Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/385

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n s. XL MAY is, 1915.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


375-


it seems at first sight that the' Character writer is more likely to have been its origina author. But this is equally inconceivabl when one finds uot only that the rest of the Character is almost entirely constructec from ' Arcadia ' fragments, but that th< very words of the sentence that introduce? it, " lying long abed," " complexions anc conditions," are from the same source There is, therefore, the strongest reason to believe that the play and the ' Characters derive the sentiment from a common source Two other passages in the same Characte of ' A Milkmaid,' for which parallels are to be found in Webster's ; Monumental Column of 1613, also deserve special notice. One o t hese is the passage derived from Montaigru about sowing with the hand and not by the sack. The significant thing here is not so much that the ' Characters ' and Webster',' poem both borrow the same sentiment from Montaigne, bat that they both alter its phrasing in a similar way ; in both we have " reason " contrasted with " ostentation,' and the significant words " to make it last,' which serve in ' A Monumental Column ' to lead up to a further illustration (almost certainly borrowed), contrasting the " mad and thriftless vino that spendeth all her blushes at one time " with the orange tree which bears fruit and blossoms together. The other passage illustrates this even more clearly if the parallels are placed in juxta- position : High-erected thought seated in a heart of courtesy. Sidney's ' Arcadia.'

His high-erected thoughts lopk'd down upon The smiling valley of his fruitful heart.

  • A Monumental Column.'

His thoughts have a high aim, though their dwelling be in the vale of a humble heart.

' A Noble and Retired Housekeeper.' Note that the reference to the heart as a " vale " or " valley " is not to be found in the 'Arcadia.'

No borrowings from the * Arcadia ' or essays are to be found in any of the Cha- racters published before 1615, or, at least, I have found none. If Webster borrowed from such of these later Characters as contain passages derived from Sidney and Florio's ' Montaigne,' then he was borrowing from a writer who made use of these authors in exactly the same way as he himself did, utilizing numbers of the same passages, and weaving paragraphs and sentences with like ingenuity from fragments gathered from different parts of the ' Arcadia.' It is scarcely credible that there can have been


two writers who not only borrowed pro* fusely from the same works, but borrowed from them in the same manner.

The problem is not an easy one, but though some of the parallels with the ' Ne\vr Characters ' undoubtedly indicate borrow- ings on Webster's part, the evidence that he himself wrote the ' Characters ' mentioned above seems very strong. He may well have been one of the " severall authors " whose services were requisitioned by Lisle, for his fellow-dramatist Marston supplied the same publisher with further additional matter ( ; Witty Conceites ' ) for a subsequent edition. * I must, however, confess that, apart from the borrowed material, these Characters do not, either in style or vocabulary, seem to me to show any distinctive marks of Webster's hand. But this, in view of the- method of their composition, is scarcely/ surprising. H. DUGDALE SYKES. "

Enfield.

AN ALPHABET OF STRAY NOTES. (See ante, pp. 261, 293, 334.)

Icelandic MSS. Some were sold in the sale- of the libraries of J. G. King, D.D., and John Baynes in 1788. Catalogue, p. 63. Inn Signs." We Three Loggerheads be." Sign with two heads at Tonbridge, Kent,. 1869 (the third loggerhead being the spec- tator).

At Bridport, " Hit and Miss," 1872. On road between Charmouth and Ax- minster, " Pen Inn," 1872.

"Trouble House," near Tetbury, on. the road from Cirericester, 1875.

" Ormond's Head," in Tetbury, 1876'. "The Merry Mouth," at Fifield, Oxf.,, 1875 (the village was called Fifield Merry- mouth of old).

" The Herd of Swine " ! at Cm-bridge,, near Wifcney, 1874 (altered shortly after- wards at a renewal of licence).

" The Merry Horn," in the same village,. 1875.

" The Sultan," at the station at Gamlin- gay, Cambr., September, 1882.

"Cottage of Content," Merstham,. Surrey, 1894.


  • i.e., the llth edition of 1622. The 'Witty

Conceites ' are Paradoxes, as they were spoken in


, n

e, and presented before his Majesty at White-Hall," The Mountebanke's Receipts," and hree Mountebank's songs. J. P. Collier (who rinted them from a MS. in the possession of the- )uke of Devonshire) is responsible for the attribu- ion to Marston.