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fact that the distinct traces of classical knowledge in his imputed works are to be found mainly in those which, for many readers through many generations, have always been under veto or suspicion on grounds of style, is in itself a fact of obvious critical importance.

This said, I leave for another time, or to other hands, the systematic discussion as to what is and is not genuine in the Shakespeare plays. That these problems must and will be grappled with, I am assured. The recent confident deliverance of Mr. C. F. Tucker Brooke, that “all attempts to deprive the poet of a large interest in any of the thirty-six plays . . . have failed," 1 is only a suggestion to the effect that, despite such admirable critical work as Professor Bradley's, little contribution to the undertaking from English academic sources is now to be looked for beyond the useful item of careful collation of texts. Our problems, however, must be handled in detail ; and it is possible to isolate for the time being the general question of critical method, and that of a particular literary influence.

A perusal of Mr. Collins's essays will show that on the one hand, while admitting an influence exercised by Montaigne on Shakespeare, he denies

1 Introduction to The Shakespeare Apocrypha, 1908, p. xii.

the validity of much of the evidence hereinafter given to prove that influence ; and that on the other hand he affirms a general influencing of Shakespeare by the Greek and Latin classics—this upon grounds not distinguishable in kind, though, as I think, very different in strength, from those put forward in


treatise. The final difficulty is, to know what weight Mr. Collins ascribed to either his general thesis or his particular propositions. In the preface to his volume of Studies he writes as to his “parallel illustrations":

“ It must not be supposed that I have any wish to attach undue weight to them. As a rule such illustrations belong rather to the trifles and curiosities of criticism, to its tolerabiles nugae, rather than to anything approaching importance. But

cumulatively they are remarkable.”

I should add that they are very interesting in themselves to students of literary causation and evolution. No one, I think, has ever put together so many parallelisms of expression between Shakespeare and the Greek tragedies as Mr. Collins has done. The trouble is that he has not attempted to frame, and has failed to recognise the difficulties in the way of framing, any code as to legitimate and illegitimate inferences from literary parallels. Often he shows himself alive to the risks of false induction. Observing that

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"we must not admit as evidence any parallels in
sentiment and reflection which, as they express
commonplaces, are likely to be mere coincidences,”
he fills several pages with interesting cases in point,
and yet thereafter stresses other parallels which are
no less constituted from commonplaces. Thus he
writes that such parallels as the following may
point to no more than coincidence :
To you your father should be as a god (M.S.N.D. i, 1).

νόμιζε σαυτό τους γονείς είναι θεούς.
(Consider that thy parents are gods to thee.)

(Menander, Senten. SINGULAR. in Stobaeus.) Thus conscience doth make cowards of us all (Hamlet, iii, 1).

ο συνιστορών αυτώ τι, κάν ή θρασύτατος,

η σύνεσις αυτόν δειλότατον είναι ποιεί. (He who is conscious of aught, e'en though he be the boldest of men, conscience makes him the most cowardly.Menander quoted in Stobaeus, SERM. xxiv.) Yet he continues as follows :

But, “fat paunches have lean pates" (L.L.L. i, 1) is undoubtedly from the anonymous Greek proverb :

παχεία γαστηρ λεπτόν ου τίκτει νόον

(Fine wit is never the offspring of a fat paunch); and the line in 3 Henry VI, i, 2, “For a kingdom any oath may be broken,” as certainly a reminiscence of Euripides, PHOENISSAE, 524-5:

είπερ γαρ αδικείν χρή, τυραννίδος πέρι

κάλλιστον αδικείν. (If indeed one must do injustice, injustice done for sovereignty's sake is honorablest.)


Though this may have come through Seneca :
Imperio pretio quolibet constant bene.

PhoenissAE, 664. Now, the obvious comment here is that all the passages are alike of the nature of commonplaces, maxims, or pseudo-maxims, and that not “coincidence" but common currency is the explanation. To

say that fat paunches have lean wits is to deal in proverbial wisdom no less than in saying “to you your father should be as a god.” Such sayings are the common money of ancient literature, and as such were made current in Europe through the whole period of the Renaissance. The Interlude of Calisto AND Meleben, dating from about 1530, and based upon the copious Spanish dramatic novel Celestina, begins by citing “Franciscus Petrarcus the poet lawreate” and “Eraclito the wyse clerk” to the effect that strife gives birth to and runs through all things, and that there is nothing under the firmament equivalent in all points with any other. There is no saying how many ancient sentences thus became current. The lost "tragic comedy of

“ Celestina” is entered in the Stationers' Register in 1598 as a work “wherein are discoursed in most pleasant style many philosophical sentences and advertisements very necessary


young and on the other hand to the works of the English dramatists who preceded Shakespeare. In

gentlemen ”;' and other lost plays doubtless drew much' on Seneca and other classics for reflections. It is indeed conceivable that the passage cited from 3 Henry VI, i, 2, may be a. reminiscence from Euripides or Seneca: the spavined English line cries aloud its non-Shakespearean paternity; and the “university hack” who wrote it may have read Euripides. Peele, we know, had. But it is far more probable that the tag was already current in the English form. Oath-breaking and injustice are different concepts ; but sayings of this sort on either theme could easily be new-minted among the moderns without reminiscence of anything in Greek. The odd thing is that Mr. Collins did not bethink him of turning on the one hand to the version of the PHOENISSAE published in 1573 by Gascoigne, under the title of Jocasta, where the passage in question is translated : 2

If law of right may any way be broke
Desire of rule within a climbing breast
To break a vow may bear the buckler best,


1 See the pref. to the Malone Society's rep. of Calisto and Melebea, 1909.

? Cunliffe's ed. of Gascoigne's Works, i, 272.

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