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Greene's Selimus may be found no fewer than six variants of the sentiment in question :
Bare faith, pure virtue, poor integrity,
(11. 1731-2.) For th' only things that wrought our empery Were open wrongs, and hidden treachery.
(11. 1736-7.) I count it sacrilege for to be holy.
(11. 272-3.) To say nothing of the high probability that the passage in 3 Henry VI is actually from Greene's
3 hand, such data clearly forbid the resort to the classics for the immediate source of any tag in a Shakespearean play.
Mr. Collins proceeds to cite as a probable case of reminiscence the passage :
All places that the eye of heaven visits
(RICHARD II, i, 3.)
putting without comment the parallel :
άπασα δε χθών ανδρί γενναία πατρίς.
(Euripides, Frag. EX INCERT. TRAG., xxxviii.) Now, this particular maxim, as it happens, had been made current in Latin by Cicero ;' and it is found not only in Lyly's EUPHues in the form : “he noted that every place was a country to a wise man, ”? but in a whole series of other Elizabethan writers before Shakespeare. In the DAMON AND Pothias of Richard Edwards (1571) occurs the line :
Omne solum forti patria : a wyse man may live every wheare. It is used both by Greene and Peele : Tully said every country is a wise man's home.3 And every
climate virtue's tabernacle.4 And it appears in SOLIMAN AND PersedAin the form :
And where a man lives well, that is his country. It is surely clear that in the face of such data no inference can be led from the bare fact of a parallel
| Tusc. Disp. v, 37, § 108: “Patria est ubicumque est bene.” This is cited from some lost tragedy. Aristophanes burlesques it (Plutus, 1151) and Euripides puts the idea twice.
Euphues : the Anatomy of Wit. Arber's rep. p. 187. Cp. p. 189. 3 Greene, Mourning Garment. Works, ed. Grosart, xi, 132. 4 Peele, Farewell, 49.
6 iv, ii, 7.
between a classic phrase and one in a Shakespearean play, disputed or undisputed. And the application of such texts as have been indicated, it will be found, serves to break down the majority of Mr. Collins's classic parallels. Many are non-significant; many are phrases current in Elizabethan literature ; many more bear upon plays which a multitude of critics recognise to contain more or less of non-Shakespearean matter.
And as regards one of the parallels on which Mr. Collins laid most stress, that between a passage in TroilUS and one in Plato's First ALCIBIADES—a parallel which is the more likely to impress the ordinary reader because it had been already drawn by the late Richard Grant White—it will be shown in the following treatise, where the Troilus passage is dealt with, that the resort to Plato for its source is an error, there being others, lying to Shakespeare's hand in English, which more exactly meet the case. Yet other plausible and interesting parallels similarly dissolve under analysis. The referring of three lines in Henry V (1, ii, 180–83), for instance, to a passage from Cicero's DE REPUBLICA, quoted by Augustine, proceeds on the assumption that since there was no current translation of Augustine's
i De Civitate Dei, ii, 21.
book or of the fragments of the Republic, Shakespeare cannot reasonably be supposed to have met with the passage save in the Latin. Now, supposing the passage had reached him as a Latin quotation, the power to give a free rendering of it would be very far from justifying the inference that he read much in the Latin classics ; and Mr. Collins, as it happens, offers no further reason for supposing that he had read the De Civitate Dei. To what then are we led? What can be more unlikely than that such a passage should in Elizabethan England have been left for a dramatist to put in currency? In so common a book as Sir Thomas Elyot's GOVERNOUR (1531) the central idea is expounded in the opening chapter ; in De
; Mornay's treatise on the Christian religion (translated in 1589) the thesis of the general harmony of nature is reiterated in several chapters ; and it lay open to every divine to comment it with the sentence of Cicero out of Augustine.
Turning from such eminently unconvincing instances of Shakespeare's study of Latin literature, we find ourselves challenged by a series of parallels of phrase such as those between “the lazy foot of time" and Euripides' dapòv xpóvou móda (BACCH. 889); “the belly-pinched wolf” (LEAR, iïi, 1) and the roiloryáo topes dúkou of Aeschylus (SEPTEM C.
Theb. 1037-8); “ blossoms of your love" and
When, again, we are led for firmer footing to instances of positive “Greekisms ” in the plays,
, that is, actual impositions of Greek idiom upon English speech, we are left asking whether the classical thesis has not by this time destroyed itself. Mr. Collins's main contention, as we saw, is that Shakespeare read Latin fluently, but resorted to Latin translations for his knowledge of the Greek classics. Now he has insensibly reached the position that Shakespeare was so steeped in Greek as to think in Greek idiom when
1 Studies, p. 51.
2 Id. p. 52.