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THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE
BY CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE.
REFEXRED TO IN THE MERRY Wives of WINDSCR, Aor in. So. 1)
COME live with me, and be iny love,
Where we will sit upon the rocks,
And I will make thee beds of roses,
THE NYMPH'S REPLY.
SI SIR WALTER RALEIGH.
If all the world and love were young,
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
But could youth last and love still breed,
TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL
TWELFTH Night, OR WHAT YOU WILL, originally atpeared in the folio of 1623, being the thirteenth in the list of Comedies. We keep to the order of the Chiswick edition, not so much because of any reason for it, as because we can discover no good reason for departing from it. The arrangement of the first edition seems preferable, simply as being the first; but the change, though made capriciously, may as well stand, till something better than caprice plead for restoration.
In default of positive information, Twelfth Night was for a long time set down as among the last-written of our author's plays. This opinion was based upon such slight indications gathered from the work itself, as could have no weight but in the absence of other proofs. For example, the word undertaker occurs in the play; therefore Tyrwhitt dated the writing of it in 1614, because the term was that year applied to certain men who undertook to carry matters in Parliament according to the King's liking; their arts and methods probably being much the same as are used by the lobby members of American legislatures : from which Mr. Ver planck very naturally infers that some of the Anglo-Saxon blood still runs in the veins of our republic. Chalmers, however, supposing that reference was had to the undertakers for colonizing Ulster in 1613, assigned the play to that year; and was confirmed therein by the Poet's use of the term Sophy, because the same year Sir Anthony Shirley published his Travels, wherein something was said about the Sophy of Persia. Perhaps it did not occur to either of these men that Shakespeare might bave taken up the former word from its general use and meaning, not from any special ap. plications of it; these being apt to inser that it was already understood. Malone at first fixed upon 1614, but afterwards changed it to 1607, because the play contains the expression, “ westward. hoe!” and Dekker's comedy entitled Westward-Hoe came out that year; thus assuming that the play gave currency to the phrase, instead of being so named because the phrase was already common. Several other arguments of like sort were urged in favour of this or that date, - arguments for which the best apology is, that the authors had nothing better to build conjecture upon.
All these inferences have been set aside, and their weakness shown, by a recent discovery. In 1828 Mr. Collier, while delving in the “musty records of antiquity” stored away in the Museum, a work not more toilsome to bim than gratifying to us, - met with the following memorandum in a Diary preserved among the Har. leian Manuscripts :
“Feb. 2, 1602. At our feast we bad a play called Twele night or what you will, much like the Comedy of Errors, or Menechini in Plautus, but most like and near to that in Italian called Inganni. A good practice in it to make the steward believe his lady widow was in love with him, by counterfeiting a letter, as from his lady, in general terms telling him what sbe liked best in him, and prescribing his gestures, his apparel, &c., and then when he came to practise, making him believe they took him to be mad."
The authorship of the Diary containing this precious item was unknown to Mr. Collier, till the Rev. Joseph Hunter ascertained it to be the work of John Manningham, a barrister who was entered at the Middle Temple in 1537. The occasion of the performance thus noted down by Manningham was the feast of the Purification, anciently called Candlemas ; -- an important link in the course of festivities that used to continue from Christmas to Shrovetide. It would seem that the benchers and members of the several Inns were wont to enrich their convivialities with a course of wit and poetry. And the glorious old 'Temple is yet standing, where one of Shakespeare's sweetest plays was enjoyed by his contemporaries, at a time when this annual jubilee had rendered their minds congenial and apt, and when Christians have so much cause to be happy and gentle and kind, and therefore to cherish the convivial delectations whence kindness and happiness naturally grow. It scarce need be said that a new grace is added to that ancient and venerable structure by this relic of John Manningham, whom a few strokes of the pen have rendered immortal so long after all other memorials of him had been swept away.
Twelfth Night, therefore, was unquestionably written befc-e 1602. That it was not written before 1598, is probable from its not being spoken of in Meres' Palladis Tamia, which came out that year. This probability is heightened almost to certainty by what Maria says of Malvolio in his ludicrous beatitude : " He does smile his face into more lines than are in the new map, with the augmentation of the Indies ;” which is evidently an allusion to some contemporary matter, and was so regarded before the date of any such muhlineal map was known. It is now ascertained