Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

To take the flesh from such a place,

As yet you let him live:

Do so, and lo! an hundred crownes
To thee here will I give.

No: no quoth he; no: judgment here:
For this it shall be tride,

For I will have my pound of fleshe

From under his right side.

It grieved all the companie
His crueltie to see,

For neither friend nor foe could helpe
But he must spoyled bee.

The bloudie Jew now ready is
With whetted blade in hand,*
To spoyle the bloud of innocent,
By forfeit of his bond.

And as he was about to strike

In him the deadly blow:

15

20

25

Stay (quoth the judge) thy crueltie;
I charge thee to do so.

30

Sith needs thou wilt thy forfeit have;
Which is of flesh a pound:

See that thou shed no drop of bloud,

Nor yet the man confound.1

For if thou doe, like murderer,
Thou here shalt hanged be:

Likewise of flesh see that thou cut
No more than longes to thee:

2

35

40

* The passage in Shakespeare bears so strong a resemblance to this, as to render it probable that the one suggested the other. See act iv. sc. 2.

"Bass. Why doest thou whet thy knife so earnestly?" &c.

[blocks in formation]

For if thou take either more or lesse
To the value of a mite,

Thou shalt be hanged presently,

As is both law and right.

Gernutus now waxt franticke mad,

And wotes1 not what to say;

Quoth he at last, Ten thousand crownes,
I will that he shall pay ;

And so I graunt to set him free.

The judge doth answere make;

You shall not have a penny given;
Your forfeyture now take.

At the last he doth demaund
But for to have his owne.

No, quoth the judge, doe as you list,
Thy judgement shall be showne.

Either take your pound of flesh, quoth he,

Or cancell me your bond.

O cruell judge, then quoth the Jew,

That doth against me stand!

And so with griping grieved mind
He biddeth them fare-well.

'Then' all the people prays'd the Lord,
That ever this heard tell.

Good people, that doe heare this song,
For trueth I dare well say,

That many a wretch as ill as hee

Doth live now at this day;

That seeketh nothing but the spoyle

Of many a wealthey man,

Ver. 61. griped, Ashmol. copy.

[1 knows.]

[blocks in formation]

And for to trap the innocent
Deviseth what they can.

From whome the Lord deliver me,

And every Christian too,

And send to them like sentence eke
That meaneth so to do.

75

XII.

THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS

LOVE.

HIS beautiful sonnet is quoted in the Merry Wives of Windsor, act iii. sc. 1, and hath been usually ascribed (together with the Reply) to Shakespeare himself by the modern editors of his smaller poems. A copy of this madrigal, containing only four stanzas (the 4th and 6th being wanting), accompanied with the first stanza of the answer, being printed in "The Passionate Pilgrime, and Sonnets to sundry notes of Musicke, by Mr. William Shakespeare, Lond. printed for W. Jaggard, 1599." Thus was this sonnet, &c. published as Shakespeare's in his life-time.

And yet there is good reason to believe that (not Shakespeare, but) Christopher Marlow wrote the song, and Sir Walter Raleigh the Nymph's Reply: For so we are positively assured by Isaac Walton, a writer of some credit, who has inserted them both in his Compleat Angler,* under the character of "that smooth song, which was made by Kit. Marlow, now at least fifty years ago; and an Answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter Raleigh in his younger days.... Old-fashioned poetry, but choicely good."It also passed for Marlow's in the opinion of his contemporaries; for in the old poetical miscellany, intitled England's Helicon, it is printed with the name of Chr. Marlow subjoined to it; and the Reply is subscribed Ignoto, which is known to have been a signature of Sir Walter Raleigh. With the same signature Ignoto, in that collection, is an imitation of Marlow's beginning thus:

[graphic]

* First printed in the year 1653, but probably written some time before.

"Come live with me, and be my dear,
And we will revel all the year,

In plains and groves, &c."

Upon the whole I am inclined to attribute them to Marlow, and Raleigh; notwithstanding the authority of Shakespeare's Book of Sonnets. For it is well known that as he took no care of his own compositions, so was he utterly regardless what spurious things were fathered upon him. Sir John Oldcastle, The London Prodigal, and The Yorkshire Tragedy, were printed with his name at full length in the title-pages, while he was living, which yet were afterwards rejected by his first editors Heminge and Condell, who were his intimate friends (as he mentions both in his will), and therefore no doubt had good authority for setting them aside.*

The following sonnet appears to have been (as it deserved) a great favourite with our earlier poets: for, besides the imitation above-mentioned, another is to be found among Donne's Poems, intitled The Bait, beginning thus:

"Come live with me, and be my love,

And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands, &c."

As for Chr. Marlow, who was in high repute for his dramatic writings, he lost his life by a stab received in a brothel, before the year 1593. See A. Wood, i. 138.

[These exquisite poems by Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh at once became popular favourites, and were often reprinted. The earliest appearance of the first was in Marlowe's Jew of Malta. An imperfect copy was printed by W. Jaggard with the Passionate Pilgrim in 1599, and the first stanza of the Reply was then added to it. In the following year both poems were correctly printed in England's Helicon, the first being signed "Chr. Marlow" and the second “Ignoto." When Walton introduced the poems into his Angler he attributed the Reply to Raleigh, and printed an additional stanza to each as follows:

Passionate Shepherd (after verse 20).

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat

Shall on an ivory table be

Prepared each day for thee and me.”

Since the above was written, Mr. Malone, with his usual discernment, hath rejected the stanzas in question from the other sonnets, &c. of Shakespeare, in his correct edition of the Passionate Pilgrim, &c. See his Shakesp. vol. x. p. 340.

Nymph's Reply (after verse 20).

"What should we talk of dainties then

Of better meat than's fit for men?

These are but vain, that's only good

Which God hath blest and sent for food."

In the Roxburghe Collection of Ballads (i. 205) is a street ballad in which these two songs are united and entitled A most excellent ditty of the Lover's promises to his beloved, with the Lady's prudent answer to her Love. The verses referred to above as added by Walton are here printed, but they take the place of verses 17 to 20 of each song respectively.

"But

Mr. Chappell and Dr. Rimbault have both drawn attention to the proofs of the popularity of Marlowe's song to be found in out of the way places. In Choice, Chance, and Change, or Conceits in their Colours (1606), Tidero being invited to live with his friend, replies, "Why, how now? do you take me for a woman, that you come upon me with a ballad of Come live with me and be my love ?" In The World's Folly, 1609, there is the following passage: there sat he, hanging his head, lifting up the eyes, and with a deep sigh singing the ballad of Come live with me and be my love, to the tune of Adew my deere." Nicholas Breton refers to it in 1637 as "the old song," but Walton considered it fresh enough to insert in his Angler in 1653, although Marlowe had then been dead sixty years.]

[graphic]

OME live with me, and be my love,
And we wil all the pleasures prove
That hils and vallies, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There will I make thee beds of roses
With a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle

Imbrodered all with leaves of mirtle;

10

« FöregåendeFortsätt »