« ZurückWeiter »
once, in one harmonious group, before the “mind's eye” of the Poet, previously to his actually commencing the formal business of writing, and bearing no indication either of an original groundwork of incident, afterwards enriched by the additions of a fuller mind, or of thoughts, situations, and characters accidentally suggested, or growing unexpectedly out of the story, as the author proceeded.
SOURCE OF THE PLOT AND CHARACTERS. The Shakespearian critics of the present century have been very industrious in their endeavours to trace out the sonrce of the plot of the Twelfth Night. I abridge, from Mr. Collier, the substance of their researches and discoveries. It is, however, very obvious that though there were several tales and plays founded on incidents similar to the story of Viola, yet Shakespeare has borrowed nothing from them of character, situation, or imagery, and is indeed in no way indebted to them, beyond the suggestion of the leading ideas of a resembling twin, brother and sister, their separation, and the heroine being disguised as a page, and living in the service of a prince whom she passionately loves, and who loves another. Several authors had used these materials, and he must have read all or most of them, so that the recollection of these incidents somewhat mingled with his own invention or adaptation of the main plot; but there is nothing in the comedy that looks at all like the adopting and translating any particular original, still less like compiling from more than one. There is no verbal trace of any obligation to any of them, such as have been pointed out in ROMEO AND JULIET to Brooke's poem, and such as in fact he never disdained to use whenever it would add to the effect of his work. But here he selected for the groundwork of his plot two or three incidents which he knew to be familiar and pleasing to his audience, and possessing a certain dramatic or romantic interest; and beyond this he owes nothing to those who had worked on the same materials.
** Several originals of TWELFTH Night, in English, French, and Italian, have been pointed out, nearly all of them discovered within the present century. A voluminous and various author, of the name of Barnabe Rich, who had been brought up a soldier, published a volume, called • Rich his Farewell to Military Profession,' without date, but between the years 1578 and 1581. It contains a novel entitled • Apolonius and Silla,' which has many points of resemblance to Shakespeare's comedy. Rich derived his chief materials from the Italian of Bandello, or from the French of Belleforest. In Bandello it forms the thirty-sixth novel of the Seconda parte, where it bears the subsequent title:-“ Nicuola, innamorata di Latantio, và à servirlo vestita da paggio; e dopo molti casi seco si marita ; e ciò che ad un suo fratello avvenne.' In the collection by Belleforest, (Paris, 1572,) it is headed as follows:
Comme une fille Romaine, se vestant en page, servist long temps un sien amy sans estre cogneue, et depuis l'eust à mary, avec autres divers discours.' Belleforest adopts the names of Bandello, but abridges or omits many of the speeches and some portions of the narrative: what in Bandello occupies several pages is often included by Belle. forest in a single paragraph.
* Upon the novel by Bandello two Italian plays were composed, which were printed, and have come down to our time. The title of one of these is given by Manningham, where he says that Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT was ‘most like and neere to that in Italian called Inganni.' It was first acted in 1547, and was printed in 1582, when it bore the title of Gľ Inganni Commedia del Signor N. S.' The other Italian drama, founded upon Ban. dello's novel, bears this title:- Gl' Ingannati Commedia degl' Accademici Intronati di Siena,' which was several times printed. Whether our great dramatist saw either of these pieces before he wrote his Twelfth Night, may admit of doubt. It might seem as if it were a matter understood, at the time Twelfth Night was acted at the Temple, on Feb. 2, 1602, that it was founded upon the • Inganni.' There is no indication in the MS. Diary that the writer of it was versed in Italian literature, and .Gľ Inganni' might at that day be a known comedy of which it was believed Shakespeare had availed himself.
“To "Gl Ingannali,' as respects its similarity of construction with TWELFTH Night, attention was first directed by the Rev. Joseph Hunter, in his · Disquisition on Shakespeare's TEMPEST.' "Gl Ingannati' follows Bandello's novel with more exactness than Gľ Inganni,' though both change the names of the parties; and here we have the important feature that the heroine, called Lelia, (disguised as Fabio,) is a page to Flamminio, with whom she is in love, but who is in love with a lady named Isabella. Lelia, as in Shakespeare, is employed by Flamminio to forward his suit with Isabella.
“ The likeness between • GI Ingannati' and TWELFTH Night is, in some points, stronger than that between Gr Inganni' and Shakespeare's drama; but to neither can we say, with any degree of certainty, that our great dramatist resorted, although he had perhaps read both, when he was considering the best mode of adapting to the stage the incidents of Bandello's novel. There is no hint, in any source yet discovered, for the smallest portion of the comic business of Twelfth Night. In both the Italian dramas it is of the most homely and vulgar materials, by the intervention of empirics, braggarts, pedants, and servants, who deal in the coarsest jokes and the grossest buffoonery. Shakespeare shows his infinite superiority in each department: in the more serious portion of his drama he employed the incidents furnished by predecessors as the mere scaffolding for the erection of his own beantiful edifice; and for the comic scenes, combining so admirably with, and assisting so importantly in the progress of the main plot, he seems, as usual, to have drawn merely upon his own interminable resources.
SCENE I.–An Aparlment in the Duke's Palace.
The hart. Enler Doke, Curio, Lords ; Musicians attending. O! when mine eyes did see Olivia first,
Duke. Why, so I do, the noblest that I have.
That instant was I turn’d into a hart,
And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,
E'er since pursue me.—How now! what news from 0! it came o'er my ear like the sweet south,
Val. So please my lord, I might not be admitted,
The elenient itself, till seven years' heat,
Shall not behold her face at ample view;
But, like a cloistress, she will veiled walk,
And water once a day her chamber round
A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh
And lasting in her sad remembrance.
What, Curio ?
Duke. Ö! she that hath a heart of that fine frame,
To pay this debt of love but to a brother,
SCENE II.—The Sea-coast.
Enter V10LA, Captain, and Sailors. That live in her: when liver, brain, and heart, Vio. What country, friends, is this? These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and fill'd,
This is Illyria, lady. (Her sweet perfections,) with one self king.
Vio. And what should I do in Illyria ? Away, before me to sweet beds of flowers;
My brother he is in Elysium. Love-thoughts lie rich, when canopied with bowers. Perchance, he is not drown'd:—what think you,
may he be.
Cap. It is perchance that you yourself were sav'd. Cap. And so is now, or was so very late;
And then 'twas fresh in murmur, (as, you know, Cap. True, madam: and, to comfort you with What great ones do the less will prattle of,) chance,
That he did seek the love of fair Olivia. Assure yourself, after our ship did split,
Vio. What's she? When you, and those poor number saved with you, Cap. A virtuous maid, the daughter of a count Hung on our driving boat, I saw your brother, That died some twelvemonth since; then leaving her Most provident in peril, bind himself
In the protection of his son, her brother, (Courage and hope both teaching him the practice) Who shortly also died: for whose dear love, To a strong mast, that lived upon the sea;
They say, she hath abjur'd the company, Where, like Arion on the dolphin's back,
And sight of men. I saw him hold acquaintance with the waves
O! that I serv'd that lady, So long as I could see.
And might not be delivered to the world, Vio.
For saying so there's gold. Till I had made mine own occasion mellow, Mine own escape unfoldeth to my hope,
What my estate is. Whereto thy speech serves for authority,
That were hard to compass, The like of him. Know'st thou this country? Because she will admit no kind of suit,
Cap. Ay, madam, well; for I was bred and born, No, not the duke's. Not three hours' travel from this very place.
Vio. There is a fair behaviour in thee, captain
, Vio. Who governs here?
And though that nature with a beauteous wall
I will believe, thou hast a mind that suits
With this thy fair and outward character.
Conceal me what I am, and be my aid
For such disguise as haply shall become
I heard my lady talk of it yesterday, and of a foolish The form of my intent. I'll serve this duke: knight, that you brought in one night here to be her Thou shalt present me as an eunuch to him. It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing,
Sir To. Who? Sir Andrew Ague-cheek? And speak to him in many sorts of music,
Mar. Ay, he. That will allow me very worth his service.
Sir To. He's as tall a man as any's in Illyria. What else may hap to time I will commit;
Mar. What's that to the purpose ? Only, shape thou thy silence to my wit.
Sir To. Why, he has three thousand ducats a Cap. Be you his eunuch, and your mute I'll be: year. When my tongue blabs, then let mine eyes not see. Mar. Ay, but he'll have but a year in all these Vio. I thank thee. Lead me on. [Ereunt. ducats : he's a very fool, and a prodigal.
Sir To. Fie, that you'll say so! he plays o'the SCENE III.-A Room in Olivia's House. viol-de-gamboys, and speaks three or four languages Enter Sir Toby Belch, and Maria.
word for word without book, and hath all the good
gifts of nature. Sir To. What a plague means my niece, to take Mar. He hath, indeed, -almost natural; for, the death of her brother thus? I am sure care's an besides that he's a fool, he's a great quarreller; and, enemy to life.
but that he hath the gift of a coward to allay the Mar. By my troth, sir Toby, you must come in gust he hath in quarrelling, 'tis thought among the earlier o' nights : your cousin, my lady, takes great prudent he would quickly have the gift of a grave. exceptions to your ill hours.
Sir To. By this hand, they are scoundrels, and Sir To. Why, let her except before excepted. substractors that say so of him. Who are they?
Mar. Ay, but you must confine yourself within Mar. They that add, moreover, he's drunk nightly the modest limits of order.
in your company. Sir To. Confine? I'll confine myself no finer Sir To. With drinking healths to my niece. I'll than I am. These clothes are good enough to drink drink to her, as long as there is a passage in my in, and so be these boots too : an they be not, let throat, and drink in Illyria. He's a coward and a them hang themselves in their own straps.
coystril, that will not drink to my niece, till his Mar. That quaffing and drinking will undo you: brains turn o' the toe like a parish-top. What,
Sir To. My niece's chamber-maid.
Sir And. Good mistress Accost, I desire better acquaintance.
Mar. My name is Mary, sir.
Sir To. You mistake, knight: accost is front her, board her, woo her, assail her.
Sir And. By my troth, I would not undertake her in this company. Is that the meaning of accost? Mar. Fare you well, gentlemen.