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illustrate the manner of Jonson's adaptation and the comic force with which he imbues the dialogue, is necessarily of a length which the matter of neither poet merits.
Finiturus eram,sed sunt diversa puellis
Pectora; mille animos excipe mille modis-
Qui sapit, innumeris moribus aptus erit.
Hos cava contento retia fune trahunt:
Longius insidias cerva videbit anus.
Diffidet miserae protinus illa sibi :
Vilis in amplexus inferioris eat.
Quid vetet adposito lumen de lumine sumi,
Quisve cavo vastas in mare servet aquas?
Quid, nisi quam sumes, dic mihi, perdis aquam ?
Tempus erit, quo tu, quae nunc excludis amantes,
Frigida deserta nocte iacebis anus. When Morose has exhausted the list of places which he thinks might bear some comparison to the noise which surrounds him, 4. 4. 23, he scouts all offers of comfort and insists that 'Strife and tumult are the dowrie that comes with a wife'. So Ovid said, A. A. 2. 155 'Hoc decet uxores: dos est uxoria lites.'
In the very last scene of the play is a quotation from Ovid's poem, 2. 631, and the tone in which it is given by True-wit indicates a difference in the spirit of its adaptation, 5. 4. 240 ff. :
Parva queror: fingunt quidam, quae vera negarent,
Et nulli non se concubuisse ferunt.
Famaque, non tacto corpore, crimen habet.
Culta placent, auro sublimia tecta linuntur,
Nigra sub imposito marmore terra latet. Fuvenal. The Sixth Satire of Juvenal is incorporated into Act 2, Sc. 2, which is spoken by True-wit, and would be a monologue but for a few helpless interjections of Morose, which are inadequate to stop the storm of words which the speaker employs ‘thundring into him the incommodities of a wife'. Despite the bitterness of the satire, this scene is inimitably comic in its situation and application.
Early in Juvenal's satire comes the query, ‘Uxorem, Postume, ducis ?' It is so True-wit commences his tirade, 2. 2. 17: ‘They say, you are to marry? to marry! do you marke, sir?' But, he continues, the friends have sent him to recommend suicide rather than such a step as matrimony, suicide by drowning in the Thames, by a vault from Bow steeple, or from St. Paul's, or by poison. Compare Satire 6. 30:
Ferre potes dominam salvis tot restibus ullam,
Aut si de multis nullus placet exitus, illud ...
Credo pudicitiam Saturno rege moratam
Unus Hiberinae vir sufficit ? ocius illud
Extorquebis,' ut haec oculo contenta sit uno. When True-wit recites the varying torments a husband is subject to, if his wife be young or old, rich or poor, and the rest, he follows Juvenal closely. His list of dangerous pleasure-makers, 2. 2. 61 ff., the vaulter, rope-walker, jigdancer, and fencer, is suggested by Juvenal's 'comoedi, tragoedi, citharoedi, chorantes'. In 2. 2. 72 he gives the widow a thrust like Juvenal, 6. 140:
Libertas emitur: coram licet innuat atque
Rescribat; vidua est, locuples quae nupsit avaro. What follows about the disadvantages of a Puritanical wife is of course original in the English, but the succeeding point in regard to the trials of a man really in love with his wife, 2. 2. 92, reverts back to Sat. 6. 206 :
Si tibi simplicitas uxoria, deditus uni
Ferre iugum. Nullam invenies, quae parcat amanti ;... Extravagance is one of the chief faults of a woman : she demands for servants, 2. 2. 108, groomes, footmen, vshers, and other messengers’; for her tradesmen, embroyderers, iewellers, tyre-women, sempsters, fether-men, perfumers'. Juvenal has said, 6. 352:
Ut spectet ludos, conducit Ogulnia vestem,
Nutricem et flavam, cui det mandata, puellam. Ten lines further on Juvenal warns Postumus that 'prodiga non sentit pereuntem femina censum', which True-wit ingeniously enlarges on, saying, 2. 2. 111, 'Shee feeles not how the land drops away; nor the acres melt; nor forsees the change, when the mercer has your woods for her veluets. ... Line 367 in the Latin is useful in explaining a barbarous expression into which Jonson is betrayed, 2. 2. 115, where it is said of a page's smooth chin, that it has the despaire of a beard'. Juvenal says, Oscula delectent et desperatio barbae'. To such a use may we put line 468 ‘atque illo lacte fovetur Propter quod secum comites educit asellas,' which throws some light on True-wit's obscure remark that the athletic wife ‘rises in asses' milk'.
In more than one comedy Jonson ridicules the would be learned woman, she who is ambitious to be called a 'stateswoman'. In 2. 2. 116 ff. True-wit warns Morose against such a one, who would want to know all the news from Salisbury, from the Bath, from Court; censure all poetsDaniel, Spenser, and Jonson; argue theology, and even discuss mathematics. Juvenal renders a brief philippic against this species, 11. 434 ff. :
Illa etiam gravior, quae, cum discumbere coepit,
Atque alia parte in trutina suspendit Homerum. And he adds, as a climax of impertinence, 'haec de comoedis te consulit, illa tragoedum Commendare volet '.
Nor is the Elizabethan vice of superstitious beliefs in prognostications of various kinds lacking. True-wit, 2. 2. 126 ff., derides the unwarranted faith in conjurers and cunning women; Juvenal writes, Sat. 6. 565:
Consulit ictericae lento de funere matris,
Post ipsam ? In fine, True-wit follows Juvenal in inveighing against what might be termed 'the physical-culture movement' for women, then adds charges of artificiality, and generalizations which deprive maid and matron of any iota of honesty or virtue, presents the stunned Morose with a halter, which he is to use if tempted to try the evils of matrimony, and departs, winding his horn in triumph.
There is one touch in the Sixth Satire, à propos of the
hypercritical spirit of women in Jonson day, and the irritating effect of their exactions upon their husbands, which, it is to be regretted, Jonson overlooked. The most annoying thing in a wife, says Juvenal, 6. 455, if she possesses a little learning, is her eternal correction of her husband's language: Soloecismum liceat fecisse marito.' With this anti-climactic accusation against womankind, we pass to the remaining sources of the dialogue in Epicæne.
Canon-law. Act 5. 3, in which Morose consults with a divine and a canon-lawyer concerning the possibility of an annulment of his marriage, which had taken place so few hours before, is based on the fourteen impediments to marriage found in the old decretals. The language of the disputants follows naturally the explanations of the mediaeval textbooks on the subjects of marriage and its annulment. The verse of the canon quoted by Jonson on the impediments may be found in Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae 1.
The remaining references in the dialogue are for the most part reminiscences of the dramatist's vast reading. Morose's assertion that silence is the only dowry a wife need bring (1. 2. 26, 2. 5. 90) may be compared with Sophocles, Ajax 293 γύναι, γυναιξί κόσμον ή σιγή φέρει, and Euripides, Heraclidae 476-7 γυναικί γάρ σιγή τε και το σωφρονείν κάλλιστον, είσω θ' ήσυχον μένειν δόμων. The eulogy Morose pays to the silence in which oriental commands are given and obeyed (2. 1. 29 ff.) finds its source, according to Whalley, in the writings of Augier Ghislen de Busbec, or Busbecqué (Busbequius), a Flemish diplomatist and scholar of the sixteenth century, who wrote a popular volume on eastern life while ambassador at Constantinople for Ferdinand I. He says:
Videbam summo ordine cuiusque corporis milites suis locis distributos, et (quod vix credat qui nostratis militiae consuetudinem novit) summum erat silentium, summa quies, rixa nulla, nullum cuiusquam insolens factum sed ne vox quidem aut vitalatio per lasciviam aut ebrietatem emissa.
1 Cf. infra, note, 5. 3. 209.