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not believe it. It is, indeed, possible that he might; it is highly probable that he obtained it from actual observation. If we are disinclined (why we should be so, I can not tell) to grant that he travelled in foreign countries, is it too much to suppose that he might have made a voyage to Cork, on a visit to his friend Spenser, dwelling beneath

“Old Father Mole — Mole hight that mountain gray,

That walls the north side of Armulla’s vale ?" From Italian, thus triumphantly disposed of, we are called upon to consider Shakespeare's Spanish. This item is short. Dr. Grey is willing to suppose that the plot of Romeo and Juliet may be borrowed from a COMEDY of Lopez de Vega; and, “In the Induction to the Taming of the Shrew, the Tinker attempts to talk Spanish; and, consequently, [the Italics are Farmer's] the author himself was acquainted with it. Paucas pallabris ; let the world slide : Sessa !As pocas palabras was an ordinary cant expression of the time, and used in several plays, those who imagined that Shakespeare's knowledge of Spanislı was a necessary consequence of using those two words, must not be considered as very sage personages. I know not who they were, but I know when it is assumed as a proof of ignorance of Spanish that Shakespeare quoted two words of it in jest, which had been quoted elsewhere before, the logic is strange; nor when I learn that Dr. Grey is mistaken in imagining that Romeo and Juliet was derived from “a COMEDY (so marked, I can not tell why] of Lopes de Vega,” (so spelt, I well know why; because Farmer's reading having been only casually Spanish, he did not know or think there was any need of taking the trouble to inquire what was the real name of the dramatist), am I inclined to believe that, because Shakespeare did not find an Italian story in a Spanish author, he could not have read Spanish. He knew as much of it, at all events, as his critics, I copy the following from Archdeacon Nares's Glossary, a work of considerable pretence, and very disproportionate information. He is commenting on the phrase miching malicho, in Hamlet. " It seems agreed that this word is corrupted from the Spanish malhecor, which signifies a poisoner. By miching malicho, he means a skulking poisoner; or it may mean mischief, from malhero, evil action, which seems to me more probable; consequently, if mincing malicho be the right reading, its signification may be delicate mischief.” Now the words are, not malheco, and malhecor, but malhecho and malhechor, i. e., malefactum and malefactor, from which they are derived, and meaning no more than ill-deed and ill-doer, having nothing peculiar to connect them with poisoning or poisoner. That the text is corrupt, I am sure; and I think Dr. Farmer's substitution of mimicking Malbecco, a must unlucky attempt at emendation. In the old copies it is munching malicho, in which we find the traces of the true reading — mucho malhecho, much mischief.

“Marry Muchs Malhecho — it means mischief.” On this passage Malone observes: “Where our poet met with the word mallecho, which in Minshieu's Spanish Dictionary is defined malefactum, I am unable to explain ;” which is to be deplored. Might not Malone, without any great stretch of critical sagacity, have suspected that he met it while reading Spanish?

Remains but French. Of this, too, Shakespeare is ignorant, as of all things else; and yet, “in the play of Henry V. we have a whole scene in it, and in many other places it occurs familiarly in the dialogue.” This is true, and one might think that it was tolerably sufficient to establish the fact that the writer of the dialogue knew the language. Farmero aliter vi

“We may observe in general, that the early editions have not half the quantity, and every sentence, or rather every word, most ridiculously blundered. Those, for several reasons, could

sum.

memory will not

not be possibly published by the author; and it is extremely probable that the French ribaldry was at first inserted by a different hand, as the many additions most certainly were after he had left the stage. Indeed, every friend to his easily believe that he was acquainted with the scene between Catharine and the old gentlewoman, or surely he would not have admitted such obscenity and nonsense.”

I am sorry for the introduction of this scene, but on a different ground. The obscenity, few as the lines are in which it occurs, and trifling if compared with what we find in contemporary French writers — and not at all polluting, as it turns merely on an indelicate mispronunciation of a couple of English words— is in all probability interpolated. It is precisely such gag as actors would catch at; and we must recollect that Catharine and Alice were originally personated, not by women, but by boys. Yet, I am sorry that it appears there, because it has always tended to give those foreigners who know French and do not know English -- a circumstance once almost universal among critical readers out of England, and, though the balance is fast altering, still any thing but uncommon, in many parts of Europe - a false idea of the general contents of Shakespeare's plays. The French critics of the goût school, anxious to cry down the English dramatist, made the most of this scene; and represented to the ignorant all his plays as being of a similar character. This is to be regretted; but in this case, as in all others, truth lives out at last. The scene is no specimen at all of Shakespeare's genius, and a poor one of his wit. It is, however, a proof that he knew French. But “it is to be hoped that he did not understand it.” Then it must be supposed by the hoper that he was a fool. Who can believe that he inserted, without being acquainted with what it meant, a scene in a play of which, as I shall soon have an opportunity of remarking more at large, he took uncommon care ? As for the misprinting, there is not a line of any foreign language which is not barbarously blundered in the quartos and folios; and, as Dr. Farmer well knew, no argument could be founded upon any such circumstance.

We have next, however, a very acute remark, for which we are indebted to the worthy Sir John Hawkins :

" Mr. Hawkins, in the appendix to Mr. Johnson's edition, hath an ingenious observation to prove that Shakespeare, supposing the French to be his, had very little knowledge of the language. • Est-il possible d'exchapper la force de ton bras?' says a Frenchman. • Brass, cur!' replies Pistol. Almost every one knows that the French word bras is pronounced brau; and what resemblance does this bear to brass ? Dr. Johnson makes a doubt, whether the pronunciation of the French language may ot be changed since Shakespeare's time; if not, says he, it may be suspected that some other man wrote the French scenes. But this does not appear to be the case, at least in this termination, from the rules of the grammarians, or the practice of the poets. I am certain of the former, from the French Alphabeth of De la Mothe, and the Orthoepia Gallica of John Eliot; and of the latter from the rhymes of Marot, Ronsard, and Du Bartas, &c.”

The logic of this is at least entertaining. The scene is not Shakespeare's because he could not write French, and yet the mispronunciation of the word bras proves that it was written by one who had very little knowledge of the language. Which horn of this dilemma are we to be caught upon ? Here is a clever, idiomatic, burlesque scene in French, and in (what is as difficult to write consistently) an English patois of French, damaged, as Hawkins, Johnson, and Farmer think, by the mispronunciation of one word. Why, it does not require much consideration to perceive, that, whoever wrote the scene, even if the mispronunciation were of the utmost importance, knew French intimately well. Whether the word is brass or braw, no external reason whatever existing for our believing it not to proceed from the pen of Shakespeare, to Shakespeare it must be attributed. There is a great quantity of French in this play, so introduced in the speeches of the Dauphin and his companions, for example—as not to be separable from the rest of the dialogue; and the very scene, blemished in the ears of these exact critics, is, with an admirable dramatic artifice, introduced into the place where it occurs, for a reason which will take a little time to explain.

The battle of Agincourt was the last of the great feudal battles. Fire-arms were then speedily altering the whole face of tactical warfare; and that species of prowess which was so highly esteemed in the Middle Ages gradually became, long before Shakespeare's time, of less moment in actual combat. The knights sorely felt the change— perhaps the greatest made by physical means in the progress of society until the late applications of steam; and many a gentleman participated in the indignation expressed by the dainty courtier against villainous saltpetre. With this display of personal valor, the poetic interest of battles in a great measure departed. A modern battle has often sublime, but seldom picturesque features. Chance too much predominates over the fate of individuals to render victory or defeat in any visible degree dependent upon the greatest bravery, or the meanest cowardice, of any single person engaged, and the romantic or chivalrous bard can not deal with masses.

When Burke said that the age of chivalry was gone, because ten thousand swords did not leap out of their scabbards to fight in the cause of Marie Antoinette, the orator might have reflected - if orators ever reflect upon any thing but the harmony of trope and figure — that the days of chivalry had departed long before — from the moment, in fact, that these ten thousand swords had become but secondary instruments in war. Milton is not the only poet (Ariosto, Spenser, and others, were beforehand with him) who assigns the invention of gunpowder to the devil. It would be rather out of place to prove, that unless his Satanic majesty has an interest in rendering

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