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The fairy Queen' of Spenser was pub-|
which line is found in the quarto, the being Act II. Sc. 1); Mrs. Quickly's allusion to in the place of those. This line alone is coaches ; the poetical description of the intaken by Malone to show that the comedy, signia of the Garter; and the mention of in its first unfinished state, was written the “ Cotsall” games. But, as not one of after Sir Walter Raleigh's return from these passages is found in the original Guiana in 1596.” Surely this is not precise quarto, the question of the date of the sketch enough. Golden shores were spoken of me- remains untouched by them. The exact date taphorically before Raleigh's voyage ; but is of very little importance, because we do the region in Guiana is a very different in- not know the exact dates of the two Parts dication. To our minds it shows that the of 'Henry IV. But, before we leave this sketch was written before Raleigh's return; branch of the subject, we may briefly notice -the finished play after Guiana was known a matter which is in itself curious, and and talked of.
In the original sketch we have the followlished in 1596. “The whole plot,” says ing passage : Chalmers," which was laid by Mrs. Page, to “Doctor. Where be my host de gartir ? be executed at the hour of fairy revel, Host. Oh, here, sir, in perplexity. around Herne's Oak, by urchins, ouphes,
Doctor. I cannot tell vat be dad, and fairies, green and white, was plainly an But be-gar I will tell you yon ting. allusion to “The Fairy Queen' of 1596,
Dere be a Germane duke come to de court which for some time after its publication
Has cosened all the hosts of Brainford was the universal talk.” A general mention
And Redding," of fairies and fairy revels might naturally This introduces the story of the “cozenoccur without any allusion to Spenser ; and age” of my host of the Garter, by some thus in the original sketch we have only Germans, who pretended to be of the retinue such a general mention. But in the amended of a German duke. Now, if we knew that copy of the folio. The Fairy Queen' is pre- a real German duke had visited Windsor (a sented to the audience three times as a rare occurrence in the days of Elizabeth), familiar name. If these passages may be we should have the date of the comedy taken to allude to "The Fairy Queen' of pretty exactly fixed. The circumstance Spenser, we have another proof (as far as would be one of those local and temporary such proof can go) that the original sketch, allusions which Shakspere seized upon to in which they do not occur, was written arrest the attention of his audience. In before 1596.
1592 a German duke did visit Windsor. We Again, in Falstaff's address to the Merry have before us, through the kindness of a Wives at Herne's Oak, we have—“Let the friend, a narrative, printed the old German sky rain potatoes, ..... and snow eringoes." language, of the journey to England of the These portions of a sentence are in Lodge's Duke of Würtemberg, in 1592, which narraDevils Incarnate,' 1596 ;—but they are not tive, drawn up by his secretary, contains a found in the original sketch of this comedy. daily journal of his proceedings. He was
Whatever may be the date of the original accompanied by a considerable retinue, and sketch, there can be no doubt, we think, that travelled under the name of “the Count the play, as we have received it from the Mombeliard." folio of 1623, was enlarged and revived after This curious volume contains a sort of the production of 'Henry IV.' Some would passport from Lord Howard, addressed to all assign this revival to the time of James I. Justices of Peace, Mayors, and Bailiffs, The passages which indicate this, according which we give without correction of the to Malone and Chalmers, are those in which orthography:
“ You 'll complain of me to “ Theras this nobleman, Counte Momthe king ?”—the word being council in the beliard, is to passe ouer Contrye in England, quarto ; “these knights will hack”—(see | into the lowe Countryes, Thise schal be to wil
and command you in heer Majte. name for was to invert the order of the syllables : such, and is heer pleasure to see him four- thus, in the 'Shepherd's Calendar,' Algrind nissed with post horses in his trauail to the stands for Archbishop Grindal, and Morel sea side, and ther to soecke up such schip- for Elmor, Bishop of London. In Lodge's pinge as schalbe fit for his transportations, 'Fig for Momus,' we also find Denroy for he pay nothing for the same, for wich tis Matthew Royden, and Ringde for Dering. schal be your sufficient warrante 800 see that Precisely according to this method, Garyour faile noth thereof at your perilles. momble is Momblegar—Mumpelgart. We From Bifleete, the 2 uf September, 1592. think this is decisive as to the allusion; and Your friend, C. HOWARD.”
that the allusion is decisive as to the date of “The “German duke" visited Windsor; the play. What would be a good joke when was shown “the splendidly beautiful and the Court was at Windsor in 1593, with the royal castle ;" hunted in the “parks full of visit of the Duke fresh in the memory of fallow-deer and other game;" heard the the courtiers, would lose its point at a later music of an organ, and of other instruments, period. with the voices of little boys, as well as a We now proceed to the more interesting sermon an hour long, in a church covered question—was 'The Merry Wives of Windwith lead ; and, after staying some days, sor' produced, either after “The First Part departed for Hampton Court. His grace of Henry IV.,' after the Second Part,' after and his suite must have caused a sensation •Henry V.,' or before all of these historical at Windsor. Probably mine host of the plays ? Let us first state the difficulties Garter had really made "grand preparation which inseparably belong to the circumfor a Duke de Jarmany;"—at any rate he stances under which the similar characters of would believe Bardolph's story,—“the Ger- the historical plays and the comedy are mans desire to have three of your horses." found, if the comedy is to be received as a Was there any dispute about the ultimate continuation of the historical plays. payment for the duke's horses for which he The Falstaff of the two parts of 'Henry was “to pay nothing ?” Was my host out IV.,' who dies in Henry V.,' but who, acof his reckoning when he said, “They shall cording to Malone, comes alive again in have my horses, but I'll make them pay ?" | The Merry Wives,' is found at Windsor Sir Hugh, who has a spite against mine host, living lavishly at the Garter Inn, sitting “at thus tells him the ill news. “ Where is mine ten pounds a week,”—with Bardolph, and Host of the Garter ? Now, mine Host, I Nym, and Pistol, and the Page, his “folwould desire you to have a care of your lowers.” At what point of his previous life entertainments, for there is three sorts of is Falstaff in this flourishing condition ? At cosen garmombles is cosen all the Host of Windsor he is represented as having comMaidenhead and Readings.” We have no mitted an outrage upon one Justice Shallow. doubt whatever that the author of the 'Merry Could this outrage have been perpetrated Wives of Windsor' literally rendered the after the borrowing of the “ thousand pound," tale of mine host's perplexity for the amuse- which was unpaid at the time of Henry the ment of the Court. For who was the Ger- Fifth's coronation ; or did it take place man Duke who visited Windsor in the au- before Falstaff and Shallow renewed their tumn of 1592 ? “ His Serene Highness the youthful acquaintance under the auspices of Right Honourable Prince and Lord, Frede- Justice Silence ? Johnson says, “ This play rick Duke of Würtemberg and Teck, Count should be read between “King Henry IV.' of Mümpelgart." The passport of Lord and ‘King Henry V.,'” that is, after FalHoward describes him as Count Mombeliard. staff's renewed intercourse with Shallow, the And who are those who have rid away with borrowing of the thousand pounds, and the the horses?
“Three sorts of cosen garmom- failure of his schemes at the coronation. bles.” One device of the poets of that day Another writer says, “It ought rather to be for masking a real name under a fictitious read between the First and Second Part of
King Henry IV.'”—that is, before Falstaff | the sketch, Master Shallow (we do not find had met Shallow at his seat in Gloucester- even his name of Robert) is indeed a “cavalero shire, at which meeting Shallow recollects justice,” according to our Host of the Garter, nothing that had taken place at Windsor, but his commission may be in Berkshire for and had clean forgotten the outrages of Fal- aught that the poet tells us to the contrary. staff upon his keeper, his dogs, and his deer. Slender, indeed, is “as good as is any in But Falstaff had been surrounded by much Glostershire, under the degree of a squire,” more important circumstances than had and he is Shallow's cousin ;—but of Shallow belonged to his acquaintance with Master “the local habitation” is undefined enough Shallow. He had been the intimate of a to make us believe that he might have been Prince-he had held high charge in the a son, or indeed a father (for he says, “ I am royal army. We learn indeed that he is a
fourscore") of the real Justice Shallow. “soldier” when he addresses Mrs. Ford ; Again :-In 'Henry IV., Part I.,' we have a but he entirely abstains from any of those Hostess without a name,—the "good pintallusions to his royal friend which might pot” who is exhorted by Falstaff“ love thy have been supposed to be acceptable to a husband;"—in ‘Henry IV., Part II.,' we Merry Wife of Windsor. In the folio copy have Hostess Quickly,- a poor widow," of the amended play we have, positively, according to the Chief Justice, to whom not one allusion to his connection with the Falstaff owes himself and his money too;court. In the quarto there is one solitary in ‘Henry V.,' this good Hostess is "the passage, which would apply to any court- quondam Quickly," who has married Pistol, to that of Elizabeth, as well as to that of and who, if the received opinion be correct, Henry V.-“Well, if the fine wits of the died before her husband returned from the court hear this, they 'll so whip me with wars of Henry V. Where shall we place the their keen jests that they 'll melt me out Mistress Quickly, than whom “never a woman like tallow.” In the same quarto, when Fal- in Windsor knows more of Anne's mind,”staff hears the noise of hunters at Herne's and who defies all angels “but in the way Oak, he exclaims, “I'll lay my life the of honesty ?"-She has evidently had no mad Prince of Wales is stealing his father's previous passages with Sir John Falstaff;— deer.” This points apparently at the Prince she is “ a foolish carrion" only, Dr. Caius's of Henry IV.;' but we think it had re- nurse, or his dry nurse, or his cook, or his ference to the Prince of the 'Famous Vic- laundry ;-she has not heard Falstaff declaim, tories,'—a character with whom Shakspere’s “as like one of these harlotry players as I ever audience was familiar. The passage is left see;"—she has not sate with him by a seaout in the amended play; but we find an- coal fire, when goodwife Keech, the butcher's other passage which certainly is meant for wife, came in and called her “gossip Quickly;" a link, however slight, between 'The Merry —she did not see him “fumble with the Wives' and 'Henry IV.:' Page objects to sheets, and play with flowers, and smile upon Fenton that "he kept company with the his fingers' ends,” when “there was but one wild Prince and with Pointz.” The corre- way.” Falstaff and Quickly are strangers. sponding passage in the quarto is “the gen- She is to him either “goodwife” or “good tleman is wild-he knows too much." maid,”—and at any rate only “fair woman."
What does Shallow do at Windsor-he Surely, we cannot place Mistress Quickly of who inquired “how a good yoke of bullocks «The Merry Wives' after 'Henry V.,' when at Stamford fair?" -- Robert Shallow, of she was dead; or after "The Second Part of Glostershire, “a poor esquire of this county, Henry IV.,' when she was a “poor widow;” and one of the king's justices of the peace?" or before · The Second Part,' when she had a It is true that we are told by Slender that husband and children. She must stand he was “in the county of Gloster, justice of alone in "The Merry Wives,'-an undefined peace, and coram,”—but this information is predecessor of the famous Quickly of the first given us in the amended edition. In | Boar's Head.
But Pistol and Bardolph-are they not the Would any audience ever endure such a same "irregular humourists” (as they are violence to their habitual modes of thought? called in the original list of characters to Would the readers of The Spectator' have “The Second Part of Henry IV.') acting with tolerated the revival of Sir Roger de Coverley Falstaff under the same circumstances? We in “The Guardian?' Could the mother of think not. The Pistol of. The Merry Wives' the Mary of Avenel of “The Monastery' be is not the "ancient” Pistol of “The Second found alive in “The Abbot,' except through Part of Henry IV.? and of 'Henry V.,'nor is the agency of the White Lady? The conBardolph the “corporal” Bardolph of “The ception is much too monstrous. Second Part of Henry IV.,' nor the “lieu- Every person who has written on the tenant” Bardolph of Henry V.' In the character of Falstaff admits the inferiority of title-page, indeed, of the sketch, published the butt of "The Merry Wives of Windsor' to as we believe without authority as a substitute the wit of the Boar’s Head. It is remarkable for the more complete play, we have “the that in Morgann's very elaborate “Essay on swaggering vaine (vein) of ancient Pistoll the Character of Falstaff' not one of his and corporal Nym.” Corporal Nym is no characteristics is derived from the comedy. companion of Falstaff in the historical plays, It has been regretted, by more than one for he first makes his appearance in the critic, that Shakspere should have carried on · Henry V. Neither Pistol, nor Bardolph, the disgrace of Falstaff in the conclusion of nor Nym, appear in “The Merry Wives' to 'Henry IV.,' to the further humiliation of be soldiers serving under Falstaff. They are the scenes at Datchet Mead and Herne's Oak; his “cogging companions” of the first sketch; and, what is worse, that Shakspere should in they are his “ coney-catching rascals” of the comedy have exaggerated the vices of the amended play ;-in both they are his Falstaff, and brought him down from his “ followers," whom he can turn away, discard, intellectual eminence. Shakspere found cashier; but Falstaff is not their “ captain.” somewhat similar incidents to the adventures
It certainly does appear to us that these of Falstaff with Mrs. Ford in a ‘Story of the anomalous positions in which the characters Two Lovers of Pisa, published in Tarleton's common to “The Merry Wives of Windsor''Newes out of Purgatorie,' 1590. In that and the “Henry IV.' and `Henry V.' are story an intrigue is carried on, with no placed, furnish a very strong presumption innocent intentions on the part of the lady, that the comedy was not a continuation of with a young man who makes the old husband the histories. That The Merry Wives of his confidant, as Falstaff makes Brook, and Windsor' was a continuation of 'Henry V.' whose escapes in chests and úp chimneys appears to us impossible. Malone does not may have suggested the higher comedy of think it very clear that "The Merry Wives the buck basket and the wise woman of of Windsor?" was written after ‘King Henry Brentford. The story is given at length in V. Nym and Bardolph are both hanged in Malone's edition of our poet. But Shakspere * King Henry V.,' yet appear in "The Merry desired to show a butt and a dupe—not a Wives of Windsor.' Falstaff is disgraced in successful gallant; a husband jealous without "The Second Part of King Henry IV.,' and cause—not an unhappy old man plotting dies in ‘King Henry V.;' but in ‘The Merry against his betrayers. He gave the whole Wives of Windsor’he talks as if he were yet affair a ludicrous turn. He made the lover in favour at court.” Assuredly these are old, and fat, and avaricious;-betrayed by his very natural objections to the theory that own greediness and vanity into the most the comedy was written after “Henry V.;' humiliating scrapes, so that his complete but Malone disposes of the difficulty by the degradation was the natural dénouement of summary process of revival. Did ever any the whole adventure, and the progress of the most bungling writer of imagination his shame the proper source of merriment. proceed upon such a principle as is here could the adroit and witty Falstaff of imputed to the most skilful of dramatists ?-\ 'Henry IV.' have been selected by Shakspere
for such an exhibition? In truth the Falstaff different from other men, but altogether in of “The Merry Wives,' especially as we have nature. Could he much lower the character him in the first sketch, is not at all adroit, and of that man ? Another and a feebler not very witty. Read the very first scene in dramatist might have given us the Falstaff which Falstaff appears in this comedy. To of “The Merry Wives' as an imitation of the Shallow's reproaches he opposes no weapon Falstaff of 'Henry IV.;' but Shakspere must but impudence, and that not of the sublime have abided by the one Falstaff that he had kind which so astounds us in the 'Henry IV.' made after such a wondrous fashion of truth Read further the scene in which he discloses and originality. his views upon the Merry Wives to Pistol and And then Justice Shallow-never to be Nym. Here Pistol is the wit:
forgotten Justice Shallow !—The Shallow "Fal. My honest lads, I will tell you what I who will bring Falstaff“ before the council” am about.
is not the Shallow who with him "heard the Pist. Two yards and more.
chimes at midnight." The Shallow of the Fal. No quips now, Pistol.”
sketch of The Merry Wives' has not even
Shallow's trick of repetition. In the amended Again, in the same scene :
Play this characteristic may be recognised; “ Fal. Sometimes the beam of her view gilded but in the sketch there is not a trace of it. my foot, sometimes my portly belly. Pist . Then did the sun on dunghill shine. For example, in the first scene of the finished
play we find Shallow talking somewhat like There can be no doubt, however, that, when the great Shallow, especially about the fallow the comedy was remodelled, which certainly greyhound; in the sketch this passage is was done after the production of Henry IV.,' altogether wanting. In the sketch he says the character of Falstaff was much heightened to Page, “Though he be a knight, he shall But still the poet kept him far behind the pot think to carry it so away. Master Page, Falstaff of Henry IV.? Falstaff's descriptions, I will not be wronged.” In the finished play first to Bardolph and then to Brook, of his we have, “He hath wronged me; indeed, he buckbasket adventure, are amongst the best hath; at a word he hath: believe me; things in the comedy, and they are very Robert Shallow, esquire, saith he is wronged." slightly altered from the original sketch. And Bardolph too! Could it be predicated But compare them with any of the racy that the Bardolph of a comedy wbich was passages of the Falstaff of the Boar’s Head, produced after the ‘Henry IV.' would want and after the comparison we feel ourselves those “meteors and exhalations” which in the presence of a being of far lower powers characterize the Bardolph who was a standing of intellect than the Falstaff “unimitated, joke to Falstaff and the Prince? Would his unimitable.” Is this acknowledged inferiority zeal cease to“ burn in his nose ?” Absolutely, of the Falstaff of “The Merry Wives' most in the first sketch, there is not the slightest easily reconciled with the theory that he was allusion to that face which “ blushed produced before or after the Falstaff of the extempore.” One mention, indeed, there is
Henry IV.?' That Elizabeth might have in the complete play of the “red face,” and suggested 'The Merry Wives,' originally, one supposed allusion of “Scarlet and John.” upon some traditionary tale of Windsor- The commentators have wished to show that that it might have been acted in the gallery Bardolph in both copies is called “a tinderwhich she built at Windsor, and which still box” on account of his nose; but this is not bears her name—we can understand; but very clear. And then Pistol is not the we cannot reconcile the belief that Shakspere magnificent bully of The Second Part of produced the Falstaff of “The Merry Wives' Henry IV.,' and of Henry V. He has after the Falstaff of 'Henry IV.' with our “affectations," as Sir Hugh mentions, and unbounded confidence in the habitual power speaks “in Latin,” as Slender has it;of such a poet. To him Falstaff was a thing but he is here literally "a tame cheater," of reality. He had drawn a man altogether but not without considerable cleverness.