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that an English version of Linschoten's Discourse of loyages, containing a map exactly answering to Maria's description, was published in 1598. The allusion can hardly be to any thing else; and the words new map would seem to infer that the passage was written not long after the appearance of the map in question. Dr. Ulrici and other German critics, thinking Twelfth Night to be glanced at in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of His Humour, which was first acted in 1599, of course conclude the former play to have been made before that date. But we can discover nothing in Jonson's play, that may be fairly construed as an allusion to Twelo
On the other hand, there is good reason for thinking that the play was not made before 1600. For on the 22d of June that year tbe Privy Council issued an order laying very severe restrictions upon stage performances. After prescribing “ that there shall be about the city two houses and no more, allowed to serve for the use of common stage plays; of the which houses, one shall be in Surrey, in the place commonly called The Bank side, or thereabouts, and the other in Middlesex;" the order runs thus “ Forasmuch as these stage plays, by the multitude of houses and company of players, have been so frequent, not serving for recreation, but inviting and calling the people daily from their trade and work to misspend their time; it is likewise ordered, that the iwo several companies of players, assigned unto the two houses allowed, may play each of them in their several houses twice a week, and no oftener: and especially they shall refrain to play on the Sabbath day, upon pain of imprisonment and further penalty. And they shall forbear altogether in the time of Lent, and likewise at such time and times as any extraordinary sickness, or infection of disease, shall appear to be in or about the city.” This paper was directed to the Lord Mayor and the Justices of Middlesex and Surrey, “ strictly charging them to see to the execution of the same;" and it is plain, that is rigidly enforced it would have amounted almost to a total suppression of play-houses, as the expenses of such establishments could hardly have been met, in the face of so great drawbacks.
In Twelfth Night, Actii. sc. 1, the Clown says to Viola, Put, indeed, words are very rascals, since bonds disgraced them;" which strikes us as a probable allusion to the forecited order. Moreover, the Puritans were especially forward and zealous in urging the complaints which put the Privy Council upon issuing this stringent process; and it will hardly be disputed that the character of Malvolio was meant as a satire upon the virtues of that extraordinary people. That the Poet should be somewhat pro voked by their instrumentality in bringing about such tight re straints upon the freedom of his art, was certainly natural enough. And surely it is no slight addition to their many claims on our gratitude, that their characteristic violence against the liberty of others, and their innate aptness to think, “because they were vir tuous, there should be no more cakes and ale," called forth so rich and withal so good-natured a piece of retaliation. And it is a considerable instance of the Poet's equanimity, that he dealt so fairly by them notwithstanding their vexatious assaults, being content merely to play off upon them the divine witchcraft of his genius. Perhaps it should be remarked, that the order in question, though solicited by the authorities of the city, was not enforced; for even at this early date those righteous magistrates had hit upon the method, which they afterwards plied with such fatal success, of stimulating the complaints of discontenteil citizens, till orders were taken to remove the alleged grievances, and then letting such orders sleep, lest the enforcing thereof should hust taose complaints, and thus lose them their cherished opportunities of annoying the Government.
The critics all agree that some outlines of the serious portion of Twelfth Night were drawn, directly or indirectly, from the Italian of Bandello. Several intermediate sources have been pointed out, to which the Poet may have gone; and among them the English of Barnabe Rich, and the French of Belleforest, either of which might well enough have been the true one. Besides these, two Italian plays have lately been discovered, severally entitled Gľ Inganni and Gl Ingannati, both also founded upon Bandello though differing considerably from each other. From the way Manningham speaks, it would seem that Gl Inganni was generally regarded at the time as the original of so much of Twelfth Night as was borrowed : yet the play has less of resemblance to this than to any of the other sources mentioned. The point however, where they all agree, is in having a brother and sister so much alike in person and habit as to be indistinguishable; upon which some of the main incidents are made to turn. In Gl Ingannati there is the further resemblance that Lelia, the heroine, in the disguise of a page serves Flamminio, with whom she is in love, but wbo is in love with a lady named Isabella ; and that Flamminio employs Lelia to plead his cause with Isabella. Mr. Collier thinks it cannot be said with any certainty, that Shakespeare resortea to either of the Italian plays, though he may have read both while considering the best mode of adapting to the stage the incidents of Bandello's novel. As the leading points which they have in common with Shakespeare are much the same in all the authors in question, perhaps we cannot do better than to give an outline oi brief abstract of the tale as told by Barnabe Rich; from which a pretty fair es'imate of the Poet's obligations may be easily made out. The e 'ents of the story, as will be seen, are supposed to have taken place before Constantinople fell into the hands of the Turks.
A certain duke, named Apolonius, had served a year in the wars against the Turk. Returning homewards by sea, he was driven by stress of weather to the isle of Cyprus, where he was well received by Pontus the governor, whose daughter Silla fell so deeply in love with him, that after his departure to Constantinople she forsook home in pursuit of him, having persuaded her man Pedro to go along with her. For security against such perils and injuries as are apt to befall young ladies in her situation, she assumed the dress and name of her brother Silvio, who was absent from home when she left. Coming to Constantinople she inquired out the residence of Apolonius, and presented herself before hir, craving to be his servant; and he, being well disposed towards strangers and liking her appearance, took her into his service. Iler smooth and gentle behaviour soon won his confidence, and her happy diligence in waiting upon him caused her to be ad. Vanced above all the rest of his servants in credit and trust.
At this time there dwelt in the city a lady widow named Julira, whose husband had lately died, leaving her large possessions ard rich livings, and who, moreover, surpassed all the ladies of Con stantinople in beauty. Her attractions of course proved too much for the Duke: he became an earnest suitor to the lady, and employed his new servant to carry his love-tokens and forward his suit. Thus, besides her other atflictions, this piece of disguised sweetness had to endure the greater one of being the instrument to work her own mishap, and of playing the attorney in a cause that made against herself: nevertheless, being altogether desirous to please her master, and caring nothing at all to oflend herself, she urged his suit with as much zeal as if it had been her own preferment. But 'twas not long till Silla's sweetness stole through her disguise right into the heart of the lady Julina, who at length got so entangled with the often sight of this sweet temptation, that she fell as much in love with the servant as the master was with herself. Thus things went on, till one day Silla, being sent with a message to the lady, began to solicit very warmly for the Duke, when Julina interrupted her, saying, - Silvio, it is enough thai you have said for your master : henceforth either speak for your sell, or say nothing at all...
Meanwhile Silla's brother, the right Silvio indeed, had returned home lo Cyprus; and was inuch grieved to find ber missing, whom he loved the more tenderly for that, besides being his owa sister, she was so like him in person and feature that no one could distinguish them, save by their apparel. Learning how she had disappeared, and supposing that Peciro had seduced and stolen her away, be vowed to his father that he would not only seek out his sister, but take revenge on the servant. In this mind he sleparted, and, after seeking through many towns and cities in vain, arrived at Constantinople. One evening, as he was walking for recreation on a pleasant green without the walls of the city, he chanced to meet the lady Julina, who had also gone forth to take the air. Casting her eyes upon Silvio, and thinking him to be the messenger that had so often done enchantment upon her, she drew him aside, and soon courted him into a successful courtship of herself. Of course she was not long in getting tied up beyond the Duke's hope. Now Apolonius had already con ceived such a tender friendship for his gentle page as always makes the better part of a genuine love. The appearance of Silla's brother furthwith brings about a full disclosure what and who she is; whereupon the Duke, seeing the lady widow now quite beyond his reach, and learning what precious riches are already his in the form of a serving-man, transfers his heart to Silla, and takes her to his bosom.
The story of Apolonius and Silla, which was evidently made from the matter of Bandello's Nicuola, is in a collection entitled Rich's Farewell to The Military Profession, which was originally published somewhere between 1578 and 1581, and re-issued in 1606; - a book, says Rich, “containing very pleasant discourses fit for a peaceable time, and gathered together for the only delight of the courteous gentlewomen of England and Ireland.” Whether Shakespeare drew directly from this source is very doubtful, there being no verbal resemblances whereby such obligations may usually be traced. Mr. Collier thinks there might be in Shakespeare's time some version of Bandello more like the original than that made by Rich; and that, whether there were or not, the Poet may have gone to the Italian story, since Le Norelle di Bandello were very well known in England as early as about the middle of the sixteenth century. It is observable that the lady Julina of Rich's novel, who answers to the Olivia of Twelfth Night, is a widow; and that Manningham speaks of Olivia as a " widow.” Which suggests that she may have been so represented in the play as acted at the Readers' Feast in 1602; the Poet afterwards making the change : but it seems more likely that the barrister's recollections of Julina got mixed up with his impression of Olivia ; the similarity of the stories being apt enough to generate such a confusion.
Thus it appears that the most objectionable, or rather the least admirable points in Twelfth Night are precisely those which were least original with the Poet; they being already familiar to his audience, and recommended to his use by the popular literature of the time. Nor is it to be overlooked that his borrowings relate only to the plot of the work, the poetry and character being all his own; and that, here as elsewhere, he used what he took merely as the canvas whereon to pencil out and express the breathing creatures of his mind. As to the comic portion, thera is no pretence that any hints or traces of it are to be found in any preceding writer.
Mr. Knight justly remarks upon the singularly composite soci. ety here delineated, that while the period of action is undefined and the scene laid in Illyria, the names of the persons are a mir
mure of Spanish, Italian, and English. And the discrepancies thence arising he thinks may be best made up, by supposing Duke Orsino to be a Venetian governor of so much of ancient Ilyria as remained subject to Venice at the beginning of the seventeenth century; his attendants, Valentine, Curio, &c., as well as Olivia, Malvolio, and Maria, being also Venetians : and Sir Toby and Sir Andrew to be English residents ; the former, a maternal uncle lo Olivia, - her father, a Venetian count, having married his sister.
This discrepancy in the grouping of the persons, whether so intended or not, very well accords with the spirit in which, or the occasion for which, the title indicates the play to have been written. Twelfth Day, anciently so called as being the twelfth after Christmas, is the day whereon the Church has always kept the feast of * The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles," by the miraculous leading of a star. So that, in preparing a Twelfth-Night entertainment the idea of fitness might aptly suggest, that national lines and distinctions should be lost in the paramount ties of a common Religion: and that people the most diverse in kindred and tongue should draw together in the sentiment of One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism; their social mirth being thus seasoned with a spicery of heaven, and relishing of universal brotherhood.
The general scope and plan of Twelfth Night, as a work of art, is wisely hinted in its second title : all the comic elements being, as it were, thrown out simultaneously and held in a sort of equipoise, thus leaving the readers to fix the preponderance where will best suit their several bent or state of mind; so that within certain limits and conditions each may take the work in what sense he will. For where no special prominence is given to one thing, there must needs be wide scope for individual aptitudes and inclinations, and great freedom for every one to select for virtual prominence such parts as best express or knit in with what is uppermost in his thoughts.
Taking another view of Twelfth Night in the light of the same principle, the significancy of the title is further traceable in a peculiar spontaneousness running though the play. Replete as it is with humours and oddities, they all seem to spring up of their own accord; the comic characters being free alike from disguises and pretensions, and seeking merely to let off their inward redundancy; caring not at all whether every body or nobody sees them, so they may have their whim out, and giving utterance to folly and nonsense simply because they cannot help it. Thus their very deformities have a certain grace, since they are genuine and of nature's planting : absurdity and whimsicality are indigenous to the soil, and shoot up in free, happy luxuriance, from the life that is in them. And by thus setting the characters out in their happiest aspects, the Poet contrives to make them simply ludicrous