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Hol. Twice-sod simplicity, bis coctus !
In the synonyms for coelum and terra the pedantic master literally parades the school method by which boys were required to note down Latin words and phrases and give as many English equivalents for them as possible. The next scene between the curate and the pedant recalls and exemplifies the familiar Latin dialogues which, as we have seen, formed at this stage an important part of the regular school work. It will be remembered that these learned men were walking in the park after having dined with the father of one of the school pupils, where it had been previously arranged that, if the curate would gratify the table with a grace, the pedant would undertake to prove that Biron's love verses, which they had read together, were very unlearned, neither savouring of poetry, wit, nor invention.'
Hol. Satis quod sufficit.
Nath. I praise God for you, sir: your reasons at dinner have been sharp and sententious; pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without opinion, and strange without heresy. I did converse this quondam day with a companion of the king's who is intituled, nominated or called, Don Adriano de Armado.
Hol. Novi hominem tanquam te : his humour is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his tongue filed, his eye ambitious, his gait majestical, and his general behaviour vain, ridiculous and thrasonical. He is too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it were, too peregrinate, as I may call it.
Nath. A most singular and choice epithet. [Takes out his table-book.
Hol. He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such fanatical phantasms, such insociable and point-devise companions; such rackers of orthography, as to speak dout, fine, when he should say "doubt'; 'det,' when he should pronounce debt,' -d, e, b, t, not d, e, t; he clepeth a 'calf,' cauf’; "half,'hauf'; 'neighbour' vocatur 'nebour'; ' neigh' abbreviated ne.' This is abhominable, which he would call abominable; it insinuateth one of insanire ; ne intelligis, domine? to wax frantic, lunatic.
Nath. Laus Deo, bone intelligo.
These scraps of Latin dialogue exemplify the technical Latin intercourse between master and pupils in the school work, as well as the formal colloquies the latter were required to prepare as exercises in the second stage of their course. In one of the manuals of the latter, entitled · Familiares Colloquendi Formulæ in Usum Scholarum Concinnatæ,' I find under the first section, headed Scholasticæ Belonging to the School,' the following: Who comes to meet us? Quis obviam venit? He speaks improperly, Hic incongruè loquitur;
Latin, Olet barbariem. In the scene just quoted from it will be remembered, Holofernes, in reply to Costard's • Ad dunghill at the fingers' ends, as they say,' says, : 0 I smell false Latin, " dunghill” for ungen
In relation to the next stage, that of Cato's Maxims and Asop's Fables, the proofs of Shakespeare's familiarity with these schooltwooks, if somewhat scattered and allusive, are nevertheless various and abundant. But it is the less necessary to go minutely into the evidence on this head as Mr. Henry Green, in his work on “Shakespeare and the Emblem Writers,' has detailed the illustrations with almost exhaustive minuteness. In the wider meaning and more general application of the term almost all the school books used at this staye may be summed up under the head of emblems. An emblem is not unfrequently at once an illustrated maxim and a condensed fable. The same epigrammatic or proverbial truth is often found expressed in the three forms of maxim, emblem, and fable. Cato's Maxims and Æsop's Fables' were accordingly often published as school-books with illustrated cuts, engravings, or emblems. The Ar-leaf of the school colloquies just referred to contains an advertisement of 6 Æsop's Fables with their morals in prose and verse, illustrated with a great number of pictures and emblems. There is a passage in Hoole also which suggests that Shakespeare in reading Esop may have acquired some knowledge of the "Gesta Romanorum during his school days. Speaking of the third form he says :
Their forenoone lessons may be in Æsop's Fables, which is indeed a book of great antiquity and of more solid learning then most men think. For in it many good lectures in morality which would not (perhaps) have been listened to, if they had been delivered in a plain and naked manner, being handsomely made up and vented in an Apologue, do insinuate themselves into every mans minde. And for this reason perhaps it is that I finde it, and Gesta Romanorum (which is so generally pleasing to our Countrey people) to have been printed and bound up together in Latine, even when the Latine was yet in its drosse.
Alciat's was the most popular of the emblem books so common in the sixteenth century, and Mr. Green has shown how familiar Shakespeare was with his work. Now Hoole enumerates Alciat's emblems in his list of subsidiary books, and refers to it more than once as a manual used in the schools. Thus, in dealing with the work of the fourth form, he says:
After they have become acquainted with a variety of metre you may cause them to turn a fable of Æsop into what kind of verse you please to appoint them, and sometimes you may let them translate some select Epigrams out of those collected by Mr. Farnaby, or some emblems out of Alciat or the like flourishes of wit which you think will more delight them and help their fancies. Elsewhere he recommends that, as a help to making themes and
which they should write the heads set down by Farnaby in his Index Rhetoricus, and busy themselves on Tuesdays and Thursdays afternoons in collecting short histories out of Florus, Cæsar, Livy, and others, Apologues and Fables out of Æsop, Phædrus, and Ovid, and Emblems and Symbols out of Alciat and Beza.
In the next stage of his school career, Shakespeare would begin the reading of Ovid, parts of the De Tristibus' and the Metamorphoses,' and with Ovid he would take up the selected Epistles of Cicero, and the Eclogues of Baptista Mantuanus. The evidence as to the last point is supplied by the well-known quotation from the Eclogues in ‘Love's Labour's Lost.' But how imperfectly the subject of Shakespeare's scholarship has hitherto been worked out, is, I think, shown by the fact that no critic or commentator seems to have ascertained with any certainty whether the Eclogues were in common use as a school book or not. Malone, indeed, says that from a passage in Nash's Apology, 'the Eclogues of Mantuanus appear to have been a school book in our author's time.' And Warburton gives at second hand a quotation from Farnaby's introduction to Martial, which certainly illustrates the absurdly high estimation in which the Mantuan was held. So popular was Mantuanus in the sixteenth century that, according to Farnaby, the pedants had no hesitation in preferring the “Fauste, precor, gelida’ to the Arma virumque cano;' in other words, the Eclogues of Mantuanus to the Æneid of Virgil. Several editions of the Eclogues in the original, and more than one translation, had been published in England before Shakespeare's school-days, and it would seem, from numerous and laudatory references in contemporary literature, that the author was, for a time at least, as much in vogue here as on the Continent. Almost the only exception to the general eulogy is found in the pages of Drayton, Shakespeare's friend and fellow-countyman. In his "Heroic Epistles' he makes one of the heroines stigmatize the Mantuan as foul-mouthed' on the strength of an Eclogue (the fourth), in which, the monk getting the better of the poet, he bitterly inveigheth against womankind.' In the notes, however, Drayton himself justifies the favourite author, maintaining that the invective, though severe, is well deserved.
Why Mantuanus should have become so popular as to acquire the reputation of a classic, and become established as a text-book in the secondary schools, it is not very easy to understand. Much of his voluminous Latin poetry is of little value ; and although his Eclogues show considerable facility both of conception and execution, they want the rustic feeling and picturesque touch, as well as the unity and finish, of the true Bucolic. That they were among the earliest modern Eclogues was no doubt a point in their favour. And the birthplace of the writer would count for something in the comparison of his work with that of Virgil. But that on these, or indeed on any conceivable grounds, the Carmelite monk should have been seriously
seems almost incredible. There is no doubt, however, about the fact. Barklay, the author of the Ship of Fools, who wrote the earliest English eclogues, says in his prologue:
And in like manner, nowe lately in our dayes
The best of that sort since poets first began. The poems of Mantuanus were publicly read in Paris early in the sixteenth century, while the Eclogues, established as a text book in the schools of almost every country in Europe, were lauded and lectured upon ad nauseam. Farnaby's sarcastic reference was, indeed, the instinctive revolt of a genuine scholar and critic from the tasteless eulogies which had become a scholastic tradition. But Shakespeare's satire on the “bisson conspectuities' of the pedants is earlier and even more incisive. Those who are familiar with Love's Labour's Lost' will remember that while the curate, Sir Nathaniel, is reading Biron's epistle, which accidentally or by way of progression had miscarried,' Holofernes, full of pedagogic self-importance, cannot resist airing at large his professional accomplishments. He accordingly breaks forth with a sounding line from the school author so dear to the pedantic mind :
Fauste, precor, gelida quando pecus omne sub umbră Ruminat--and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan! I may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice
Chi non te vede, ei non te pregia. Old Mantuan, old Mantuan! who understandeth thee not, loves thee not.
Both poet and critic were, however, as usual, comparatively powerless against the pedants; or rather, perhaps, it would be more correct to say that the vis inertio of use and wont still kept the old Mantuan in his place as a favourite school author. As we have seen, he is enumerated in the year 1585 amongst the school books to be used at St. Bees, and half a century earlier Mantuanus was prescribed amongst the authors to be read in the newly-established Grammar School of St. Paul's. The Eclogues are also contained in each of the lists of forms and school books given by Hoole. . And in the body of his work Hoole not only states that Mantuanus was usually read in the Grammar Schools, but he selects the very lines quoted by Shakespeare to illustrate one of the ordinary school exercises known technically as metaphrase. The lines are as follows :
For Afternoon lessons on Mondayes and Wednesdayes let them make use of Mantuanus, which is a Poet, both for style and matter, very familiar and gratefull to children, and therefore read in most Schooles. They may read over some of the Eclogues that are less offensive than the rest, takeing six lines at a lesson, which they should first commit to memory, as they are able. Secondly, construe. Thirdly, parse. Then help them to pick out the phrases and sentences, which they may commit to a paper book; and afterwards resolve
turn into proper and elegant Latine, observing the placing of words, according to prose. Thus out of the five first verses in the first Eclogue :
Fauste, precor, gelida quando pecus omne sub umbra
Sæviat in pecudes, melior vigilantia somno. One may take such a period as this : Shepherds are wont sometimes to talke of their old loves, whilest the cattel chew the cud under the shade; for fear, if they should fall asleep, some Fox or Wolf, or such like beast of prey, which either lurk in the thick woods, or lay wait in the grown corn, should fall upon the cattel. And indeed, watching is farre more commendable for a Prince, or Magistrate, than immoderate, or unseasonable sleep. •Pastores aliquando, dum pecus sub umbra ruminat, antiquos suos amores recitare solent; ne, si sopor ipsos occupet, vulpes, aut lupus, aut aliqua ejus generis fera prædabunda, quæ vel in densis sylvis latitant, vel per adultas segetes insidiatur, in pecude sæviat; imo enimvero Principi vel Magistratui vigilantia somno immodico ac intempestivo multo laudabilior est.' And this will help to prepare their invention for future exercises, by teaching them to suck the marrow both of words and matter out of all their Authors.
Were there still any doubt on the subject, this passage is decisive as to the general use of the Eclogues in the Grammar Schools. It also shows that, notwithstanding the occasional protests of more cultured critics, they kept their place in the established curriculum down at least to the second half of the seventeenth century.
With regard to Shakespeare's further stages of progress in the upper school, the illustrations to be derived from his writings are perhaps neither so numerous nor decisive as those relating to the lower school. He refers, indeed, more than once to several of the authors read in the higher forms, and gives apt quotations from some of the more significant, such as Virgil and Horace, Terence and Seneca. But it is difficult, on the strength of such allusions and quotations, to estimate the progress made in these authors, as they would necessarily be read under the drawbacks insisted on by the Reformers and without any of the helps they specify and recommend. It would seem, however, that Shakespeare must have had some experience of the special exercises belonging to the higher forms, amongst others those of making Latin, of writing Latin epistles, themes, and verses. At least he represents Holofernes as criticising Biron's love sonnet according to the established stages and elements of progress in this department of school work. Two of the more important of these stages were technically known as imitation and invention, the lower exercise, or imitation, being preparatory to the higher and more independent effort required for invention. Imitation consisted in taking a passage from some author read in the class, and, while retaining the substance, altering the form. An example of