Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

fore, to Farmer, was not a coined word. The words which are coined are rivo-monarcho-baccare.

1. Rivo, says the drunkard,” is an expression of the madсар Prince of Wales; which Sir Thomas Hanmer corrects to ribi, drink away, or again, as it should rather be translated. Dr. Warburton accedes to this; and Mr. Johnson hath admitted into his text, but with an observation that “rivo might possibly be the cant of the English taverns." Sir Thomas Hanmer had not read Marston, or many other of our older wits, or he would have found that rivo is what Johnson conjectured it to be. This is no great harm; but fancying that ribi is Italian for “drink away,” or “ drink again,” is no remarkable proof of the Tuscan knowledge of the critic who proposed the reading, or of those who admitted it. Rivo, however, is not Italian ; and it has not been traced to any European language, in any thing like the sense intended in the English authors. I suspect that it is only ribaux-rakes, ribalds. “Ho, my blades ! my bullies !" Aux ribaux ! Rivo! I do not press the conjecture, but refer for some authority to a note.*

* Ribaldi, says Ducange, were velites, enfans perdus, milites, qui prima proelia tentabant.” Of course, they were the least valued troops — thence any good-for-nothing fellows, “good enough to toss” in an army; and as these people led profligate and dissolute lives, “usarpata deinde Ribaldorum vox pro hominibus vilissimis, abjectis, perditis, scortatoribus :" in French, ribaux. Ducange supplies several quotations, of which I take a couple :

“ Gulielmus Guiart MS.
Bruient soudouiers et ribaus,

Qui de tout perdre sont si baas,

- Roman de la Rose.
Mais Ribaus ont les cuers si baus,

Portant sacs de charbon en Grève,

Que la peine riens ne leur grève." In earlier times, it was not a word of reproach; and the ribauds in the days of Philippe Augustus were “soldats d'élite auxquels ce prince avoit grande créance en ses exploits militaires.” But, as Pasquier remarks, “Peu-à-peu cette compagnie de ribauds, qui avoit tenu dedans la France lieu de primanté entre les guerriers s'abatardit, tomba en l'opprobre de tout le monde, et en 2. For monarcho, in Love's Labor's Lost, Sir Thomas Hanmer, who was not aware that there was actually a fantastic character well known by that name in London in the days of Elizabeth, proposed to read mammuccia. An infelicitous conjecture at the best. And,

3. For baccare, in the Taming of the Shrew (a common English phrase of the time, whatever its exact etymology may be, je ne sais quelle engeance de putassiers.” They continued to hang aboat the court of France in the Middle Ages, which, like all other courts of the time, was filled with a crowd of idle followers; and they were subjected to the government of an officer named roi de ribaux, part of whose duty was to keep the palace, in eating time, free of disorderly persons. It is ordered, in 1317, "Item, assavoir est que les huissiers de salle si tost comme l'en aura crié, Aux queux, feront vuider la salle de toutes gens fors ceus qui doivent mengier, et les doivent livrer à l'huys de la salle aux varlets de porte aux portiers ; et les portiers doivent tenir la cour nette, et les livrer au roy des ribaux; et le roy des ribaux doit garder, que il n'entre plus à la porte, et cil qui sera trouvé defaillans sera pugny par le maistre de l'hostel, qui servira la journée." I conjecture, that when the proper officer cried, "Aux queux !" [i. e., cooks !) the cry might be met by the gang turned out to make room for these “qui doivent mengier,” with “ Aux ribaux;" and thence made, by an casy lapse, ribaux, rivaux, rivo, as the peculiar rallying call of drunken people. It is so used by the prince, in the very place referred to, when he shouts for Falstaff. Rivo! says the drunkard - call in ribs, call in tallow." It is sometimes joined with Castiliano, as in Marlowe's Jew of Malta :

· Hey, Rivo Castiliano, man’s a man." And in the old comedy of Look about You

“And Rivo will he cry, and Castile too." “Castiliano" was, in all probability, a rallying cry in the Spanish armies. (Castilla is three times cried at the coronation of kings of Spain, “While trumpets rang, and heralds cried · Castile.'

Scott's Don Roderick, st. xliii.] And as the Spaniards had the reputation of being great swaggerers, they might be fitly called on, as associates, by those who were shouting for the ribaux. Steevens quotes the lines from Marlowe and the old play, in a note on Twelfth-Night, Act I., sc. 3, where Sir Toby cries out, “ What, wench! Castiliano vulgo — for here comes Sir Andrew Aguecheek.” For vulgo, Warburton proposes volto; as if recommending Maria to put on her grave, solemn looks, which is the last advice Toby-would think of giving; and she does just the contrary. Perhaps it should be “Castiliano luego.” tilian, at once.” Vulgo and lvego might be easily confounded.-W. M.

“ Cas

and I own that I have not seen as yet anything very satisfactory), Theobald and Warburton, and Heath, propose baccalare As the Italian for “a graduated scholar, and thence ironically for a pretender to scholarship.”

Now, neither mammuccia nor baccalare are coined -- they are good Italian words, though not at all wanted in the places to which they are introduced by the conjectural critics. But why should Shakespeare be pronounced ignorant of Italian, because Sir Thomas Haumer, unaware of the existence of a real man nicknamed Monarcho, which was excusable enough, and Warburton unread in our Elizabethan literature, which in a commentator on Shakespeare is not quite so excusable, made a couple of unhappy conjectures, proving nothing more than they were not infallible in verbal criticism. As for baccalare, Nares, in his Glossary, remarks that “the word (backare) was un propitious to critics, who would have changed it to baccalare, an Italian word of reproach.” Baccalare is not very propitious to Nares himself, because it is scarcely a word of reproach. The Della Cruscans, in giving its second meaning, say, “Dicesi altresi d'uomo de gran reputazione, ma per lo più per ischerzo. Lat. Vir eximius, præcellens singularis.Hardly words of reproach, any more than bone vir in Terence, though applied by the angry master to the cheating slave. I doubt very much, indeed, that baccalare is ever applied, by itself, in jest (per ischerzo), but is used sometimes jokingly, not reproachfully, when it is accompanied by gran. Gran baccalare is one who gives himself great airs; as we sometimes call a noisy swaggerer a great hero, or a great officer, without offering any affront to the names of officer or hero. The examples in the Della Crusca bear out this view of its meaning. Ex. gr. Bocc. Nov. 15, 24:-" Vide uno, il quale per quello che comprender pote, mostrava d'essere gran bacalare, con una barba nera, e folta al volto." Galat. 28.—“Millitandosi, e dicendo di avere le maraviglie, e di essere gran bacalari," &c., &c.

If these be the only proofs of Shakespeare's want of Italian knowledge, never was case more meagre. They amount exactly to this, that Shakespeare uses four words quite common in his time, two of which his commentators, for whose ignorance it is not reasonable that he should answer, corrupt into Italian; and two more, which, though these gentlemen think differently, are not Italian at all, or intended as such ; and that, elsewhere, he makes a buffoon character quote a couple of ungrammatical jingles from a jest-book, which his critics by mending make more corrupt. A noble style of argument ! particularly in the case of an author who elsewhere employs Italian words and quotations with perfect propriety and correctness.

Dr. Farmer supposes the Taming of the Shrew not to be "originally the work of Shakespeare, but restored by him to the stage, with the whole Induction of the Tinker, and some other occasional improvements," &c. The reasons he gives for this opinion are not over sagacious; and our increased knowledge of dramatic history and bibliography has left them no value whatever. If the play be Shakespeare's at all, Dr. Farmer is sure that it is one of his earliest productions, in which he is supported by Malone (Chronological Order of Shakespeare's Plays, No. 6); who admits, however, that he had formerly been of a different opinion, which I think he was very wrong in altering. But as I have noticed the play, not with any intention of descanting on its intrinsic merits (though sadly urged thereto by Bishop Hurd's most absurd and somewhat offensive observations on the Induction, contained in his pedantic and ridiculous commentary on the Epistle to Augustus), but of pointing out a very different theory respecting the date and origin of the play, I shall not enter upon the question of its poetical or dramatic value. It is contended that it was one of the later plays, and written after a journey to Italy.

“I proceed," says Mr. Brown, " to show he was in Italy from the internal evidence of his works; and I begin with his Taming of the Shrew, where the evidence is the strongest. This comedy was entirely re-written from an older one by an unknown hand, with some, but not many, additions to the fable. It should first be observed, that in the older comedy, which we possess, the scene is laid in and near Athens, and that Shakespeare removed it to Padua and its neighborhood; an unnecessary change, if he knew no more of one country than of the other. The dramatis persona next attract our attention. Baptista is no longer erroneously the name of a woman, as in Hamlet, but of a man. All the other names, except one, are pure Italian, though most of them are adapted to the English ear. Biondello, the name of a boy, seems chosen with a knowledge of the language — as it signifies a little fair-haired fellow. Even the shrew has the Italian termination to her name, Katharina. The exception is Curtis, Petruchio's servant, seemingly the kousekeeper at his villa ; which, as it is an insignificant part, may have been the name of the player; but, more probably, it is a corruption of Cortese.

“ Act I., scene 1. A public place. For an open place, or a square in a city, this is not a home-bred expression. It may be accidental ; yet it is a literal translation of una piazza publica, exactly what was meant for the scene. “ The

pening of the comedy, which speaks of Lombardy and the university of Padua, might have been written by a native Italian :

“Tranio, since — for the great desire I had

To see fair Padua, nursery of arts, –
I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy,
The pleasant garden of great Italy.

Here let us breathe, and happily institute

A course of learning, and ingenious studies.' “ The very next line I found myself involuntarily repeating, at the sight of the grave countenances within the walls of Pisa :

“ Pisa, renowned for grave citizens.'* * It could hardly be expected that, while I write, a confirmatory commentary, and from the strangest quarter, should turn up on these words ; but so it is. A quarrel lately occurred in Youghal, arising from a dispute about

VOL. III.-14

« FöregåendeFortsätt »