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Too little payment for fo great a debt.
(21) Then vail your ftomachs.] Cover your refentments. See note on Love's Labour loft, A&t 5. Mrs G. omits these four laft lines, "becaufe" fays fhe," the doctrine of paffive obedience and non refiftance in the state of marriage, is there carried, perhaps, rather a little too far. But I will quote them," adds the," as they afford me an opportunity of remarking on the nature of too prompt reformers, who are apt to run into the very contrary extreme at once; betraying more of the time ferver, than the convert.
But, in general, indeed, it has been obferved, that the moft haughty tyrants become, on a reverfe of fortune, the most abject flaves; and this, from a like principle, in both cafes; that they are apt to impute the fame fpirit of defpotifm to the conqueror, that they were before impreft with themselves; and confequently, are brought to tremble at the apprehenfion of their own vice."
In token of which duty, if he please,
"The title of this play," fays St., " was probably taken from an old story, called The Wyf lapped in Morells Skin, or the Taming of a Shrew."
"Nothing has yet been produced," fays C., " that is likely to have given the poet occafion for writing this play, neither has it (in truth) the air of a novel; fo that we may reasonably fuppofe it a work of invention. That part of it, I mean, which gives it its title. For one of its underwalks, or plots, to wit, the ftory of Lucentio, in almoft all its branches (this love affair, and the artificial conduct of it; the pleasant incident of the pedant; and the characters of Vincentio, Tranio, Gremio, and Biondello) is formed upon a comedy of George Gascoigne's, called Suppofes, a tranflation from Ariofto's I Suppofiti: which comedy was acted by the gentlemen of Gray's-Inn in 1566; and may be feen in the tranflator's works, of which there are feveral old editions. And the odd induction of this play is taken from Goulart's Hiftoires admirables de notre Temps; who relates it as a real fact, practifed upon a mean artifan at Bruffels, by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. Goulart was tranflated into English, by one Edward Gremefton: the edition I have of it was printed in 1607, quarto, by George Eld, where this story may be found, at p. 587. but for any thing that there appears to the contrary, the book might have been printed before." Farmer labours hard to prove that this comedy is not genuine. Steevens however obferves, that the players delivered it down amongst the reft as one of S's own: and its intrinfic merit bears fufficient evidence to the propriety of their decifion, for S's hand is very visible in every fcene. "Of this play," fays F., "the two plots are fo well united, that they can hardly be called two without injury to the art with which they are interwoven. The attention is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, yet it is not diftracted by unconnected incidents. The part between Catherine and Petruchio is eminently fpritely and diverting. At the marriage of Bianca, the
arrival of the real father, perhaps, produces more perplexity, than pleasure. The whole play is very popular and diverting." See the Tatler, Vol. IV. No. 231.
In A&t 5. latter end of Sc. 2. Lucentio fays,
For fo, fays an ingenious Annotator, it should be read, plainly alluding to Gafcoigne's Suppofes above mentioned.
On the Præternatural Beings of SHAKESPEAR.
[From Mrs. Montague.]
E fhould do great injuftice to the genius of S.. if we did not attend to his peculiar felicity, in thofe fictions and inventions, from which poetry derives its highest diftinction, and from whence it firít affumed its pretenfions to divine infpiration, and appeared the affociate of religion.
The ancient poet was admitted into the fynod of the Gods: he difcourfed of their natures, he repeated their counfels, and, without the charge of impiety or prefumption, difclofed their diffenfions, and publifhed their vices. He peopled the woods with nymphs, the rivers with deities; and, that he might still have fome being within call to his affiftance, he placed refponfive echo in the vacant regions of air.
In the infant ages of the world, the credulity of ignorance greedily received every marvellous tale : but, as mankind increased in knowledge, and a long feries of traditions had established a certain my-thology and hiftory, the poet was no longer permitted to range, uncontrolled, through the boundiefs dominions of fancy, but became reftrained, in fome meafure, to things believed or known. Though the duty of poetry to pleafe and to furprife ftill fubfifted, the means varied with the ftate of the world, and it foon grew neceffary to make the new inventions lean on the old traditions.-The human mind delights in novelty, and is captivated by the marvellous; but even in fable itself requires the credible.-The poet, who
On the Præternatural Beings, &e.
can give to fplendid inventions, and to fictions new and bold, the air and authority of reality and truth, is master of the genuine fources of the Caftalian fpring, and may justly be faid to draw his inspiration from the well-bead of pure poely.
S. faw how useful the popular fuperftitions had been to the ancient poets: he felt that they were neceffary to poetry itself. One needs only to read fome modern French heroic poems to be convinced how poorly epic poetry fubfifts on the pure elements of history and philofophy: Tao, though he had a fubject fo popular, at the time he wrote, as the deliverance of Jerufalem, was obliged to employ the operations of magic, and the interpofition of angels and dæmons, to give the marvellous, the fublime, and, I may add, that religious air to his work, which ennobles the enthufiafm, and fanctifies the fiction of the poet. Ariofto's excurfive mufe wanders through the regions of romance, attended by all the fuperb train of chivalry, giants, dwarfs, and enchanters; and however these poets, by the fevere and frigid critics may have been condemned for giving ornaments not purely claffical, to their works, I believe every reader of tafte admires, not only the fertility of their imagination, but the judgment with which they availed themselves of the fuperftition of the times, and of the cuftoms and modes of the country, in which they laid their fcenes
To recur, as the learned sometimes do, to the mythology and fables of other ages, and other countries, has ever a poor effect: Jupiter, Minerva, and Apollo, only embellish a modern story, as a print from their ftatues adorns the frontispiece. We admire indeed. the art of the fculptors who give their images with grace and majefty; but no devotion is excited, no enthufiafm kindled, by the reprefentations of characters whofe divinity we do not acknowledge.