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dramatists drew their Spanish plots from English and French translations. Of the details of this evidence I am not exactly informed', but so far as regards The Knight of the Burning Pestle, I have become confident, after careful examination, that its authors wrote it in complete independence of its accredited source, Don Quixote. This independence is witnessed by the significant omission of some of the most salient features of the Spanish novel, and, more positively still, by a resemblance between the play's episodes and the romances which is demonstrably greater than that between the play and Don Quixote. I shall now set forth these parallelisms in some detail.
It will be best to list the features in Don Quixote and the play which are approximately coincident, and then to consider the assumed dependence of the play upon the novel in view of the larger area of chivalric romance itself. The most specific exposition of the Don Quixote theory was made in 1885 by Dr. Leonhardt, who published at Annaberg, Germany, in that year, a monograph entitled Über Beaumont und Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle, in which he set forth the following parallels between the play and the novel : • a. Ralph's adoption of a squire: Don Quixote's en
gagement of Sancho Panza. b. Ralph's rescue of Mistress Merrythought: Don
Quixote's rescue of the Biscayan lady. c. Ralph's adventures at the inn: Don Quixote's.
similar adventures at an inn. ,d. The barber's basin: the helmet of Mambrino.' .e. The liberation of the barber's patients: the lib
eration of the galley-slaves. · Again, I have depended upon the conclusions of Dr. Schevill, who has made a careful study of the question.
f. Ralph's fidelity to Susan before Pompiona : Don
Quixote's fidelity to Dulcinea before Maritornes.
Dulcinea del Toboso. Now when The Knight of the Burning Pestle and Don Quixote are compared without reference to the romances which are the common object of their burlesque, some of these resemblances are undeniably strong; but others are trivial, and all of them are deprived of significance when set beside the more striking parallels to the play to be found within the romances themselves, or when set against the differences between the play and the novel in their local backgrounds. Let us examine Leonhardt's points in the above order.
a. The Adoption of a Squire. In Act 1, 1. 289 Ralph says:
Haue you heard of any that hath wandered vnfurnished of his squire and dwarf? My elder prentice Tim shall be my trusty squire, and
little George my dwarf. Leonhardt calls up Don Quixote's engagement of Sancho Panza as his squire (Bk. 1, chap. 7), and cites it as evidence of the play's dependence on the novel. As a matter of fact, the situations involved are entirely dissimilar. Ralph is merely a swaggering prentice-boy, who is fully conscious of playing a part, and, out of his knowledge of knight-errantry, claps up a swift bargain, whereby his two underlings in the grocer's shop become his chivalric attendants. Don Quixote, on the other hand, is a deluded old visionary, who enters upon his harebrained undertaking in perfect seriousness, and who, moreover, has to dicker a long time with his slow-witted neighbor before he can persuade him to the enterprise. Beyond these differences, there is the widest imaginable
contrast between the sprightly juvenile errants who follow Ralph, and the ponderous and unwilling Sancho.
Moreover, Don Quixote desires only a squire, while Ralph calls for a squire and a dwarf. This notion of a double attendance could not have been derived from Don Quixote. It was taken directly from the romances. An illustration of it may be found, for example, in Amadis of Gaul and Palmerin de Oliva, two continental romances which had become exceedingly popular in England through Anthony Munday's translation of the first two books of the former in 1595, and of the whole of the latter in 1588–97. There is continual mention of Amadis' squire, Gandalin, and his dwarf, Ardian. Palmerin de Oliva's only constant attendant is his dwarf, Urbanillo, but he is also accompanied, on certain occasions, by one, and sometimes more than one, esquire. A conspicuous example is to be found in Part 1, chap. 16. Palmerin is preparing to go forth to slay a horrible serpent, when he is addressed by the Princess Arismena:
I shall yet desire you, said the Princess, that for my sake you will take with you three Esquires which I will give you, which may send you succour if any inconvenience should befall you. Then she called the Esquires, and presented them unto him. ... Then he commanded the Esquires and his Dwarfe Urbanillo, to expect his return at the
foot of the Mountaine. The passage is typical, and is far more nearly parallel to the situation in our play than is Don Quixote.
One may reject, then, as untenable, Leonhardt's assumption that the conception of Ralph's squire and dwarf was inspired by that of Sancho Panza. These characters bear no significant likeness to their accredited prototype ; on the contrary, they present a marked disparity to him. The only analogous figures are to be found in the romances themselves. In the
persons of Tim and George, Beaumont is merely bur. lesquing one of the recurrent features of the romantic machinery, and I see no reason for doubting that he is so doing in complete independence of Cervantes.
b. The Rescue of Mrs. Merrythought. Near the beginning of Act 2 (1. 105), Ralph enters Waltham Forest in search of adventures, and there chances upon Mrs. Merrythought and little Michael. woman is naturally frightened at the grotesque appearance of the supposititious knight, and is made to cry out: “Oh, Michael, we are betrayed, we are betrayed! here be giants! Fly, boy! fly, boy, fly!' She runs out with Michael, leaving a casket of jewels behind her. Ralph immediately assumes that the boy is some uncourteous knight,' from whose embrace a 'gentle lady' is flying, and swears to rescue her. He overtakes Mrs. Merrythought, and learns of the loss of the casket, upon the quest of which he straightway sets out, but he is soon diverted from the quest by the adventure on behalf of Humphrey, and later by his combat with the barber-giant.
Leonhardt asserts, without vouchsafing the slightest reason for so doing, that this episode originated from Don Quixote's chivalrous defense of a lady in Bk. 1, chap. 7. It will be recalled that, in the Spanish novel, two peaceable friars of St. Benet's order are traveling along a highroad, followed by a coach in which rides a certain Biscayan lady, of whom, however, they are unconscious. Don Quixote, espying them, calls out to his squire :
Either I am deceived, or else this will prove the most famous adventure that hath been seen; for these two great black hulks, which appear there, are, questionless, enchanters, that steal or carry sway perforce, some princess in that coach ; and therefore I must, with all my power, undo that wrong!
1 Shelton's trans.
Therewith the deranged old hidalgo sets upon the friars, who, as soon as they are able, take to their heels in terror. The Don then becomes embroiled with one of the Biscayan lackeys, who objects to this stoppage of the progress of his mistress. Don Quixote overcomes his opponent in the fight, and grants him his life only on condition that he go and offer his services to the Lady Dulcinea.
It ought to be perfectly patent that there is no necessary connection whatever between these episodes. There is no similarity of sufficient importance to warrant the supposition that the one suggested the other. Their qualifying features, their developments, and their issues are totally unlike. They are allied only in the fact that their creators are both turning into ridicule one of the most persistent motives to be found in chivalric romance—the interminable rescues of 'gentle ladies' who find themselves in distressing predicaments through the wiles of "uncourteous knights' and wicked enchanters. I see no reason for assuming, on the basis of mere correspondence in purpose, that Beaumont derived a typical romantic theme like this from a dissimilar development of the theme in Cervantes, or, for that matter, that he had ever heard of Cervantes' episode.
The significant outcome of Ralph's meeting with Mrs. Merrythought is the 'great venture of the purse and the rich casket.' It should be remarked that there are no adventures of the casket' in Don Quixote. Here, again, our comedy is dependent directly upon the romances, wherein such quests are not infrequent. Since Palmerin de Oliva is shown, from the definite allusions to it, to have been prominently in Beaumont's mind as an object of the burlesque, it is possible that Mrs. Merrythought's ill luck is suggested by the