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expressions, which here it must be admitted serve a comic end ; the older England versification, the numerous doggerel verses, and the rhymes more frequent than anywhere else and extending over almost half of the play; all this places this work among the earlier efforts of the poet Alliteration . is to be met with here still more than in the narrative poems, the Sonnets and The Two Gentlemen of Verona ; it is expressly employed by the pedant Holofernes who calls the art to affect the letter.' The style is frequently like that of the Shakespeare Sonnets; indeed the 127th and 137th bear express similarities to those inserted here as well as to other passages of the play (IV. iii.). The tone of the Italian school prevails more than in any other play. The redundancy of wit is only to be compared with similar redundancy of conceit in the narrative poems, and with the Italian style in general which he at first adopted.” Gervinus dwells then upon “the structure and management of subject in this play which is indisputably one of the weakest of the poet's pieces.” In Furnivall's Introduction to Gervinus he gives a summary of the tests derived from rhyme, blank verse, and "run-on
end-pause" and “weak-ending" lines (of Hertzberg, Fleay and others); these agree in placing Love's Labour's Lost in the earliest period, by their percentages of metrical characteristics as compared with the later .plays. Furnivall gives a special analysis in this respect of passages in Love's Labour's Lost, set beside others from King Lear and The Winter's Tale -"the dullest ear cannot fail to recognise the difference between the early Love's Labour's Lost pause, or dwelling on the end of each line, and the later King Lear and The Winter's Tale disregard of it, with the following shift of the pause to, or near to, the middle of the next line." Love's Labour's Lost, in
Furnivall's opinion, is Shakespeare's earliest wholly genuine > play. Another extract from Furnivall will be quoted in relation to this subject later on.
With regard to the parallelisms between the poetry of this play and that of the Sonnets, I may refer here to Furness' Variorum edition (Philadelphia, 1904). In an Appendix upon this subject, he says: “There is none of Shakespeare's plays
wherein more echoes of the Sonnets are to be heard than in Love's Labour's Lost. Very many of these have been noted by Dr. C. F. McClumpha (Modern Language Notes, June, 1900), and he is led to the conclusion that the great similarity between the Sonnets and the play in turns of thought and expression, in phrases and conceits, leads to a belief in a correspondence as regards time of composition closer than is generally accepted." Furness cites then a number of parallels of varying force, but of undoubted cumulative weight. He dwells expressly on the “Dark Lady" Sonnet (cxxvii.), and the tilt between Biron and his friends over Rosaline's complexion; and he concludes with a list of unusual words giving tone to a thought, common to the play and the Sonnets, showing that their composition cannot have been far removed in point of time.
These remarks must be accepted with this modification : it is impossible to class some of Love's Labour's Lost (IV. iii. 286-362, for example) and many of the Sonnets together as being Shakespeare's earliest work. Of the Sonnets some must belong to a riper perfection, just as some of the play must be of later insertion than the early date of the bulk of it. This proviso must not carry us too far; a young poet may write perfect sonnets in the days of his youth perhaps, or even such poetry as has been inserted in the augmented play. But the play taken as a whole, with all allowance for revision, is obviously a very immature production.
Besides its peculiarities of composition and structure, there is another class of evidence to be obtained from the play itself over and above those Latin and foreign expressions referred to by Gervinus which will be dealt with later. I refer here to the inferences that may be drawn from the connection of the play with contemporary events and contemporary writers. The first of these form a group of doubtfully convincing considerations, and belong rather to the question of sources of the plot or play. With regard to contemporary writers, there is much to be said. It is a fascinating subject. There are several wellknown, or well worthy to be known, writers of this time of whom we can detect reminiscences and echoes. This kind of evidence appeals with different degrees of conviction to different minds. It depends mainly on a close familiarity with the literature of the immediate date for its cogency. It loses its subtlety as soon as the student leaves that environment. A case may, however, be stated for several authors whose works would appear to have been known to Shakespeare when he wrote this play, and their known dates give us a lower limit.
I will take first Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, reprinted by Arber, which was published first in 1589 (June? Arber), although much of it was written as early as 1586. Puttenham has a fine flow of English, and his vocabulary is ahead of that of his contemporaries. His work is certain to have attracted the attention of all literary minds of the time. I refer to my notes for the parallels, merely collecting here the more striking examples :
voluble. See notes at 11. i. 76, and 111. i. 60.
These are words affectedly used by Armado. Schmidt lays stress upon them as such, but they really belong to, or were used by, Puttenham earlier. See for Puttenham again, less markedly, at “orthography" (v. i. 19); “cadence” (iv. ii. 115); "idle toys” (Iv. iii. 167); and "out of countenance 272 and 612).
Take next Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia printed in 1590, the writer having died in 1586. There is no need to refer here to Shakespeare's familiarity with Sidney's writings, both in prose and verse, which is well known.
which is well known. On account of the date they are of interest in connection with Love's Labour's Lost. I may mention that these parallels, as well as those from Puttenham, have not been, so far as I am aware, adduced before. Sidney's May Lady has been cited, and will be dealt with later
as a source; but the following references are to the Arcadia similarities only :-)
army of desires. See note at 1. i. 10.
(naked truth. See note at v. ii. 698.) Other parallels occur in my notes from time to time, but these are perhaps the most noteworthy. A few of them are met again in Henry VI. The list is in favour of a not earlier date than 1590 for Love's Labour's Lost.
Although Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia is almost entirely free from euphuism, as also is Love's Labour's Lost, it has a marked peculiarity or affectation that it would be hard to match in other writers. It should be classed under Puttenham's "Traductio, or the Tranlacer” (Of Ornament, lib. iii.) (Arber, p. 213): “Then have ye a figure which the Latines call Traductio, and I the tranlacer," etc. See I. ii. 157-59 for the passage at length in my note, and see also at iv. i. 63-64. This figure of speech, of ancient and of biblical acceptation, is met with here and there in Love's Labour's Lost, but to no notable extent, nor does it afford any date-evidence. We meet it in Ascham's Scholemaster (Arber, p. 53), ante 1568.
In 1590 appeared also another slighter but very popular romance by T. Lodge, Rosalynde, or Euphues Golden Legacie. It was reprinted at least ten times between 1590 and 1642, and from it Shakespeare derived the tale for As You Like It, a decade later than the present play. But we may be very sure he read it when it appeared. This tale is reprinted in the Shakespeare Library with an introduction by Collier, which is, however, of very slight interest. Collier is to be
1 Unfortunately I gave my references to an edition of Arcadia, published in London in 1898, which is not Sidney's text, but a remodelling of it. I have corrected the notes in most places to the Dublin edition of 1738-39. See note at “naked truth" (v. ii. 698).
commended for falling foul of Steevens, who called this delightful little tract a "worthless original”—who also said “that the force of an Act of Parliament would not be sufficient to compel people to read Shakespeare's Sonnets." I want to say a few words about this tract before pointing out that Shakespeare may have read it, from certain similarities of diction, before he wrote Love's Labour's Lost. There are points of interest about Euphues Golden Legacie that have not been noticed, and all these "worthless originals” repay study. Lodge's novel is, as the name implies, thoroughly euphuistic. As is well known also, Lodge worked in company and was friends with Robert Greene. But what I have not seen noted is that there is very much of Greene in Rosalynde, so much that it is hard to believe that Greene did not give the tract a finishing touch. It is a better told tale than any of Greene's similar ones and of superior interest throughout. It is curious how Greene's peculiarities come in; sometimes there are expressions that appear only
2 later in Greene, but there are about forty phrases and terms in Rosalynde that it would be hard to parallel except in Greene's prose—"Greenisms," in fact. They are euphuistical, but not in Euphues. Lodge was an admitted plagiarist, but that does not seem a satisfactory view. Lodge says he wrote Rosalynde while he, with “Captaine Clarke, made a voyage to the Islands of Terceras and Canaries to beguile the time.” That voyage took place in 1588, and in 1591 Lodge was travelling, apparently, again. In that year (1591-92) Lodge and Greene produced A Looking-Glass for London and England, and it is not at all unlikely that Greene may have been entrusted with Rosalynde to put through the printer's hands. There are several echoes of Lodge's novel in Love's Labour's Lost. A few may be cited :
attending star. See note at iv. iii. 228.
See note at iv. i. 81.
See note at iv. iii. 204.
241. faith and troth. See note at iv. iii. 140. 1 I have collected these in a series of notes on Greene's prose-works in Notes and Queries, 1905-6.