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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/159

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9*8. XI. FEB. 21, 1903.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


they fetch. There was only, for example, an edition of 250 copies of the First Folio, issuer at the price of 20s., when the value of mone;y

was many times greater than its value in th< twentieth century. Books then were expen sive, and could only be afforded by the upper classes, so that it is doubtful if there were many in the household of the struggling John Shakspere, who, according to the Stratford register, was not in the most affluent circum- stances.

Z.'s happy thought regarding Calderon'; acquaintance with 'Romeo and Juliet' is worthy of patient inquiry as to whether Charles I., when he visited Madrid and the " Spanish match " was on the tapis, presented Calderon with one of the quartos of ' Romeo and Juliet,' or whether Calderon obtained his knowledge of the play from the pupils of St. Omer's. The idea is a very charming one, but very far-fetched. In the first place, it is very unlikely that Prince Charles would take such a book to a Spaniard who pre- sumably knew not English. In the second place, Calderon had other sources for his plot, as the story of ' Romeo and Juliet ' was common property on the Continent in those days. There was Masuccio di Salerno's thirty- third novel, to start with ; there was Bandello's version, translated into French in Belleforest's ' Histoires Tragiques ' ; and there was Da Porta's novel ' Giuletta,' all of them open to Calderon, as they were to Shakespeare, and much more likely to be consulted by a man of Calderon 's education. In the third place, there is not the smallest resemblance between Calderon's

  • La Devocion de la Cruz ' (which I only know

through Denis McCarthy's translation) and 'Romeo and Juliet.' The plot of Calderon's play is as follows, according to Ticknor in his ' History of Spanish Literature ' :

" It is founded on the adventures of a man who, though his life is a tissue of gross and atrocious crimes, is yet made an object of especial favour of God, because he shows a uniform external reverence for whatever has the form of a cross; and who, dying in a brawl, as a robber, is yet, in consequence )f his devotion to the cross, miraculously restored to life, that he may confess his sins, be absolved, and then be transported direct to heaven." Does this resemble 'Romeo and Juliet'? Such is the hero Eusebio "an incestuous brigand," according to Sismondi I would be sorry if Romeo was his counterpart. There is a Julia, certainly, and the scene , is laid in Italy, but there the resemblance | ends. Ticknor naturally says : " The whole seems to be absolutely an invention of Calderon." In the fourth place, it seems to me that Z. has mixed up Calderon with

Lope de Vega (who, by the way, served in the Armada), when he refers to the borrowing from Shakespeare's ' Romeo and Juliet.' At exactly the same time 'Romeo and Juliet' in England, and another play, 'Castelvines y Monteses ' (' Capulets and Montagues '), in Spain, were being penned by the two greatest dramatists in Europe in the days of King James. The two plays were exactly alike as can be seen from the admirable translation of Vega's play by Cosens in 1869, and a sum- mary appended to Furness's ' Romeo and Juliet' in his Variorum Edition of Shake- speare's works. Here Romeo appears as Rosello Montes, Juliet as Julia, with Anselmo corresponding to Benvolio. The play to which Calderon was mainly indebted was Mescua's ' Esclavo del Demonic.' Then there was another Spanish play on the same subject produced at the same time by Don Francisco de Roxas, entitled ' Los Bandos de Verona.' Was this also borrowed necessarily from Shakespeare's ' Romeo and Juliet,' or from Masuccio, Bandello, or Belleforest? Z. states that Calderon's 'El MedicodesuaHonra' is " modelled " on ' Othello.' I do not know the date of the production of ' El Medico,' which does resemble ' Othello ' in some respects ; but if it is previous to the year 1622 the quarto of 'Othello ' was published in that year it could not have been borrowed from Shakespeare. Besides, reference to Cinthio's ' Hecatommithi ' was as available to Calderon as it was to Shakespeare, and at that time it had never been translated into English. Shakespeare managed to annex the plot, however how could not Ualderon 1

In regard to Shakespeare revising ' Romeo and Juliet' "in a form adapted for the study " Z. is in error ; and as to his " analogy with ihe history of the ' Romeo arid Juliet ' quarto and folio versions " he makes another mis- take. Between the quarto and folio editions >here is practically no difference. The First Quarto was taken from an imperfect acting copy. The Second Quarto was not printed Torn the author's manuscript, but from a transcript. It was certainly an improvement on its predecessor. The Third Quarto has a

ew corrections, and numerous additional

errors. The Fourth Quarto follows the Third ilrnost literally, and the Fifth is copied from the Fourth. And as for the Folio, Richard Grant White says that it differs from the quartos "only by the accidents of the printing office." Furness says :

"In the text of the Folio, as usual, there are a number of changes, some accidental, some delibe- rate, but all generally for the worse, excepting the