Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/464

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speare was acquainted with Lope de Vega, or that Calderon borrowed 'La Devocion' from ' Rorneo and Juliet.'

In his previous letter Z. held that " inci- dents in the plot of 'La Vida es Sueno' remind one of Christopher Sly." But Calderon did not require to go as far as ' The Taming of the Shrew ' for his Christopher Sly ideas, as he took them bodily from the 'Viage Entretenido' of Augustin de Rojas, first published in 1603.

I regret I misinterpreted Z. in taking him to mean that our Charles I. gave Calderon a copy of Shakespeare. What Z. said was : "It would be a fascinating thought if we could imagine Charles I. introducing Calderon to the works of the one modern dramatist who was greater than himself." I do not see in what way the introduction could have taken place except through a presentation of Shakespeare's works to Calderon.


By a slip of the pen 'El Condenado por Desconfiado ' is attributed to Lope de Vega. It is, of course, by Tirso de Molina.

There is no authority, I think, for sup- posing that Calderon learnt English before he was twenty-two, nor, indeed, that he ever learnt it, notwithstanding his play of ' La Cisma de Ingalaterra.' He knew Italian, in common with many Spaniards who served in the Spanish possessions in Italy : Garcilaso de la Vega, for example, and Cervantes. He did not know French.

He might have chosen to serve in Flanders because his mother, Dona Ana Maria de Henao y Riano, was descended from a Flemish family of Mons, in Hainault (Henao in Spanish).

Prince Charles visited Madrid in 1623, the year of the First Folio, but it is improbable that he took Shakespeare's works among his baggage. We must bear in mind that Shake- speare was then only one among many dra- matists and had by no means reached the literary eminence on which he now stands, and that Calderon was a young man only twenty-three years old. A. D. JONES. *


Denham in his verses on Fletcher, and also in another poem, mentioned Jonson and Shakspeare, but expressed the opinion that Fletcher was superior to the other two : Yet what from Johnson's oil and sweat did flow, Or what more easy Nature did bestow On Shakspeare's gentler Muse, in thee, full grown, Their graces both appear.

And in Denham's poem on Cowley that poet evidently is considered greater than any of the four, Shakspeare, Spenser, Jonson, and

Fletcher. Milton, who praised Shakspeare, was too much unknown himself, as a poet, to make other poets known. The book con- taining the poems which expressed admira- tion for Shakspeare was in a first edition for thirty years. At the present time two poems in this once neglected book, viz., 'L'Allegro' and 'II Penseroso,' are, with Gray's ' Elegy,' the most popular and esteemed of the shorter poems of the English language. Steevens has said that Tate, in the dedication of his alteration of ' King Lear,' called his original an obscure piece, recommended to him by a friend. That of itself shows how little Shakspeare was known. Although Dryden, with others, maltreated Shakspeare, he expressed admi- ration for him, in poetry and prose, in a very generous manner, and no doubt contributed to give the great poet fame. Addison omitted Shakspeare from his list of great poets, but afterwards, in the Spectator, made amends for the oversight. Malone, in his ' Historical Account of the English Stage,' has said, amongst other things, that between 1660 and 1682 the plays of Fletcher, Jonson, and Shirley were much oftener exhibited than those of Shakspeare ; that between 1671 and 1682 ' Timon of Athens,' 'Macbeth,' and ' The Tempest ' were represented as altered by Davenant and Shad well ; that Durfey altered ' Cymbeline ' under the title of ' The Injured Princess '; that Tate and Durfey altered ' Coriolanus,' ' King Richard II.,' and ' King Lear ' ; and that from Garrick's appear- ance in 1741 dates the proper representation of Shakspeare's plays in the theatre.


Z. has started a question which has been too little considered. It was almost two centuries after Shakespeare's birth before the British Museum was founded, and the Bod- leian has just celebrated its third centenary. Nor do I find large collections earlier.

How far were preparatory schools supplied with libraries 1 Were many churches as rich as Wimborne Minster, where we still behold the volumes standing with backs to the wall? How far back is that minster's book-treasury traceable? And how far were its books within popular reach ? What facilities existed for consultation in winter?

There may be no single book in existence showing facts of this sort as fully as a student of ancient customs and popular culture must desiderate. There must be, however, inci- dental notices which writers for ' N. & Q.' have chanced to see, and which would throw a glowworm but suggestive light on the dark backward.