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Furthermore, there is a distinct difference between Cervantes' and Beaumont's conceptions. However humble and even coarse to the world at large Dulcinea may be, to Don Quixote she is always and everywhere a beautiful and lofty lady, whom he abjectly worships. On the other hand, however chivalrous Ralph may be in his addresses to his absent lady-love, she is always to him, as to everybody else, merely the cobbler's maid in Milk-street,' and is never in his or other people's eyes exalted by her function as a lady to an aristocratic height. She is merely a prentice-boy's naturally chosen sweetheart, and offers no resemblance whatever to the attributes with which Don Quixote invests Dulcinea. Susan, as a denizen of Milk-street, is a thoroughly local personage, moreover, and her cobbling' vocation smacks more suggestively of London than of Dulcinea's rustic surroundings. That Ralph should have thought of honoring Susan, in particular, with his devotion is an aptly local touch, for it reflects the close community of the London trades, with perhaps some bit of condescension on the part of the grocer's boy in noticing a maiden whose master, unlike his own, belongs to one of the lower guilds, and not to one of the twelve great City Companies. There is in all this no hint of Dulcinea del Toboso and her country occupations, and there is nothing Spanish about it. Beaumont, we may well suppose, out of his own unassisted ingenuity, simply contrived to give point to his ridicule of the exaggerated ladyworship in the romances by calling before the imagination of his hearers a familiar London character in the person of this Susan, since the absurdity of the grocer knight's high-flown and chivalrous devotion to the cobbling dame' would be patent to any Lon
don audience. How faithfully Ralph's attitude toward Susan, his vows and invocations to her, reflect the character of the romances, may be seen in the illustrative passages from the romances which are quoted in my notes on the lines containing allusions to Susan.
In giving notice to Leonhardt's ascriptions to Don Quixote as a source of our play, I have incidentally covered all the larger features of the plot which are paralleled in the romances of chivalry. It would be possible to carry out the comparison with much greater minuteness. The burlesque portions of the play are packed with details of the romantic machinery. The relief of poor ladies (1.263), the swearing by the sword (2. 131), the keeping of the passage (2. 300), the mode of defying an enemy (2. 323–27), the functions of the dwarf and squire (3. 228), the taking of vows (3. 246-52)—these and numerous other particularities are carried over directly from the romances. There are ample citations of illustrative parallels in the notes, and we may therefore ignore at this point these smaller dependencies.
I trust that in the foregoing survey of analogous features in The Knight of the Burning Pestle and the romances it has been made sufficiently evident that Beaumont took the suggestion for his burlesque, so far as it touches the romances, directly out of his objects —— Amadis of Gaul, Palmerin de Oliva, Palmerin of England, &c.—and not, as far as is either demonstrable or probable, out of Don Quixote. I have attempted to show that every incident adduced is more reasonably ascribable to the romances themselves, or to local conditions, as the source of its inspiration, than to Don Quixote.
The broader aspects of the play and the novel tend to confirm the belief that their conceptions are
mutually independent. There is nothing in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, for example, to correspond to the Knight of La Mancha's Rozinante or to Sancho's
-beasts which play a most important part in the fortunes of their masters. If Beaumont had Cervantes in mind, is it not strange that he did not in some way appropriate these famous chargers ?
There is no figure in the play to correspond to Sancho Panza, and assuredly here is a type which would have lent itself so readily to stage-caricature, and to the emphasis of the burlesque, that we can hardly conceive of Beaumont's neglecting to adapt it had he known it at first hand. True, the citizen-spectators, like Sancho, represent the prosaic unimaginative world of fact, and they thus afford the proper foil to heighten the humor of the burlesque. But they are not, like Sancho, themselves engaged in the central action, and their characteristics are not his. They do not have his homespun sense, and their obtuse blindness to the factitious nature of the stage-play is not, like the stolidity of Sancho, ever and again crossed by a gleam of intelligence, a realization that all this chivalric phantasm is a delusion and a fraud, and that they are its dupes. On the contrary, its simplicity is so great that, though Ralph's identity never becomes blurred, whatever is enacted before them can to them be only reality, and Ralph's assumption of a chivalric role can only project him into the felicities and dangers of an actual knight ; while, unlike Sancho, who knows that the windmills are windmills, and tries to call his master away from their disastrous sweep, the citizen and his wife quake with fear for Ralph, as though he were fighting an actual giant when he meets the barber, while everywhere they excitedly stir hirn on to kill a lion, foil
are not burlesque hemselves, and not upon Don Quixote.
But the romances Directly upon the general lines of the romances
his enemy, or court the princess. They are very remote from Sancho Panza.
Again, there is no character in the play which resembles Don Quixote himself. The Don and Ralph have pratically nothing in common. Ralph struts and swaggers about the stage in keen realization of his histrionic importance, and never for an instant loses himself in the pathetic bewilderment which attaches to the old knight's semi-conciousness of conflict between his reason and his fancies, of disparity between his chivalric dream-world and the unsympathetic world of reality in which he actually moves. There is the same measure of difference between the conceptions which would naturally have existed between a roistering prentice-boy of the London shops and a decayed old country hidalgo who has become so steeped in the literature and peculiar culture of the day that his mind is turned. Surely, if Beaumont drafted the play upon the Spanish novel, we should expect to see a reproduction of at least some of the essential traits of its hero.
It would be interesting to study carefully the broader contrasts between the two burlesques, but this brief statement of their leading differences, together with the obvious differences in scope of development and in local significance, will tend to show the essential dissimilarity between the play and the novel, and to confirm the specific proofs, already given, which point to Beaumont's independence of Cervantes in his conception both of the idea and the plot of The
Knight of the Burning Pestle. The play and the novel touch each other closely in their satirical purpose; but, in its specific features, the play is modeled
2. Contemporary Plays and Ballads. A number of the features of The Knight of the Burning Pestle seem to have been suggested by contemporary plays, and by a popular ballad of the time.
It has long been recognized that one of the especial objects of the burlesque is Heywood's Four Prentices of London. I shall consider the relation of the satire to this play in a later section. At present, I wish to notice only the elements in its plot which were appropriated by Beaumont. These are few in number, but significant. There can be no doubt that the conception of a grocer-errant Jwas suggested by the four prentice brothers in Heywood's play. The brothers are sons of the Earl of Bouillon, who has been so reduced in fortune that he lives in London like a Cittizen,' and binds them as prentices to four trades. Through the vicisitudes of their fortunes, they rise from their lowly tradesman's rank to become knights and princes. I shall sketch the plot in detail at another point. Written in a grandiose style, and devoted to flattering the vanity of the tradesmen, the play easily lent itself to ridicule ; and Beaumont, though nowhere following its development closely, appropriated its central feature—the lidea of prentice) adventurers—for the purposes of his burlesque, and incorporated a few of its details.
Near the beginning of the play, Eustace expresses discontent with the humdrum life of the grocer's shop, and a desire for a warlike career:
I am a Grocer: Yet bad rather see