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Hoole. Both Brinsley and Hoole carefully describe the exercise, and give directions for its efficient performance in prose and verse. Each takes, among other illustrations, an Epistle from Cicero, giving first the original and then the imitated form. To call out the higher energies of invention a subject was prescribed on which the more advanced pupils had to write a short Latin theme or a certain number of verses in an appointed metre. In doing this they were at full liberty to use the contents of their notes and commonplace books. Indeed, these books were kept and filled very much for the sake of these higher uses ; the chief heads of invention or classified sources, whence reasons and illustrations to be used in tbe exercises might be derived, being entered in the blank book at the outset, and filled in from the reading and lectures of the class. The invention' of the school exercises was in this way connected with the wider and more technical treatment of invention' or the finding of arguments in the old logics and rhetorics. The kind of exercise involved in invention tested the pupils' powers of thought as well as of expression, their promptness and flexibility of mind as well as their command of apt phrases, epithets, and turns of speech. Keeping these different elements of the upper-school exercises in view, we can better understand the exact force and bearing of the criticism Holofernes volunteers on Biron's love verses. The pedant, it will be remembered, after airing his knowledge of the Eclogues, and giving forth the Italian proverb about Venice, had been impatiently humming to bimself while the curate read the letter just delivered by Jaquenetta. At length, his patience being exhausted, he addresses bimself directly to the reader, . Under pardon, sir, what are the contents ? or, rather, as Horace says in his——?' Then catching sight of the manuscript, he exclaims :
- What, my soul, verses ? Nath. Ay, sir, and very learned.
Hol. Let me hear a staff, a stanza, a verse, Lege, domine. The curate having read the verses, the pedagogic habit is so inveterate with Holofernes, that he cannot help coming the schoolmaster over even his mild-mannered and deferential companion. He complains that he has missed the necessary elisions, and not given the proper accent. “You find not the apostrophes, and so miss the accent : let me supervise the canzonet.' Then taking the paper into his hands he proceeds, with a frown of critical concentration and the outstretching of a didactic forefinger towards the offending document, to deliver his authoritative judgment :
Here are only numbers ratified; but, for the elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of poesy, caret. Ovidius Naso was the man : and why, indeed, Naso; but for smelling out the odoriferous flowers of fancy, the jerks of invention? Imitari is nothing : so doth the hound his master, the ape his keeper, the 'tired horse his rider. We can fancy Master Thomas Hunt in the ancient Stratford school
W. Shakespeare, but, unless he were exceptionally mole-eyed, hardly with the same result. The numbers might not indeed be perfectly ratified, as the boy's mastery"over longs and shorts might be still defective. But the exercise, if marked by blemishes in the details of scholarship, could hardly be wholly wanting in facility, in flowers of fancy, and jerks of invention. However this may be, it seems clear from the extract that Shakespeare was familiar with the kind of exercise, as well as with the cut and dried scholastic principles according to which it was usually criticised.
In addition to Latin composition, another distinctive branch of study in the upper school was Rhetoric. In all the accounts of the work done in this section, rhetoric plays an important part. In the higher forms of the Protestant schools, indeed, as well as in those of the Jesuits, the chief subjects of study were “quod ad rhetoricam, poésim et historiam pertinet. Thus Brinsley, in describing the work of the upper school, after dealing with the making of themes, verses, and orations, has a short chapter devoted to Rhetoric, in which he says:—
For answering the questions of Rhetoricke, you may, if you please, make them perfect in Talaeus' Rhetorick, which I take to be most used in the best schooles; onely to give each definition and distribution, and some one example, or two at most, in each chapter; and those of the shortest sentences out of the poets: so that they can give the word or words, wherein the force of the rule is.
In Hoole the elements of Rhetoric are prescribed for the fourth, fifth, and sixth forms. In his account of the Rotheram classes he says of the fifth:—
Their forenoons Lessons were in Butler's Rhetorick, which they said memoriter, and then construed, and applyed the example to the definition;
and in the master's method he says of the sixth :—
Let them repeat parts as they did before out of the Elementa Rhetoricis every Thursday morning, and give account what grammatical or rhetorical notes they have collected and writ fair in their commonplace books for those arts.
He gives similar directions for the special study of oratory and rhetoric in the fifth form. We may fairly assume that Shakespeare remained long enough at school to reach the fifth form, and ‘Love's Labour's Lost’ supplies a curious piece of evidence tending to show that he had gone through a course of technical training in the elements of Rhetoric. This valuable bit of evidence having been, I believe, hitherto overlooked by the critics and commentators, it may be worth while to give it in detail. It consists of a rare, and in many ways a remarkable, technicality occurring in the speech of Holofermes about the writer of the letter:— Hol. I will overglance the superscript: “To the snow-white hand of the
letter, for the nomination of the party writing to the person written unto : *Your Ladyship's in all desired employment, Biron.'—Sir Nathaniel, this Biron is one of the votaries with the king; and here he hath framed a letter to a sequent of the stranger queen's, which accidentally, or by the way of progression, hath miscarried. I had often been puzzled by the peculiar use of the term “intellect' in this passage, before I made the discovery that it was simply another stroke, helping to bring out still more vividly the character of the school pedant. In the unfamiliar use of this familiar term Holofernes is simply parading his knowledge of rhetorical technicalities. As a rhetorical exercise the boys of the upper school were required, in reading the poets, to pick out the figures of speech, enter them in a note-book, and give to each its technical name or names. In the classification of the figures common to the older manuals of rhetoric synecdoche usually follows metaphor, and the Latin equivalent of synecdoche is intellectio. Being given in the school manuals, this technical use of the term intellectio would be familiar to most who had received a training in the elements of rhetoric. But its precise meaning and range of application in this connection will be made clear by an extract from Wilson's English • Arte of Rhetorique,' published before Shakespeare was born. Wilson, following a tendency common in his day, endeavoured to Anglicise the technical terms of his art; and, where this could not conveniently be done, he often selected the better known Latin equivalent instead of the original Greek word. Thus he translates synecdoche by intellection, of which he gives the following account:
Intellection, called of the Grecians synecdoche, is a Trope, where we gather, or judge, the whole by the part, or part by the whole. As thus : The king is come to London, meaning therby that other also be come with him. The Frenche manne is good to kepe a fort, or to skirmishe on horsbacke, whereby we declare the Frenchmen generally. By the whole, the part, thus :-All Cambridge sorrowed for the death of Bucer, meanying the moste parte. All England rejoiceth that pilgrimage is banished, and Idolatrie for ever abolished : and yet al England is not gladde but the moste parte. Intellection, Wilson also points out, is used in relation to signs and their significance for the mental act of realising by means of the sign the thing signified. He illustrates this meaning as follows :
By the signe we understande the thing signified, as by an Ivie garland we judge there is wine to sell. By the signe of a Bear, Bull, Lion, or any soche, we take any hous to be an Inne. By eating bread at the Communion, we remember Christes death, and by fath receive him spirituallie.
The precise signification of Intellect in Holofernes' speech will now be apparent. It really means the sign-manual or signature of the letter. The signature is the sign reflecting and revealing the thing signified, which is of course the writer of the letter. Intellect,
intellection is the act, the perception of the related terms. name for the signature of a letter it is thus strictly analogous to superscript, as a name for its address. As superscription is properly the act of writing an address, and superscript the address written, so intellection is the act of interpreting or understanding a sign, and intellect the sign interpreted or understood. I may add that the use of the verb in this sense was not unknown in the literature of Shakespeare's day. The following extract from a rare and curious book, “The Fountaine of Ancient Fiction,' by Richard Linche (1599), will illustrate Shakespeare's peculiar use of the noun :
Because the description of the Spring, the Summer, Autumn, and Winter are with everie one very familiar, I will cease to proceed therein, commemorating that onely of Ovid, when he speaketh of the regale seat of Phæbus :
Before divine Apolloes regall seat
The beauteous Spring sits crown'd with curious flowers,
The Summer sits in her all-parching heat,
A world of new-made wine of purest red,
Sits grim-faced Winter covered all with snow. These stations are many times thus intellected : by the Spring is meant Venus : the Summer signifies Ceres : Autumne challengeth Bacchus : and for the Winter we oftentimes understand Vulcan; and sometimes the winds with Æolus the commander, because from these proceed those tempestuous storms which are commonly predominant in that season.
Here it will be seen that the verb to intellect is used in the strict technical sense of interpreting a sign, just as Shakespeare uses the noun for the sign interpreted. But although the word had this special meaning, none but a dominie bent on displaying his knowledge of scholastic technicalities would have designated the signature of a letter in this high-flown and pedantic style. The most strained and farfetched terms are, however, quite natural in the mouth of Holofernes. But it may be safely asserted that only one trained in the elements of Rhetoric could have added this characteristic touch in drawing the portrait of the school pedant. Other incidental illustrations of a technical knowledge of Rhetoric occur in the scenes with Holofernes, especially in the smart dialogue with Moth about the figure, but the one I have dwelt upon is the most significant and important.
But although there is in this way some evidence to show that Shakespeare reached the higher forms of the school, and shared in their routine work, it is not likely that he made much progress in the more difficult authors read, or advanced beyond an average performance of its special exercises. It is difficult to imagine the future poet struggling persistently with the intricacies of verbal scholarship, or working with obstinate industry against the grain. His keenly sensitive nature and exuberant vitality would revolt from the minute
happened to touch his fancy, to excite his imagination, and respond to the varied moods of his quick poetic feeling, we may be sure that he would concentrate all the knowledge he had acquired on the voluntary perusal of such an author, and would continue his studies, in this direction at least, with ardour and delight. The question is, Do Shakespeare's writings contain any evidence in favour of such a supposition ? I think they do; and as the evidence on this point has never been adequately detailed, I shall devote the remainder of this paper to its fuller exhibition.
More than a century ago Whalley remarked in his “Enquiry’ that Ovid appeared to have been a favourite author with Shakespeare." The remark has been not unfrequently repeated since, and probably most critical readers of the poet have arrived for themselves at a similar conclusion. Many must have felt, at least in a vague and general way, that Ovid is more frequently referred to than any other classic author, and that Shakespeare had derived more vivid pictures and apt illustrations from his writings than from those of any other Roman poet. Nor is this in the least surprising. The qualities that combine to render Ovid almost irresistibly attractive to poetical matures are not only numerous, but in their union, amongst Roman poets at least, rare if not unique. In the first place Ovid is the most modern of all the ancients. His love of nature and sympathy with human life, not only in its stately and heroic, but in its humblest forms, are essentially modern. His pictures of rural scenery and details of rustic life are elaborated with loving care, and, unlike Virgil in the Georgics, he never paints an empty background with no moving object or incident to relieve and animate the scene. In his pictures there is always some stir of life, some elements of human experience familiar or heroic, passionate or pathetic. Again the prominence which he gives to the passion of love, not only on its sensuous side in fervid elegiacs, but on its sentimental or romantic side, as it touches the imagination and the heart, anticipates one of the most characteristic features of modern literature. The same holds true of his intimate knowledge of female character, his insight into the subtle and powerful workings of the female heart. Ovid is unrivalled, amongst Roman poets, in his power of delineating the perplexing, but, in the strictest sense, fatal logic of female passion, its sudden moods and contradictory impulses, its wild vehemence or self-consuming reserve, its pathetic tenderness, unsuspected strength, and absolute devotion. From his limitations of genius and temperament he cannot, indeed, touch the highest notes of female character, but he includes a much wider range than any of his Roman predecessors or contemporaries, and this is one of the points in which he becomes a vital link between ancient and modern art.
* The association of Shakespeare's name with that of Ovid began, however, much earlier. Thus Meres, in 1598, says: “As the soule of Euphorbus was thought to live in Pythagoras, so the witty soule of Ovid lives in mellifluous and honey-tongued Shakespeare, witness his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, his sugared Sonnets among