "And their hours are old and grey,
     And their minutes buried all
     Under the down trodden pall
     Of the leaves of many years....
     Gone, the merry morris din;
     Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
     Gone, the tough-belted outlaw;
     All are gone away and past."

With them many reputations are gone. White fingers circled with gold no
longer turn over the pages of "Euphues" or "Arcadia." But the writings
of the descendants of Greene and Nash and Sidney afford endless delight
to-day. And that is why these old authors deserve not the lip-tribute of
cold respect, but the heart's offering of warmest gratitude; for they
have had the most numerous and the most brilliant posterity, perhaps the
most loved, that literary initiators have ever had in any time or

[Illustration: AQUARIUS.]


[312] London, 1619, fol., translated by Anthony Munday (first edition of
first part, 1590, 4to). Another translation of the same romance was made
by F. Kirkman, and published in 1652, 4to.

[313] Advertised by Ch. Bates at the end of "the history of Guy earl of
Warwick," London, 1680 (?), 4to (illustrated).

[314] From a chap-book of the eighteenth century: "History of Guy earl
of Warwick," 1750(?).

[315] "De la Lecture des vieux romans," by Jean Chapelain, ed. Feillet,
Paris, 1870, 8vo.

[316] Edition of the "Grands Ecrivains de la France," vol. ii. pp. 529
and 535.

[317] 12th July, 1671, "Grands Ecrivains," vol. ii. p. 277. A few days
before, on the 5th, she had been writing: "Je suis revenue à 'Cléopatre'
... et par le bonheur que j'ai de n'avoir point de mémoire, cette
lecture me divertit encore. Cela est épouvantable, mais vous savez que
je ne m'accommode guere bien de toutes les pruderies qui ne me sont pas
naturelles, et comme celle de ne pas aimer ces livres là ne m'est pas
encore entièrement arrivée, je me laisse divertir sous le pretexte de
mon fils qui m'a mise en train."

[318] "L'heure de la veille de Pasques, à laquelle le Roy devoit
recevoir le baptesme de la main de S. Remy estant venue, il s'y présenta
avec une contenance relevée, une démarche grave, un port majestueux,
très richement vestu, musqué, poudré, la perruque pendante, curieusement
peignée, gauffrée, ondoiante, crespée et parfumée, selon la coustume des
anciens rois Francois" ("Histoire Générale de France," Paris, 1634, vol.
i. p. 58).

[319] "Traicté de l'Economie politique," Rouen, 1615, 4to.


    "Soit que le blond Phoebus, sortant du creux de l'onde
     Vienne recolorer le visage du monde;
     Soit que de rays plus chauds il enflame le jour,
     Ou qu'il s'aille coucher en l'humide séjour,
     Il ne void un seul homme en ce monde habitable
     Qui soit en tout bon-heur avec moi comparable:
     Ma gloire est sans pareille, et si quelqu'un des Dieux
     Vouloit faire à la terre un eschange des cieux,
     Et venir habiter sous le rond de la lune,
     Il se contenteroit de ma belle fortune."

"Aman ou la vanité"; "Tragédies d'Antoine de Montchrestien," Rouen,
1601, 8vo.


    "Outre qu'on m'a vu naistre avec une couronne,
     La fortune qui m'aime est celle qui les donne,
     Et sans prendre la leur, ce bras a le pouvoir
     De m'en acquérir cent, si je les veux avoir.
     Mais souffrez mon discours, il est pour votre gloire;
     Je suy, je suy l'Amour et non pas la Victoire."

("L'amour tirannique," 1640. Speech by Tiridate.)

    "Je tiens en mon pouvoir les sceptres et la mort;
     Je t'arracherais l'un, je te donnerais l'autre ...
     Mais j'ay cette faiblesse," &c. ("Ibrahim," 1645.)

[322] Boileau, "Les héros de romans, dialogue à la manière de Lucien,"
written in 1664, published 1713, but well known before in literary
drawing-rooms, where Boileau used himself to read it aloud.

[323] _I.e._, Mme. du Plessis Guénégaud, who figures in "Clélie" under
this name. "Letter to Pompone, Nov. 18, 1664."

[324] Scudéry's preface to "Ibrahim, or the illustrious bassa ...
englished by Henry Cogan," London, 1652, fol.

[325] "Cassandre," vol. i book v.

[326] By William Prynne, London, 1628, 4to.

[327] Preface to "Artamenes, or the Grand Cyrus," London, 1653-1654,
five vols. fol.

[328] "Astrea ... translated by a person of quality," _i.e._, J.
D[avies?], London, 1657-8, 3 vols. fol.; prefaces to vols. i and ii.
Dramas with their plots taken from "Astrée" were written in England and
in France, such as "Tragi-comédie pastorale ou les amours d'Astrée ...
par le Sieur de Rayssiguier," Paris, 1632, 8vo; "Astrea, or true love's
mirrour, a pastoral," by Leonard Willan. London, 1651, 8vo.

[329] "The Grand Scipio ... by Monsieur de Vaumoriere, rendered into
English by G. H.," London, 1660, fol.

[330] "Loveday's letters, domestick and foreign," seventh impression.
London, 1684, 8vo, p. 146 (first edition 1659).

[331] By Scudéry, translated by J. Philips, London, 1677, fol. part ii.
bk. ii. p. 166. Books entirely made up of "conversations" were published
by Mdlle. de Scudéry, treating of pleasures, of passions, of the
knowledge of others and of ourselves, &c. They read very much like
dialogued essays; and it is interesting to compare them with Addison's
essays which treat sometimes of the same subjects. They were received
with great applause; Madame de Sévigné highly praises them. They were
translated into English: "Conversations upon several subjects, ... done
into English by F. Spence," London, 1683, 2 vol. 12mo.

[332] About this curious little society see Mr. Gosse's "Seventeenth
Century Studies," 1883, pp. 205 _et seq._

[333] "_Cathos_: Le nom de Polixène que ma cousine a choisi et celui
d'Aminte que je me suis donné ont une grâce dont il faut que vous
demeuriez d'accord" ("Précieuses Ridicules," sc. v.).

[334] "Natures pictures," London, 1656, fol., preface No. 2.

[335] Her "Playes," 1662, are preceded by two dedications, one prologue,
and _eleven_ prefaces.

[336] "CCXI. Sociable Letters," London, 1664, fol.

[337] "Lives of the Poets ... to the time of Dean Swift," London. 1753,
5 vols. 12mo; vol. ii. p. 164.

[338] "Letters from Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple, 1652-4," ed.
Parry, London, 1888, 8vo. Letter ix. p. 60; Letter x. p. 64; Letter
xxiv. p. 124, year 1653.

[339] May 13, 1666; Feb. 24, 1667-8; Nov. 16, 1668.

[340] Letter xxxiv. p. 162. Year 1653.

[341] "Parthenissa, that most fam'd romance," London, 1654.

[342] He assisted her in getting her translation of Corneille's "Pompée"
represented at Dublin with embellishments, consisting in dances, music,
songs, &c. He was born in 1621 and was held in great esteem both by
Cromwell and by the Stuarts. He left dramas and other works and died in

[343] "British Novelists," by David Masson, Cambridge, 1859, 8vo. p. 72.

[344] Letter LI. p. 236, year 1654.

[345] P. 54. Part of the tale, viz.: the adventures of Brandon, supplied
Otway with the plot of his "Orphan" (performed 1680).

[346] "Pandion and Amphigenia, or the history of the coy lady or
Thessalia adorned with sculptures," London, 1665, 8vo. Crowne died about
1703; his dramatic works have been published in four vols., 1873.

[347] Pp. 140, 141.

[348] "Almanzor and Almahide, or the Conquest of Granada," performed
(with great success) in the winter, 1669-70, act iii. sc. 1.

[349] Settle's "Empress of Morocco," London, 1673, 4to. The engraving we
reproduce represents the interior of a Moorish prison, with Muley Labas,
son of the Emperor of Morocco, and the Princess Morena.

[350] "Andromache, a tragedy, as it is acted at the Dukes Theatre,"
London, 1675, 4to.

[351] _Spectator_, April 12, 1711.

[352] "The Constant Couple, or a trip to the Jubilee," 1700, act iii.,
last scene.

[353] "Titus and Berenice; a tragedy," 1677.

[354] "The Princess of Montpensier," 1666; "The Princess of Cleve ...
written by the greatest wits of France, rendred into English by a person
of quality at the request of some friends," 1688: "Zayde," 1688. Nat.
Lee's play is entitled, "The Princess of Cleve," London, 1689, 4to. As
to the popularity of this novel in France, it will be enough to notice
Madame de Sévigné's allusion to "ce chien de Barbin," who does not
fulfil her orders when she wants books, because she does not write "des
Princesses de Clèves."

[355] "Je ne vous dirai pas exactement s'il avait soupé et s'il se
coucha sans manger comme font quelques faiseurs de romans qui règlent
toutes les heures du jour de leurs héros, les font se lever de bon
matin, confer leur histoire jusqu'à l'heure du dîner, reprendre leur
histoire ou s'enfoncer dans un bois pour y aller parler tout seuls, si
ce n'est quand ils out quelque chose à dire aux arbres et aux rochers"
("Roman comique," chap. ix. ed. 1825).

"Je vous raconteray sincèrement et avec fidélité plusieurs historiettes
et galanteries arrivées entre des personnes qui ne seront ny héros ny
héroïnes, qui ne dresseront point d'armées, ny ne renverseront point de
royaumes, mais qui seront de ces bonnes gens de médiocre condition, qui
vont tout doucement leur grand chemin, dont les uns seront beaux et les
autres laids, les uns sages et les autres sots; et ceux-cy out bien la
mine de composer le plus grand nombre" ("Roman bourgeois," ed. Janet, p.

[356] Rabelais by Urquhart, London, 1653, 8vo; Cervantes in 1612; and
again by T. Shelton in 1620 and by J. Philips, 1687.

[357] Scarron's "Comical romance: or a facetious history of a company of
strowling stage-players," London, 1676, fol. Preface to the
continuation. The translator is at some pains to anglicize his original;
when Scarron speaks of Paris, the translator puts London; Ragotin is
heard defending Spenser (chapter xv.). The poet in Scarron brags of his
acquaintance with Corneille and Rotrou, and in the English text, with
Shakespeare, Fletcher, and Jonson (chap. viii.). There were other
translations of Scarron: "The whole comical works of M. Scarron,"
translated by Mr. T. Brown, Mr. Savage, and others, London, 1700, 8vo;
"The comic romance," translated by O. Goldsmith, Dublin, 1780(?) 2 vol.
12mo. His shorter novels or stories were separately translated by John
Davies, who states in the preface of "The unexpected Choice," London,
1670, that he did so at the suggestion of the late Catherine Philips,
the matchless Orinda.

[358] "The extravagant Shepherd, the anti-romance, or the history of the
shepherd Lysis," London, 1653, another edition 1660. Strange to say,
besides some adaptations from Spanish authors ("La Picara," 1665; "Donna
Rosina," 1700?), a translation of Voiture's Letters, 1657, the same John
Davies of Kidwelly, who had written this eloquent appeal against
heroical romances, translated "Clelia," 1656, and part of "Cleopatra" in
conjunction with Loveday.

[359] See also in Furetière's "Roman bourgeois" how the reading of
"Astrée" made of Javotte "la plus grande causeuse et la plus coquette
fille du quartier" (Ed. Janet, i. p. 173).

[360] "The Adventures of Covent Garden, in imitation of Scarron's city
romance," London, 1699, 16mo. "Scarron" is here evidently for
"Furetière." This work, the author of which is unknown, has long been
forgotten, though deserving a better fate. It is dedicated "to all my
ingenious acquaintance at Will's coffee-house."

[361] _Cf._ Molière: "Je voudrais bien savoir si la grande règle de
toutes les règles n'est pas de plaire, et si une pièce de théâtre qui a
attrapé son but n'a pas suivi un bon chemin.... Laissons nous aller de
bonne foi aux choses qui nous prennent par les entrailles et ne
cherchons point de raisonnements pour nous empècher d'avoir du plaisir"
("Critique de l'Ecole des Femmes," sc. 7).

[362] "Double Dealer," by Congreve; "Plot and no Plot," by Dennis;
"Beauty in distress," by Motteux.

[363] By T. D., perhaps T. Duffet (Bullen), London, Bentley, 1676, 12mo.

[364] From his "Histoire d'Alcidalis et Zélide." Voiture had begun it in
1633 in the style fashionable at the Hôtel de Rambouillet, and even, as
he pretends, with the help of Mdlle. de Rambouillet, to whom it is
dedicated. It was left unfinished and was published after his death,
being completed by Desbarres. A regular translation of it was published
in English in 1678.

[365] These two pieces which appeared in 1730 and 1734 are not, as is
often stated, caricatures of classical tragedy. In the same way as the
Duke of Buckingham in his "Rehearsal" (1671), Fielding and Carey
ridicule heroic drama, born of romance _à la_ Scudéry, as Dryden and his
followers had understood it.

[366] "The English Rogue described in the life of Meriton Latroon,"
London, 1665, 8vo, continued by F. Kirkman, 1661, _et seq._, 4 vols.
(reprinted by Pearson).

[367] The "Mundus alter et idem," by Hall, was written about 1600, and
appeared some years later on the continent, without date. "The Man in
the Moon or a discourse of a voyage thither," by F. Godwin, appeared in
1638, and was translated into French, which allowed Cyrano de Bergerac
to become acquainted with it: "L'Homme dans la Lune ou le voyage
chimérique fait au monde de la Lune" ... by Dominique Gonzalès (pseud.),
Paris, 1648, 8vo. The translation is by that same Baudoin who had
already turned Sidney's "Arcadia" into French. Barclay's "Argenis"
belongs to European rather than to English literature.

[368] "The perplex'd Prince," by T. S. In this romance Westenia is
Wales; Otenia, England; Bogland, Scotland; the amours of Charles II. and
those of the Duke of York (the Prince of Purdino) are related in it
under fictitious names. "The Court Secret," 1689; Selim I. and Selim II.
represent Charles I. and Charles II.; Cha-abas, Louis XIV., &c. In
"Oceana," Parthenia is Queen Elizabeth; Morpheus, James I.; in Ingelow's
work, Bentivolio represents "Good will," and Urania "Heavenly light."
"Oceana" and "Bentivolio" are didactic treatises rather than romances;
the first is a political treatise, and the second a religious treatise,
an enormous morality in prose. "The Pilgrim's Progress" must be placed
among religious literature properly so-called, as being its master-work
in England.

[369] "The plays histories and novels of the ingenious Mrs. Aphra Behn,"
London (Pearson's reprint), 1871, 6 vols., 8vo, vol. i. "Oroonoko or the
royal slave," first printed, 1698. The adventures and virtues of
Oroonoko made him very popular; his story was transferred to the stage
by Th. Southern; his life was translated into German, and into French
(by La Place, 1745). Mrs. Behn's other novels show much less
originality. She died in 1689.

[370] Beginning of "Emile."

[371] "Oroonoko," _ibid._, pp. 121, 79, 135.




Acolastus, 316

Actors, Nash on, 316;
  as playwrights, 156-158

Addison, 25, 381, 396, 412

"Adventures of Covent Garden," 404-408;

"Alcida," Greene's, 112, 155

Alexander, poem imitated from the French romance, 39

Alfarache, Guzman d', 292, 293, 294

Alfred, literature under, 33

"Almahide," 370

"Almanzor and Almahide," 392

Amadis of Gaul, Munday's translation of, 349

Amourists, The, 245

"Anatomie of Absurditie," Nash's, 169 _note_, 279

Andrews, Dr., Sermons by, 382

"Andromaque," Racine's, English translation of, 395, 396

Angennes, Julie d', 352

Anglo-Saxons, songs and legends of the, 32;
  gloom of the literature of the, 33, 34

"Apologie for Poetrie," Sidney's, 229-233; 235, 254, 255, 301

Apulæus, 86

"Arbasto," 155; 175-178

"Arcadia," Sidney's, 226, 229;
  account and criticism of, 234-262;
  popularity, imitations and translations of, 262-283;
  criticised in the eighteenth century by Addison, Cowper and Young,
  Milton's and Horace Walpole's criticism of, 272;
  Niceron on, 283;
  drawings from editions of, 16, 17, 273, 275, 277

"Arcadianism," Dekker and Ben Jonson on, 261

Arcady, land of, 218, 219

Architecture, Elizabethan, 12, 99, 100, 101, 102

Aretino, 298, 348

"Argalus and Parthenia," Quarles', 16, 264, 267;
  as a chap-book, 271-275

D'Argenson's opinion of England, 24

"Ariosto," 43, 173, 237, 363;
  Harington's translation of, 13, 76, 77, 79, 80, 366

"Arisbas," Dickenson's, 146

Arthur, the Celtic hero, 39;
  and his knights, 35

Arundel, Earl of, 159

Ascham, Roger, denounces foreign travel and literature, 71, 72, 73, 74,
    75, 79 _note_, 85, 318;
  condemns Morte d'Arthur, 63, 74;
  on the study of Greek and Latin, 87, 88;
  his views on the old romances endorsed by Nash, 307, 308

"Astrée," d'Urfé's, 205, 247, 364, 365

"Astrophel and Stella," 229, 233, 234

D'Aubigné, 398

"Aucassin and Nicolete," 36, 37, 59, 60, 353


Bacon, Francis, 24, 43;
  "New Atlantis," 50;
  and English prose, 52;
  essay on Gardens, 241; 300, 403, 413

Bacon, Friar, stories about, 28

Bandello, 81 _note_, 86, 147

"Baron de Foeneste," 398

Baudoin, translation of Sidney's "Arcadia" into French, 276-280

Baxter's "Sir Philip Sidney's Ourania," 262

Beattie, 26

Beckett, engraver, 19

Behn, Mrs., 414-417

Bell's "Theatre," engraving from, 14, 97

Belleforest's tales translated and imitated by Paynter, 86;
  "Histoires tragiques," 147

"Bentivolio and Urania," Ingelow's, 413

"Beowulf," the oldest English romance, 11;
  fac-simile of the beginning of the MS., 31; 33, 34;
  want of tenderness in, 35

"Bérénice," Racine's, translated by Otway, 397

"Berger extravagant," 21, 280, 398, 401

Bergerac, Cyrano de, his "Etats et empires de la lune et du soleil," 50;
  his "Pédant joué," 128 _note_;
  style of, 258;
  humour of, 289, 290

Berners, Lord, 106-107

Bestiaries, 108, 111, 112, 115, 116, 119

Blount, Charles, Lord Mountjoy, Earl of Devonshire, 227

Blount, Edward, publisher of Lyly's comedies, 137, 138

Boccaccio, 43;
  "Filocopo," "Amorous Fiammetta," "Decameron," English translations
    of, 75, 76; 86

Boileau, 258, 356 _note_, 363, 390

Borde, Dr. Andrew, 288, 289, 326

Bossuet, 387

Bovon of Hanstone, poem imitated from a French romance, 39

Boyle, Roger, Lord Broghill, 384-389

Bozon, Nicole, 111

Breton, Nicholas, 192, 198-202

Brunne, Robert Manning de, 38, 39

Bullen, 22

Bunyan, John, 159, 413

Burghley House, 12, 101, 102

Byron's "Don Juan," 409, 410


Cæsarius, 48, 49

Callot, 317, 337

Camden Society, 18

"Campaspe," Lyly's, 138

Carey, 412

"Carte du Tendre," 19, 359, 361

"Cassandra," 396, 403, 412;
  "Cassandre," 362, 364, 382, 383

Castiglione's "Courtier," 76

Caxton's woodcut of Chaucer's pilgrims, 12, 45;
  his editions of Chaucer and work as a printer, 52-55; 60

"Cent Nouvelles," 47, 48

Cervantes, 43, 88, 399

Chappelain, Mdlle. G., translator of Sidney's "Arcadia," 277-280

Chapelain, Jean, author of "La Pucelle," 294, 350, 357

Characters, books of, 201-2 _note_

Charlemagne, poem imitated from French romance of, 39

Charles I., 84; 250, 252; 366, 382

Charles II., 381

Charles IX., 220

Chartley, 223

Chateaubriand, 231, 283

Chateaumorand, Diane de, 276

Chatterton, 26

Chaucer, Caxton's engraving of his pilgrims, 12, 45;
  a story-teller, but with small influence on the Elizabethan novel,
    43, 44;
  homage of Pope and Dryden to, 44;
  faculty of observation in, 49;
  and mediæval story-tellers, 89;
  "Cooke's Tale," 204;
  read by Nash, 296

Chesterfield, Lord, 414

Chettle's edition of "Groats-worth of Wit," 165 _note_, 321;
  "Piers Plain," 328, 330, 331

"Chrononotontologos," 412

Cibber, Theophilus, 381

"Civile Conversation," Guazzo's, 72, 73, 76

"Clarissa Harlowe," 25, 26, 31

"Clélie," 361, 364, 370; frontispiece of "La Fausse," 20, 375

"Cleopatra," 412; Queen, as represented on the English stage, 14, 97;
  "Cléopatre," 364, 369;
  frontispiece of, 20, 371

Clovis, 354

Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, 87

Comte, Auguste, 416

Condé, 352, 357

"Contes Moralisés," Bozon's, 111

Cooper, Fenimore, 415

Copland, 12

Corneille, 278, 282, 343, 355, 363, 373

Coryat, 302 _note_

Cotterel, Sir Charles, translator of "Cassandre," 373

"Cour Bergère," play derived by Mareschal from Sidney's "Arcadia," 282

"Court Secret," 413

Cowper, on Sidney's "Arcadia," 271

Coxon (or Cockson), Thomas, engraver, portraits by, 13

Crébillon _fils_, 414

Cromwell, 84, 363, 381

Crowne's "Pandion and Amphigenia," 19, 389-391; 392, 395


Davenport, 173

Davies, John, drawing from his translation of Sorel's "Berger
    extravagant," 21

Day, John, "Ile of Guls," 263;
  collaborator of Dekker, 331

"Débat de folie et d'amour," 173

Dedekind, 339

Defoe, 25, 26;
  protest against the abbreviation of "Robinson Crusoe," 123, 124; 199,
    260, 270, 294, 313, 320, 335, 345, 348, 390, 404, 417

Dekker, portrait of, 333;
  on _Arcadianism_ and _Euphuism_, 261;
  on Nash in the Elysian fields, 327;
  plays and pamphlets by, 330-346;
  love of literature, 332;
  gaiety, 333;
  Lamb on, 332;
  Nash and, 334;
  "Wonderfull Yeare," 335-338;
  advice on behaviour at a play-house, 340-343

Desperriers, Bonaventure, 86

Devereux, Penelope, afterwards Lady Rich, Sidney's "Stella," 223, 224,
    225, 227, 228

Dickens, Charles, 124

Dickenson, imitator of Lyly, 145, 146, 161 _note_

Disguises, fondness for, in Elizabethan times, 237-239

"Don Simonides," Rich's, 146, 147

Drayton, 331

Dryden, 354, 363, 389, 392, 396, 404, 417

Du Bartas, 271

Du Bellay, 70

Dupleix, Scipion, historiographer royal, 354

Dyce, reprint by, 18


"Ecclesiastical Polity," Hooker's, 382

Eliot, George, 36, 124

Elizabeth, Queen, portrait by Rogers, 11, 96, 256;
  by Zucchero, 14;
  in pastoral romance, 218;
  manners of, 91-96;
  learning of, 92;
  toilettes of, 92;
  Hentzner on, 96

Elizabethan houses, 101, 102;
  dress, 128;
  literary men, 161;
  amusements, 18, 287, 298

"Emile," Rousseau's, 415

"Empress of Morocco," Settle's, 393, 395

"Endimion," Lyly's, 138, 139;
  Gombauld's, 19, 367, 369

English, ancestry of the, 40, 41, 42;
  effect of the French conquest on the literature of the, 43

"English Adventures," Boyle's, 388, 389

"English Rogue," Head's, 413

Erasmus, 51, 87, 88, 348

Essex, Earl of, 159

"Euphues," Lyly's, 103-142;
  written for women, 104, 105;
  on women in, 127-130, 133;
  natural history in, 107, 108-120;
  moral teaching in, 123, 124, 127;
  bringing up of children in, 130-132;
  popularity of, 137-142;
  Nash on, 139, 140;
  abbreviation of, 141

"Euphues his censure to Philautus," Greene's, 146, 168

_Euphuism_, Lyly and, 105;
  acclimatization of, in England, 106, 107;
  Shakespeare on, 140;
  Dekker and, 261

Exeter, Joseph of, 38

Exeter, Marquis of, seat of the, 12


Fayette, Mme. de la, 397

Fénelon's, "Télémaque," 50;
  "Lettre à l'Académie," 229

Fenton's, "Tragicall Discourses," 80, 81

Fielding, 25, 124, 270, 313, 317, 406, 412, 417

Floire and Blanchefleur, 36

Florio's Montaigne, 227

Ford, Emanuel, disciple of Lyly, 192;
  "Parismus," 193-198;
  collaborator of Dekker, 331

Fortescue's, "Foreste," 81

Fouquet, 281

Fournival, Richard de, 107, 108

Fox, George, the Quaker, 158

"Francesco's Fortunes," drawings from, 11

"Francion," 293, 398

French, gaiety of the literature of the, 33, 34

Froissart, 43, 47, 86

Furetière, 398, 399, 404, 405

Furnivall, F. J., 39, 90, 102, 140, 162, 223


Gaedertz, of Berlin, 17

"Gallathea," Lyly's, 139

"Gamelyne," tale of, 204

Gargantua and Pantagruel, story of, 50

Gascoigne, "Adventures passed by Master F. T.," 81

Gawain, a metrical romance imitated from the French, 89

"Généreuse Allemande," Mareschal's, 282

Gheeraedts, 16

Gil Bias, 24

Godwin, F., 413

"Golden boke of Marcus Aurelius," translated by Lord Berners and Sir
    Thomas North, 106, 107

Gomberville, 356

Gosse, 373

Gower, 296

"Grand Cyrus," romance of, 364, 383, 396

Green Knight, metrical romance from the French, 39

Greene, Robert, illustrations to his work, 11, 15;
  stories of, translated into French, 27;
  denounces foreign travel, 73 _note_;
  natural history of, 112;
  imitator of Lyly, 145, 146, 170, 171 _note_;
  Warner on, 149, 150;
  character, birth, and education, 152, 153, 154;
  travels, 74, 154;
  writings, 151, 155;
  "Groats-worth of Wit," 156, 157, 158;
  "Repentances," 158, 159, 162;
  marriage, 159, 160, 166, 167;
  Nash on, 160, 161;
  complaint against plagiarists, 163;
  abuse of Shakespeare, 164, 165;
  illness and death, 162, 163, 165, 166, 167;
  Ben Jonson on, 166;
  contributions to the novel literature of Elizabethan times, 167-192;
  _Euphuism_ of, 170-173;
  "Penelope," 174;
  imitated by Breton, 198, 199, 201;
  by Lodge, 202;
  style of his novels, 290; 295, 296, 300, 418

Greville Fulke, Lord Brooke, 220, 226, 245

Grimestone's translation of tales by Goulart, 81

"Groats-worth of Wit," 156, 157, 165 _note_, 328

_Grobianism_, 339, 344, 345, 346

"Grobianus," 338, 339

Guazzo's "Civile Conversation," translation of, 76

Guevara, 86, 106

"Gulliver's Travels," 50, 51

"Guls Horne-booke," Dekker's, 28, 261, 339, 340, 341, 342, 343

"Gwydonius," Greene's, 155


Hall, Joseph, bishop of Norwich, 73 _note_, 413

Hampole, Rolle de, story of a scholar of Paris, 48, 49

Harington's translation of "Ariosto," 13, 76, 77, 79, 80, 366

Harrington's "Oceana," 413

Harrison's "Description of Britaine," 101

Hartley, Mrs., as Cleopatra, 14, 97

Harvey, Gabriel, Nash and, 297, 298

Hastings, battle of, results of, 33

Hathaway, 331

Haughton, 331

Havelock the Dane, a metrical romance, 39

Head, Richard, writer of a picaresque novel, 294, 412, 413

Henri IV., 352

Henrietta of England, Duchess of Orleans, 386, 387

Henry VIII., learning of, 87

Henslowe, 328, 331

Hentzner on Elizabeth, 96

"Heptameron," Reine de Navarre's, 398

Herbert, William, Shakespeare's friend, 234

"Hercules of Greece," romance, 349

Heroical novels and plays in England and France, 347-397;
  reaction against, 397-412

Heywood, T., 331

"History of the Ladye Lucres," 81;
  drawing from German edition of, 14, 82

Hood, Robin, stories about, 28

Hooker, Richard, 382

Hurst, Richard, drawing from his version of Gombauld's "Endimion," 19

"Hystorie of Hamblet," 81


"Ibrahim ou l'illustre Bassa," 364

"Ile of Guls," Day's, 263

Ingelow's "Bentivolio and Urania," 413

"Isle of Dogs," Nash's, 297, 298 _note_


"Jack Wilton," Nash's novel of, 297;
  account of, 308-321

Jessopp, Dr., 218

Johnson, Dr., 151, 413

Jones, Inigo, sketches by, 14, 100;
  architecture of, 100, 101

Jonson, Ben, 151, 261, 270, 331, 341 _note_, 348, 404, 407


Keats, 418

Kemp, the actor, 18, 287, 298

Kenilworth, festivities at, 223;
  park of, 241, 242

King Horn, a metrical romance, 39

"Knight of the Swanne," frontispiece of, 12, 61, 64


Labé, Louise, "Débat de Folie et d'Amour," 173

La Calprenède, 356, 369, 384, 398, 408;
  Mme. de Sévigné on, 353

"Lady of May," Sidney's masque of, 229, 289

La Fontaine, 232

Landmann, Dr., 106, 123 _note_

Laneham, Robert, account of the Kenilworth Festivities, 85

Languet, Hubert, the French Huguenot and friend of Sidney, on English
    manners, 136, 137;
  correspondence with Sidney, 221, 223, 288;
  poem on, in the "Arcadia," 222

"La Pucelle," 294, 350

Layamon, 39, 40

Lee, 392, 397

Leicester, Earl of, 91, 96, 159, 223

"Lenten Stuff," Nash's, 324, 325

Le Sage, style of, 47; "Gil Blas," 294

"Le Sopha," 24

"Lettre à l'Académie," Fénelon's, 229

"Life and Death of Ned Browne," Greene's, 187, 188

Lindsey, Earl of, 382

Lodge, Thomas, imitator of Lyly, 145, 150, 151;
  birth, education, travels, 202;
  novels, 203;
  "Rosalynde," 144, 204, 205, 206, 207-215; 290, 403

Longueville, Mme. de, 352, 357

"Looking Glasse for London and England," by Greene and Lodge, 215

Louis XIII., 354

Louis XIV., 352

Loveday, Robert, translator of La Calprenède's "Cléopatre," 369;
  frontispiece of, 20, 369, 371

Ludlow Castle, 219, 220

Lyly, John, editions of "Euphues," 27;
  denounces foreign travel, 73 _note_;
  writes for women, 104, 105;
  his style, 107;
  knowledge of plants and animals, 119, 120;
  the moral teaching of Lyly's "Euphues," 126-135;
  comedies by, 137-139;
  imitators of, 145-215;
  Sidney's style compared with, 255;
  kind of novel, 290;
  and the Martin Marprelate Controversy, 297;
  an ancestor of Richardson, 317;
  anticipates Rousseau, 131, 415


Malory's "Morte d'Arthur," 54-57, 60-63

"Mamillia," Greene's, 154, 155, 168

Mandeville, 296

Map, Walter, 38;
  his faculty of observation, 49

Mareschal, Antoine, 282

"Margarite of America," Lodge's, 202, 203

"Marianne," 24

Marlowe, heroes and heroines of, 247, 249;
  dies young, 295;
  Nash's criticisms of, 299, 306, 307

Mary, Queen of Scots, 92

Massinger, 331

Master Reynard, 292

"Matchless Orinda," The, 384, 391

Medicis, Marie de, 276

Melbancke, imitator of Lyly, 145

Melville, Sir James, ambassador of Mary Queen of Scots to the English
    court, on the manners of the English, 91-95;
  on the liking of the Elizabethans for disguises, 239

"Menaphon," Greene's, 146, 155, 160, 185-187

Meres, Francis, 198 _note_, 254 _note_, 300

Mérimée's style, 305

"Midas" comedy by Lyly, 139

Middleton, 331

Milton's "Comus," 220, 221;
  opinion of Sidney's "Arcadia," 250, 251

Molière, his love for old songs, 232;
  his denunciation of the behaviour of gallants at the playhouse, 343, 344;
  the "Précieuses ridicules," 373;
  English translations of, 397;
  the "Critique de l'Ecole des Femmes," 405

Monmouth, Geoffrey of, 38, 41

Montaigne, 43

Montausier, 352, 388, 391

Montchrestien, Antoine de, 354, 355

Montemayor's "Diane," 76;
  translation of, 227;
  style of, 229;
  imitated by Sidney, 236

Montesquieu's "Lettres persanes," 132

More, Sir Thomas, writes in Latin; the "Utopia," 50, 51;
  Erasmus' opinion of, 87;
  hero in Nash's novel, 348;
  his "Utopia," a political novel, 413

Morris, William, 63

"Morte d'Arthur," Malory's, 54-59;
  Ascham on, 63

Munday, Anthony, imitator of Lyly, 145, 193, 331, 349

Mürger's "Scènes de la vie de Bohème," 150, 151

"Myrrour of Modesty," Greene's, 155, 168, 349


Nash, Thomas, portrait of, 18;
  his stories translated into French, 27;
  initiator of the _picaresque_ novel, 294;
  birth, education, studies, and travels, 295, 296;
  works of, 297;
  love of poetry, 299, 300;
  style and vocabulary of, 302-307;
  Dekker on, 327, 334;
  begins the novel of real life, 347, 348;
  406, 412, 418

Navarre, Queen of, 86

Newcastle, Duchess of, drawing from "Nature's Pictures," 20, 379;
  literary works of the, 374-381

Newton, 24

North, Sir Thomas, 106, 107

Novels, in Tudor times, 80-102;
  as sermons, 123, 124, 127;
  pastoral, 235-283;
  picaresque, 291-346;
  heroical, 348-414;
  philosophical, 414-416

Nucius, Nicander, on the study of Italian and French in England, 87;
  on the manners of English women, 91


"Oceana," Harrington's, 413

Octavian, romance imitated from the French, 39

Oliver, Isaac, miniature of Sir Philip Sidney, 15, 221, 243;
  drawing by, 69

"Oroonoko," Mrs. Behn's, 414-417

"Orlando Furioso," Ariosto's, 76, 77, 79, 80

Osborne, Dorothy, letters to Sir William Temple, 382-384, 387, 388

Otway, 389 _note_, 397, 404

Owen, Miss, 373


Padua, John of, architect, 12, 101

"Pamela," Richardson's, 127, 249, 250, 414

"Pandion and Amphigenia," Crowne's heroical novel of, 389, 390, 391

"Pandosto," Greene's, 155, 168, 169, 175, 178-185

"Parismus," Ford's, 193;
  compared with "Romeo and Juliet," 194-198

"Parthenissa," Lord Broghill's, 384, 385;
  Dorothy Osborne on, 386, 387

Pas, C. de, drawings by, 19, 369

Paynter, translations of tales by, 28;
  "Palace of Pleasure," 80;
  tales by, 86

Peele, 295

"Penelopes Web," Greene's, 155

Penshurst, Sidney's birthplace, Ben Jonson's description of, 16;
  drawing of, 217

Pepys, Mr., 383

Percival, romance imitated from the French, 39

Percy, 26

"Perimedes," Greene's, 155

"Perplexed Prince," 413

"Petit Jehan de Saintré," 47

Petrarca, 43

Pettie, George, on English prose, 72, 73;
  "Pettie Pallace," 81

Philips, Catherine, "matchless Orinda," 19; 370-373

Philips, Mr., husband of "matchless Orinda," 373

"Philomela," Greene's, 171-173

"Philotimus," Melbancke's, 148

"Pierce Penilesse," Nash's, 322-324

"Piers Plain," Chettle's, 328-330

"Pilgrimage to Parnassus," 140

Pinturicchio, 174

Pius II., 83

"Planetomachia," Greene's, 155

"Polexandre," 364

Pope, Alexander, 218, 237, 381

Porro, Girolamo, engraver, 13

Poussin, Gaspard, 237

"Princesse de Clèves," 24, 397

Prose, little cultivated in England, 50

Prynne, 382

Puritans, and Charles I., 250;
  manners of, 364, 366;
  and Cromwell, 381

Pytheas, an old traveller, 33


Quarles, Francis, drawings from his "Argalus and Parthenia," 16;
  "Emblemes," 264, 267

"Quinze joyes de Mariage," 338, 345, 346

"Quip for an upstart Courtier," Greene's, frontispiece of, 15, 265;
  description of, 189-192


Rabelais, 43;
  and the "Utopia," 51, 52; 88, 128, 289, 297, 304, 305, 399

Racine, 355, 363, 395, 396, 397

Racine, Louis, 123

"Railleur ou la Satyre du Temps," Mareschal's, 282

Raleigh, 218

Rambouillet, Hôtel de, 352, 356, 357, 370-373;
  Mme. de, 381

Renaissance, tentative, of the fourteenth century, 43;
  short stories, outcome of, 47;
  period of the, 60, 68;
  effects of the, 69, 70;
  art of the, 79;
  women at the time of the, 133;
  costumes and furniture in Sidney's "Arcadia" pure, 244;
  characteristics of, 303

"Returne from Parnassus," 140 _note_, 316 _note_, 326

Rich, "Farewell to militarie profession," 81;
  imitator of Lyly, 145;
  works of, 146, 147

Rich, Lord, husband of Sidney's "Stella," 223, 227

Richardson, 25, 26, 123, 124, 127, 131;
  "Pamela" and "Clarissa Harlowe," 169, 202;
  borrows from Sidney, 249, 250;
  270, 317, 378, 417

Richelieu, 352

Rivers, Lord, 134

Robert the Devil, drawing of, 57

"Robinson Crusoe," 123, 124, 159

Robinson, Ralph, translator of More's "Utopia," 50, 51

Rogers, William, engraving by, 11, 256

"Roland," poem imitated from a French romance, 34, 39

"Roman bourgeois," 398

"Roman comique," 398

Romances, end of chivalrous, 25;
  pastoral, 217-283;
  heroical, reaction against, 397, 398, 411;
  French, translated and read in
  England, 363-384

Ronsard, 43, 88

"Rosalynde," Lodge's, compared with "As you like it," 202-213

Rousseau's "Emile," 130, 131;
  "Social contract," 221;
  and Mrs. Behn, 414-416

Rowley, 331


Sainte More, Benoit de, poems by, 34, 35

Saint Dunstan, literature under, 33

Salisbury, John of, 38

"Sapho and Phao," Lyly's, 138

Sarasin, 350

Scarron, 398, 400 _note_, 404

"Scipion," 365

Scott, Sir Walter, 26, 36

Scudéry, George de, 278, 348, 355, 356;
  preface to "Ibrahim," 358, 408, 409, 415;
  Madeleine de, "Clélie," 20; 355-357;
  361, 384, 388, 396

Settle's "Empress of Morocco," 20, 21, 293;

Sévigné, Mme. de, admirer of heroism in romances and plays, 352, 353,
    357, 381

Shakespeare, interior view of a theatre in time of, 17, 18, 286;
  glory of, 26;
  editions of the plays of, 27; 43;
  his daily reading, 85;
  outcome of his age, 88;
  Cleopatra, 97, 99, 156;
  source of "Twelfth Night," 147;
  of "Winter's Tale," 155, 178-185;
  "Parismus" compared with "Romeo and Juliet," 194-198;
  of "As you like it," 202-213;
  source of part of "Lear," 262;
  source of "Two Gentlemen of Verona," 149, 150, 236 _note_;
  little known in France, 279;
  a copy of, in Louis XIV.'s library, 281;
  earliest French criticism on, 282;
  humour of, 289;
  beginning of career of, 299, 300;
  on music, 300, 301;
  interposes himself in his plays, 314, 315;
  and Molière, 343;
  style of, 403, 404

Shirley, 288

Sidney, Mary, Countess of Pembroke, portrait of, 16;
  fame of, 234, 235;
  works dedicated to, 263

Sidney, Sir Philip, 217-283;
  miniature and portraits of, 221, 222;
  "Arcadia," 16, 17, 226, 229, 234-283;
  stories of, translated, 27;
  birth, 219;
  education and travels, 74, 220, 221;
  love for "Stella," 222-225;
  "Shepheardes Calender," dedicated to, 225;
  at Wilton, 226;
  Marriage and death, 226, 227;
  literary work and style, 228-263;
  "Apologie," 229-233, 235, 254, 255, 301;
  Du Bartas on, 274;
  known to Florian, 283;
  humour of, 288-290;
  Nash on, 299;
  ancestor of Richardson, 317;
  prose of, 403;
  analysis of feeling by, 414

"Sir Charles Grandison," 31

Smith, Wentworth, 331

Smollett, 294

Smyth's "Straunge and tragicall histories," 81

"Sociable letters," Duchess of Newcastle's, 378

"Sopha," 414

Sorel, Charles, 280, 298

Spenser, Edmund, 43;
  Nash on, 298, 299, 300

Steele, Richard, 25, 381

"Stella," books dedicated to, 227, 228

Sterne, 313

"Strange Fortunes," Breton's, 199, 200

Suckling, Sir John, 388

Surrey, Earl of, 74, 245;
  Nash on, 300; 348

Swift, 345, 384, 413

Swinburne, 63

Sylvius, Æneas (Piccolomini), 81


Tacitus' opinion of the English, 123

Tarleton, 298

Tasso, 43;
  translations in English of, 76

"Télémaque," 50

Temple, Sir William, 382, 384, 387, 388

"Tendre" country, Map of, 19, 20, 359, 361

Teniers, 317

Tennyson, 63

Thackeray, 124;
  "Vanity Fair," 291

Thorpe, John, architect, 12, 101

"Til Eulenspiegel," 292

Tintoretto, 244

Titian, 244

"Tom Thumb," Fielding's, 412

Tom-a-Lincoln, stories of, 28

"Tom Jones," 26

Topsell's Natural History, 14, 15, 103, 109, 111-113; 115-117; 119, 121,
    125, 145, 171, 417

Tormes, Lazarillo de, 292-294

"Tragicall Discourses," 80, 81

Tristan, tales of, 25

"Trojan War," romance imitated from the French, 39

Turberville, drawings from his "Booke of Faulconrie," and "Noble Art of
    Venerie," 15

Turenne, 352


Universities, Lyly's experience of, 153

D'Urfé, 247

"Utopia," More's, 50, 51


Villemain's lectures on the eighteenth century, 31, 32

Vinci, 231

Virgil, 363, 398

Voiture, 409

Voltaire's prose tales, 47, 51


Wace, 39

Walpole, Horace, 272

Walsingham, Sir Francis, 220, 226

Warner, imitator of Lyly, 145;
  "Pan his Syrinx," and "Albion's England," 148, 149

Warwick, Guy of, metrical romance from the French, 19, 39, 67, 349-351

Watson, Thomas, 139, 245

Webster, heroines of, 249; 331

Wentworth, 331

Whetstone, collections of tales translated by, 28;
  "Heptameron," 81

William the Silent, 226

Wilson, 331

Wilt, John O., drawing by, 17

Wireker, Nigel, 38, 49

Women, their learning and manners in Tudor times, 89, 90, 91;
  Ascham and Harrison on, 90, 91;
  Caxton on, 133, 134;
  English and Italian compared, 133, 134;
  Rich's stories for, 147;
  excluded from the stage, 301, 302

"Wonderfull Yeare," 335-338

Worde, Wynkyn de, 12, 64

Wroth, Lady Mary, "Urania," 268-270;
  Ben Jonson on, 270

Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 74, 245

Wycherley, 404

Wyle, Nicolaus von, 82


Xenophon, 86


Young, on the "Arcadia," 271, 272


"Zelauto, the Fountain of Fame," Munday's, 146, 147, 148

"Zelinda," adaptation of Voiture's, 408-412

Zucchero's portrait of Elizabeth, 14, 329




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  | Transcriber's Notes                                          |
  |                                                              |
  | Page 2: Shakesperean amended to Shakespearean                |
  | Page 55: marvaylous _sic_ ("marvayllous" in the excerpt      |
  | in footnote 22)                                              |
  | Page 129: Duplicate "and" let as is ("... seeme thou         |
  | carelesse, and and then will she be carefull").              |
  | Page 317: pourtraying amended to portraying                  |
  | Page 424: The index reference to Dekker's portrait has been  |
  | amended from page 19 to page 333.                            |
  |                                                              |
  | Footnote 68: "conscience' sake" _sic_                        |
  | Footnote 310: "Bouvart et Pecuchet" _sic_                    |
  |                                                              |
  | Generally punctuation has been standardised, with the        |
  | exception of punctuation in the Index. Hyphenation has       |
  | generally been standardised. However, when a word appears    |
  | hyphenated and unhyphenated an equal number of times, both   |
  | versions have been retained (bonheur/bon-heur;               |
  | nowadays/now-a-days; playhouse/play-house;                   |
  | re-baptized/rebaptized; some-how/somehow).                   |
  |                                                              |
  | Accented letters have generally been standardized, unless    |
  | different versions of the word appear an equal number of     |
  | times (Céladon/Celadon; Heptaméron/Heptameron).              |

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