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illius intuentes diligenter miniftrare: aderant unguenta, coronae: “incendebantur odores: menfae conquifittiffimis epulis extruebantur.” [Tufc. Difp. lib. v. 21.]
It follows, that Damocles fell into the sweet delufion of Chriflophero Sly.
"Fortunatus fibi Damocles videbatur.”
"The event in thefe two dramas, was, indeed, different. For the philofopher took care to make the flatterer fentible of his miftake; while the poet did not think fit to difabute the beggar. But this was according to the defign of each. For, the former would fhew the mifery of regal luxury; the latter its vanity. The tyrant, therefore, is painted wretched. And his Lordship only a beggar in difguife.
To conclude with our poet. The ftrong ridicule and decorum of this Induction make it appear, how impoffible it was for Shakspeare, in his idleft hours, perhaps, when he was only revifing the trash of others, not to leave fome ftrokes of the mafter behind him. But the morality of its purpofe fhould chiefly recommend it to us. For the whole was written with the beit defign of expoling that monftrous Epicurean pofition, that the true enjoyment of life confifts in a delirium of fenfual pleasure. And this, in a way the most likely to work upon the great, by fhewing their pride, that it was fit only to conftitute the fummum bonum of one "No better than a poor and loathfome beggar." Sc. iii. "Nor let the poet be thought to have dealt too freely with his betters, in giving this reprefentation of nobility. He had the highett authority for what he did. For the great maer of life himfelf gave no other of Divinity.
"Ipfe pater veri Doctus Epicurus in arte
Jufit & hanc vitam dixit habere Deos."
The earliest English original in profe of the story on which the Induction to this play is founded, (that I have met with), is in Goulart's ADMIRABLE AND MEMORABLE HISTORIES, tranflated by E. Grimftone, quarto, 1607; but this tale probably had appeared before in fome other fhape, the old Taming of the Shrew having been exhibited before 1594:
PHILIP called the good Duke of Bourgundy, in the memory of our ancestors, being at Bruxelles with his Court, and walking one night after fupper through the ftrects, accompanied with fome of his favorits, he found lying upon the stones à certaine artisan that was very dronke, and that flept foundly. It pleased the prince in this artifan to make trial of the vanity of our life, whereof he had before difcourfed with his familiar friends. He therefore caufed this fleeper to be taken up, and carried into his palace: he commands him to be layed in one of the richest beds; a riche night-cap to be given him; his foule fhirt to be taken off, and to have another put on him of fine Holland. When as this
dronkard had difgefted his wine, and began to awake, behold there comes about his bed Pages and Groomes of the Dukes chamber, who drawe the curteines, make many courtefies, and, being bare-headed, afke him if it please him to rife, and what apparell it would pleafe him to put on that day.They bring him rich apparell. This new Monfieur amazed at fuch courtefie, and doubting whether he dreampt or waked, fuffered himselfe to be dreft, and led out of the chamber. There came noblemen which faluted him with all honour, and conduct him to the Maffe, where with great ceremonie they give him the booke of the Gofpell, and the Pixe to kiffe, as they did ufually to the Duke. From the Maffe they bring him backe unto the pallace; he washes his hands, and fittes downe at the table well furnished. After dinner, the great Chamberlaine commandes cardes to be brought, with a greate fumme of money. This Duke in imagination playes with the chiete of the court. Then they carry him to walke in the gardein, and to hunt the hare, and to hawke. They bring him back unto the pallace, where he fups in ftate. Candles being light, the mufitions begin to play; and, the tables taken away, the gentlemen and gentlewomen fell to dancing. Then they played a pleafant Comedie, after which followed a Banket, whereat they had prefently store of Ipocras and pretious wine, with all forts of confitures, to this prince of the new impreffion; fo as he was dronke, and fell foundlie atleepe. Hereupon the Duke commanded that he should be difrobed of all his riche attire. He was put into his olde ragges, and carried into the fame place where he had beene found the night before; where he spent that night. Being awake in the morning, he beganne to remember what had happened before; - he knewe not whether it were true in deede, or a dreame that had troubled his braine. But in the end, after many difcourfes, he concludes that all was but a dreame that had happened unto him; and fo entertained his wife, his children, and his neighbours, without any other apprehenfion." MALONE.
From this play the Tatler formed a story, vol. iv. No. 231.
"THERE are very many ill habits that might with much ease have been prevented, which, after we have indulged ourfelves in them, become incorrigible. We have a fort of proverbial expreffion, of taking a woman down in her wedding fhoes, if you would bring her to reafon. An early behaviour of this fort, had a very remarkable good effect in a family wherein I was feveral years an intimate acquaintance.
"A gentleman in Lincolnshire had four daughters, three of which were early married very happily; but the fourth, though no way inferior to any of her fifters, either in perfon or accomplishments, had from her infancy difcovered fo imperious a temper, (ufually called a high fpirit) that it continually made great uneafinefs in the family, became her known character in the neighbour
hood, and deterred all her lovers from declaring themfelves. However, in procefs of time, a gentleman of a plentiful fortune and long acquaintance, having obferved that quicknefs of fpirit to be her only fault, made his addreffes, and obtained her confent in due form. The lawyers finished the writings, (in which, by the way, there was no pin-money) and they were married. After a decent time fpent in the father's houfe, the bridegroom went to prepare his feat for her reception. During the whole courfe of his courtship, though a man of the most equal temper, he had artificially lamented to her, that he was the moft paffionate creature breathing. By this one intimation, he at once made her understand warmth of temper to be what he ought to pardon in her, as well as that he alarmed her against that conftitution in himself. She at the fame time thought herself highly obliged by the composed behaviour which he maintained in her prefence. Thus far he with great fuccefs foothed her from being guilty of violences, and still refolved to give her fuch a terrible apprehenfion of his fiery fpirit, that the fhould never dream of giving way to her own. He returned on the day appointed for carrying her home; but instead of a coach and fix horfes, together with the gay equipage fuitable to the oc cafion, he appeared without a fervant, mounted on a skeleton of a horfe, which his huntfman had the day before brought in to feaft his dogs on the arrival of his new miftrefs, with a pillion fixed be hind, and a cafe of piftols before him, attended only by a favourite hound. Thus equipped, he in a very obliging (but somewhat pofitive manner), defired his lady to feat herfelf on the cushion; which done, away they crawled. The road being obftructed by a gate, the dog was commanded to open it: the poor cur looked up and wagged his tail; but the mafter, to fhew the impatience of his temper, drew a pistol and fhot him dead. He had no fooner done it, but he fell into a thoufand apologies for his unhappy rafhnefs, and begged as many pardons for his exceffes before one for whom he had fo profound a respect. Soon after their steed ftumbled, but with fome difficulty recovered; however the bridegroom took occafion to fwear, if he frightened his wife fo again, he would run him through! And alas! the poor animal being now almoft tired, made a fecond trip; immediately on which the careful hufband alights, and with great ceremony, first takes off his lady, then the accoutrements, draws his fword, and faves the huntfman the trouble of killing him: then fays to his wife, Child, pr'ythee take up the faddle; which the readily did, and tugged it home, where they found all things in the greatest order, fuitable to their fortune and the prefent occafion. Some time after, the father of the lady gave an entertainment to all his daughters and their husbands, where when the wives were retired, and the gentlemen paffing a toast about, our last married man took occalion to obferve to the rest of his brethren, how much, to his great fatisfaction, he found the world mistaken as to the temper of his lady, for that he was the most meek and humble woman breathing.
The applause was received with a loud laugh; but as a trial which of them would appear the moft mafter at home, he proposed they fhould all by turns fend for their wives down to them. A fervant was difpatched, and answer was made by one, Tell him I will come by and by; and another, That he would come when the cards were out of her hand; and fo on. But no fooner was her husband's defire whispered in the ear of our last married lady, but the cards were clapped on the table, and down the comes with, My dear, would you speak with me? He received her in his arms, and, after repeated careffes, tells her the experiment, confeffes his good-nature, and affures her, that fince the could now command her temper, he would no longer disguise his own."
It cannot but feem ftrange that Shakspeare fhould be fo little known to the author of the Tatler, that he fhould fuffer this story to be obtruded upon him; or fo little known to the publick, that he could hope to make it pafs upon his readers as a real narrative of a tranfaction in Lincolnfhire; yet it is apparent, that he was deceived, or intended to deceive, that he knew not himself whence the story was taken, or hoped that he might rob so obscure a writer without detection.
Of this play the two plots are fo well united, that they can hardly be called two without injury to the art with which they are interwoven. The attention is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, yet is not distracted by unconnected incidents.
The part between Katharine and Petruchio is eminently spritely and diverting. At the marriage of Bianca the arrival of the real father, perhaps, produces more perplexity than pleasure. The whole play is very popular and diverting. JOHNSON.
END OF VOLUME THE THIRD.