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San. Why, you may take it, and the devil burst you with it! one cannot save a bit after supper, but you are always ready to munch it up.
Boy. Why, come, man, we shall have good cheer anon at the bride-house, for your master's gone to church to be married already, and there's such cheer as passeth.
San. O brave! I would I had eat no meat this week, for I have never a corner left in my belly."
"The Historie of Alphonsus King of Aragon' one of the plays published with Greene's name, after his death-furnishes a passage or two which may be compared with the old "Taming of a Shrew :'—
ALPHONSUS KING OF ARAGON.
Go, pack thou hence unto the Stygian lake,
That damned villain that hath deluded me,
That I might muster bands of hellish fiends,
The English commentators and dramatic antiquaries, in looking around for a probable author of 'The Taming of a Shrew,' named Greene, and Peele, and Kyd. A correspondent of the editor of "The Pictorial Shakspere,' on the other side the Atlantic, has brought forward some remarkable resemblances between this unknown author and
Marlowe. He says, "A peculiarity of expression (Russian stems') in Marlowe's first play, "Tamburlaine,' which had before puzzled me in the old 'Taming of a Shrew,' led me to compare the two passages, and (judge my surprise) I found the one an almost verbatim reprint of the other. This coincidence induced me to compare more closely the style of the metrical portion of 'The Taming of a Shrew' with that of 'Tamburlaine,' and afterwards of Marlowe's other plays, in which I found so strong a general resemblance, as, conjoined with many direct transfers of lines from one to the other, seem to afford good ground for attributing both to one author. As the first witness in this case, I will place side by side such passages from Marlowe's acknowledged works as are copied into the one without a claimant :
(Applied to a Man.)
Image of honour and nobility
In whose sweet person is comprised the sum
'Eternal Heaven sooner be dissolved,
Tamburlaine, I., Act III., Sc. 2.
"Thy garments shall be made of Median silk, Enchased with precious jewels of mine own.' Tamburlaine, I., Act I., Sc. 2. 'And Christian merchants that with Russian stems Plough up huge furrows in the Caspian Sea.' Tamburlaine, I., Act I., Sc. 2. 'The terrene main.' II., Act I., Sc. 1. 'Wagner. Come hither, sirrah boy!
Robin. Boy! oh disgrace to my person! Zounds, boy in your face! You have seen many boys with beards, I am sure.'
Faustus, p. 12, ed. 1818. With ravishing sounds of his melodious harp.' Faustus, p. 20.
'Boy. Come hither, sirra boy!
Sander. Boy! oh disgrace to my person! Sounes, boy of your face! You have many boys with such pickadenaunts, I am sure.' P. 184. 'And ravishing sounds of his melodious harp.' P. 200.
"In other passages the imitation is strong, but not so direct; for example,
'Her sacred beauty hath enchanted heaven; And, had she lived before the siege of Troy, Helen (whose beauty summon'd Greece to arms,
And drew a thousand ships to Tenedos)
"The thousand ships' is a favourite allusion of Marlowe's. We have it again in 'Faustus.' It seems to have been in unison with his characteristic love of the magnificent."
The writer then proceeds to say, "Whatever view is taken of such glaring imitations, they may be well termed extraordinary. That an author should so closely repeat himself is at least unusual. That any one should so openly plagiarise from the works of a living writer universally known, and where detection would be certain, is next to incredible. Is not the latter hypothesis, also, rendered peculiarly improbable from the fact that the thefts are not from a single work, but are scattered over three distinct plays? Does it not appear more reasonable to suppose that the author of those three works should use a second time images familiar to his mind, than that another should to such an extent collect and appropriate them?
"A point naturally suggested here is, 'Are there any repetitions, like those under consideration, in the acknowledged works of Marlowe ?'-which I think may be answered in the affirmative. For, on very hastily running over them, a number have presented themselves, not, perhaps, so striking as those
by which they have to be paralleled, and yet sufficiently for the purpose." The passages subsequently quoted certainly bear out this assertion.
The writer then proceeds to show that the versification of this play, stiff and monotonous though it is, appears not to move so slowly as that of Greene; the poetical figures are poured out with a vehemence which he could not afford; and there is a glow, a voluptuous warmth, in the descriptions of female beauty, before which even the classical allusions (so cold in Greene) acquire something of life and heat. There are pictures of wealth also, which could scarcely have come from any one but the author of the 'Jew of Malta.' No dramatist that he remembers at all approaches Marlowe in such gorgeous passages. Further, there is scarcely a single classical reference in the Taming' which does not occur in 'Faustus' | or Tamburlaine.' The only existing specimen we have of Marlowe's comic power is in 'Faustus.' The Sander and Boy of "The Taming a Shrew' are pretty much a repetition of the Wagner and Robin of that play, from which indeed they borrow verbatim the commencement of a dialogue. Nor does the horse-play of the taming scenes appear out of Marlowe's reach. There is in them a violence done to the modesty of Nature,' a pandering to coarse taste, analogous in comedy to the monstrous rants and the bloody feasts which disfigure his tragic efforts. Attempt what he would, Marlowe's 'fiery soul' could not be restrained from 'working out its way.'
Do we, then, entirely agree with our correspondent that Marlowe was the author of 'The Taming of a Shrew,' in every sense? We do not go quite so far. We think that he has clearly made out that Marlowe has as good a title to the work as Greene-perhaps a better. Be it one or the other, they each belonged to the same school of poetry; Shakspere created a new school. But there are passages and incidents in "The Taming of a Shrew' which are unlike Marlowe-such as the scenes with Sly ;—these are unlike Greene also; they are fused more readily into Shakspere's own materials, because they are natural. We now propose a second theory.
| Was there not an older play than 'The Ta-
But there is a third theory,—that of Tieck -that 'The Taming of a Shrew' was a youthful work of Shakspere himself. To our minds that play is totally different from the imagery and the versification of Shakspere.
Shakspere's undoubted play, "The Taming of the Shrew,' was produced in a “taming age. Men tamed each other by the axe and the fagot; parents tamed their children by the rod and the ferrule, as they stood or knelt in trembling silence before those who had given them life; and, although England was then called the "paradise of women," and, as opposed to the treatment of horses, they were treated "obsequiously," husbands thought that “taming," after the manner of Petrucio, by oaths and starvation, was a commendable fashion. Fletcher was somewhat heretical upon this point; for he wrote a play called 'The Tamer Tamed, or the Taming of the Tamer,' in which Petrucio, having married a second wife, was subjected to the same process by which he conquered
Shakspere, and especially if that reader be a female, who cherishes unmixed indignation when Petrucio, in his triumph, exclaims— "He that knows better how to tame a shrew, Now let him speak,"
"Katharine the curst." The discipline ap- | Pardon for him? If there be one reader of peared to be considered necessary for more than a century afterwards; for we find in 'The Tatler' a story, told as new and original, of a gentleman in Lincolnshire who had four daughters, one of whom was so imperious a temper (usually called a high spirit), that it continually made great uneasiness in the family," but who was entirely reclaimed by the Petrucio recipe of "taking a woman down in her wedding shoes."
We are the happier our fortune-living in an age when this practice of Petrucio is not universally considered orthodox; and we owe a great deal to him who has exhibited the secrets of the "taming school" with so much spirit in this comedy, for the better belief of our age, that violence is not to be subdued by violence. It was he who said,
when the satirist cried out
"Give me leave
To speak my mind, and I will through and through
Cleanse the foul body of the infected world”—
it was he who said, in his own proper spirit of gentleness and truth,—
"Fie on thee! I can tell what thou wouldst do
Most mischievous foul sin in chiding sin." It was he who found "a soul of goodness in things evil," who taught us, in the same delicious reflection of his own nature, the real secret of conquering opposition :
"Your gentleness shall force, More than your force move us to gentleness."* Pardon be for him, if, treading in the footsteps of some predecessor whose sympathies with the peaceful and the beautiful were immeasurably inferior to his own, and sacrificing something to the popular appetite, he
should have made the husband of a froward woman "kill her in her own humour," and bring her upon her knees to the abject obedience of a revolted but penitent slave:
"A foul contending rebel, And graceless traitor to her loving lord."
*As You Like It.'
we would say,-the indignation which you feel, and in which thousands sympathize, belongs to the age in which you live; but the principle of justice, and of justice to women above all, from which it springs, has been established, more than by any other lessons of human origin, by him who has now moved your anger. It is to him that woman owes, more than to any other human authority, the popular elevation of the feminine character, by the most matchless delineations of its purity, its faith, its disinterestedness, its tenderness, its heroism, its union of intellect and sensibility. It is he that, as long as the power of influencing mankind by high thoughts, clothed in the most exquisite language, shall endure, will preserve the ideal elevation of women pure and unassailable from the attacks of coarseness or libertinism, ―ay, and even from the degradation of the example of the crafty and worldly-minded of their own sex-for it is he that has delineated the ingenuous and trusting Imogen, the guileless Perdita, the impassioned Juliet, the heart-stricken but loving Desdemona, the generous and courageous Portia, the unconquerable Isabella, the playful Rosalind, the world-unknowing Miranda. Shakspere may have exhibited one froward woman wrongly tamed but who can estimate the number of those from whom his all-penetrating influence has averted the curse of being froward?
If Shakspere requires any apology for 'The Taming of the Shrew,' it is for having adopted the subject at all-not for his treatment of it. The Kate of the comedy to which this bears so much resemblance, upon the surface, is a thoroughly unfeminine person, coarse and obstreperous, without the humour which shines through the violence of Shakspere's Katharine. He describes his Shrew
"Young and beauteous; Brought up as best becomes a gentlewoman." She has a "scolding tongue," "her only
ault." Her temper, as Shakspere has delineated it, is the result of her pride and her love of domination. She is captious to her father; she tyrannizes over her younger sister; she is jealous of the attractions of that sister's gentleness. This is a temper that perhaps could not be subdued by kindness, except after Petrucio's fashion of "killing a wife with kindness." At any rate, it could not be so subdued, except by a long course of patient discipline, quite incompatible with the hurried movement of a dramatic action. In the scene where Katharine strikes Bianca her temper has been exhibited at the worst. It is bad enough; but not quite so bad as appears from the following description of a French commentator:-" Catharine bat sa sœur par fantaisie et pour passer le temps, malgré les prières et les larmes de Bianca, qui ne se défend que par la douceur. Baptista accourt, et met Bianca en sureté dans sa chambre. Catharine sort, enragée de n'avoir plus personne à battre."* It is in her worst humour that Petrucio woos her; and surely nothing can be more animated than the wooing:
"For you are call'd plain Kate, And bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom,
Mr. Brownt has very judiciously pointed out the conduct of this scene as an example of Shakspere's intimate knowledge of Italian manners. The conclusion of it is in reality a betrothment; of which circumstance no indication is given in the other play. The imperturbable spirit of Petrucio, and the daring mixture of reality and jest in his deportment subdued Katharine at the first interview :
"Setting all this chat aside,
*Paul Duport, Essais Littéraires,' tom. ii. p. 305. † 'Shakspeare's Autobiographical Poems.'
Thus in plain terms:-Your father hath consented
That you shall be my wife;--your dowry 'greed on;
And will you, nill you, I will marry you." Katharine denounces him as
"A madcap ruffian, and a swearing Jack;" Petrucio heeds it not :
"We have 'greed so well together, That upon Sunday is the wedding-day." Katharine rejoinds,—
"I'll see thee hang'd on Sunday first;"
but, nevertheless, the betrothment proceeds:
"Give me thy hand, Kate: I will unto Venice, To buy apparel 'gainst the wedding-day :Provide the feast, father, and bid the guests; I will be sure my Katharine shall be fine. Bap. I know not what to say: but give me your hands;
God send you joy, Petrucio! 't is a match.
Gre. Tra. Amen, say we; we will be witnesses."
"Father and Wife," says Petrucio. The betrothment is complete; and Katharine acknowledges it when Petrucio does not come to his appointment:
"Now must the world point at poor Katharine, And say-Lo! there is mad Petrucio's wife, If it would please him come and marry her."
The "taming" has begun; her pride is touched in a right direction. But Petrucio does come. What passes in the church is matter of description, but the description is Shakspere all over. When we compare the freedom and facility which our poet has thrown into these scenes with the drawling course of the other play which deals with the same incidents, we are amazed that any one should have a difficulty in distinctly tracing his "fine Roman hand." Nor are the scenes of the under-plot in our opinion less certainly his. Who but Shakspere could have written these lines?