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thyng that is concluded, for some shall not paie the tenth parte, and some more."-And again : “ Thei saied, the
. Cardinall by visitacions, makyng of abbottes, probates of testamentes, graunting of faculties, licences, and other pollynges in his courtes legantines, had made his threasure egall with the kingés." Edit. 1248, p. 138, and 143.
Skelton*, in his Why come ye not to Court, gives
* His poems are printed with the title of “ Pithy, Pleasaunt, and Profitable Workes of Maister Skelton Poet Laureate.". “ But,” says Mr. Cibber, after several other writers, “how or by what interest he was made Laureat, or whether it was by a title he assumed to himself, cannot be determined.” This is an error pretty generally received, and it may be worth our while to remove it.
A facetious author says somewhere, that a poet laureat, in the modern idea, is a gentleman, who hath an annual stipend for reminding us of the New Year, and the Birth-day: but formerly a Poet Laureat was a real university graduate.
“ Skelton wore the laurell wreath,
“ And past in schoels knoe.” says Churchyarde in a poem prefixed to his works. And Master Caxton in his Preface to The Boke of Eneydos, 1490, hath a passage, which well deserves to be quoted without abridgment: “ I praye mayster John Skelton, late created poete laureate in the universite of Oxenforde, to oversee and correcte thys sayd booke, and taddresse and expowne whereas shall be founde faulte, to theym that shall requyre it; for hym I knowe for suffycyent to expowne and Englysshe every dyfficulte that is therein; for he hath late translated the epystles of Tulle, and the book of Dyodorus Syculus, and diverse other workes out of Latyn into Englyshe, not in rude and old language, but in
polyshed and ornate termes, craftely, as he that hath redde Vyrgyle, Ouyde, Tullye, and all the other noble poets and oratours, to me unknowen: and also he hath redde the ix muses, and understands their musical scyences, and to whom of them eche scyence is appropred; I suppose he hath dronken of Elycons well!”
I find, from Mr. Baker's MSS. that our laureat was admitted ad eundem at Cambridge, “ An Dom. 1493, & Hen. 7. nono. Conceditur Joht Skelton Poete in partibus transmarinis atque Oxon. Laureâ ornato, ut apud nos eâdem decoraretur.” And afterward, “ An. 1504-5 Conceditur Johi Shelton, Poetæ Laureat. quod possit stare eodem gradu hic, quo stetit Oxoniis, & quod possit uti habitu sibi concesso à Principe."
See likewise Dr. Knight's Life of Colet, p. 122. And Recherches sur les Poetes couronnez, par M. l'Abbé du Resnel, in the Menoires de Litterature, vol. x, Paris, 4to, 1736.
us, after his rambling manner, a curious character of Wolsey:
-By and by
“ He is such a grym syre!” Edit. 1568. Mr. Upton and some other criticks have thought it very scholar-like in Hamlet to swear the Centinels on a sword: but this is for ever met with. For instance, in the Passus Primus of Pierce Plownian :
“ Dauid in his daies dubbed knightes,
" And did hem swere on her sword to serue truth euer.": And in Hieronymo, the common butt of our author and the wits of the time, says Lorenzo to Pedringano,
“ Swear on this cross, that what thou sayst is true-
“Shall be the worker of thy tragedy!” We have therefore no occasion to go with Mr. Garrick as far as the French of Brantôme to illustrate this ceremony*; a gentleman, who will be always allowed the first commen
* Mr. Johnson's edit. vol. vii. p. 171.
tator on Shakspeare, when he does not carry us beyond himself.
Mr. Upton, however, in the next place, produces a passage from Henry VI. whence he argues it to be very plain, that our author had not only read Cicero's Offices, but even more critically than many of the editors :
-This villain here,
“ Than Bargulus, the strong Illyrian pirate." So the wight, he observes with great exultation, is named by Cicero in the editions of Shakspeare's time, “Barguluş Illyrius latro;" though the modern editors have chosen to call him Bardylis " and thus I found it in two MSS.”
: :And thus he might have found it in two translations, before Shakspeare was born. Robert Whytinton, 1533, calls him, “ Bargulus a pirate upon the see of Illiry;" and Nicholas Grimald, about twenty years afterward, “ Bargulus the Illyrian robber*.”
But it had been easy to have checked Mr. Upton's exultation, by observing, that Bargulus does not appear in the quarto.—Which also is the case with some fragments of Latin verses, in the different parts of this doubtful performance.
It is scarcely worth mentioning, that two or three more Latin passages, which are met with in our author, are immediately transcribed from the story or chronicle before him. Thus, in Henry V. whose right to the kingdom of France is copiously demonstrated by the Archbishop :
-There is no bar
“ Between the floods of Sala and of Elve,” &c. Archbishop Chichelie, says Holinshed, "did much inueie
* I have met with a writer who tells us, that a translation of the Offices was printed by Caxton, in the year 1481: but such
against the surmised and false fained law Salike, which the Frenchmen alledge euer against the kings of England in barre of their just title to the crowne of France. The very words of that supposed law are these, In terram Salicam mulieres nè succedant, that is to saie, Into the Salike land let not women succeed; which the French glossers expound to be the realm of France, and that this law was made by King Pharamond: whereas yet their owne authors affirme, that the land Salike is in Germanie, between the rivers of Elbe and Sala, &c.” p. 545.
It hath lately been repeated from Mr. Guthrie's“ Essay on English Tragedy,” that the portrait of Macbeth's wife is copied from Buchanan," whose spirit, as well as words,
“ is translated into the play of Shakspeare: and it had signified nothing to have pored only on Holinshed for facts.”
“ Animus etiam, per se ferox, prope quotidianis conviciis uxoris (quæ omnium consilíorum ei erat conscia) stimulabatur.”—This is the whole, that Buchanan says of the lady; and truly I see no more spirit in the Scotch, than in the English chronicler. « The wordes of the three weird sisters also greatly encouraged him, [to the murder of Duncan] but specially his wife lay sore upon him to attempt the thing, as she that was very ambitious, brenning in unquenchable desire to beare the name of a queene." Edit. 1577,
Edit. 1577, p. 244. This part of Holinshed is an abridgement of Johne Bellenden's translation of the noble clerk, Hector Boece, imprinted at Edinburgh, in fol. 1541. I will give the passage as it is found there : " His wyfe impacient of lang tary (as all wemen ar) specially quhare they ar desirus of ony purpos, gaif hym gret artation to pursew the thrid weird, that sche micht be ane quene, calland hym oft tymis febyl cowart and nocht desyrus of honouris, sen he durst not assailze the thing with manheid and curage, quhilk is offerit to hym be beniuolence of fortoun. Howbeit sindry otheris hes assailzeit sic thinges afore with maist terribyl jeopardyis, quhen they had not sic sickernes to succeid in the end of thair lauboris as he had had.” P. 173.
a book never existed. It is a mistake for Tullius of old Age, printed with The Boke of Frendshipe, by John Tiptoft, Earl of Worcester. I believe the former was translated by William Wyrcestre, alias Botoner.
But we can demonstrate, that Shakspeare had not the story from Buchanan. According to him, the weird
' sisters salute Macbeth, “ Una Angusiæ Thamum, altera Moraviæ, tertia regem." -Thane of Angus, and of Murray, &c. but according to Holinshed, immediately from Bellenden, as it stands in Shakspeare: “ The first of them spake and sayde, All hayle Makbeth, thane of Glammis,the second of them said, Hayle Makbeth, thane of Cawder; but the third sayde, All hayle Makbeth, that hereafter shall be king of Scotland.” P. 243. . « 1. Witch. All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of
Glamis ! “ 2. Witch. All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of
Cawdor! “ 3. Witch. All hail, Macbeth ! that shall be king here
after !” Here too our poet found the equivocal predictions, on which his hero so fatally depended. “ He had learned of certain wysards, how that he ought to take heede of Macduffe; -and surely hereupon had he put
Macduffe to death, but a certaine witch whom he had in great trust, had tolde, that he should neuer be slain with man born of any woman, nor vanquished till the wood of Bernane came to the castell of Dunsinane." P. 244. And the scene between Malcom and Macduff in the fourth Act is almost literally taken from the Chronicle.
Macbeth was certainly one of Shakspeare's latest productions, and it might possibly have been suggested to him by a little performance on the same subject at Oxford, before King James, 1605. I will transcribe my notice of it from Wake's Rex Platonicus : “ Fabulæ ansam dedit antiqua de Regiâ prosapiâ historiola apud Scoto-Britannos celebrata, quæ narrat tres olim Sibyllas occurrisse duobus Scotiæ proceribus, Macbetho et Banchoni, et illum prædixisse Regem futurum, sed Regem nullum geniturum ; hunc Regem non futurum, sed Reges geniturum multos. Vaticinii veritatem rerum eventus comprobavit. Banchonis enim è stirpe potentissimus Jacobus oriundus." P. 29.
A stronger argument hath been brought from the plot of Hamlet. Dr. Grey and Mr. Whalley assure us, that for this, Shakspeare must have read Saxo Grammaticus in Latin, for no translation hath been made into any modern