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tom among the antient Romans of killing a lamb for pacifying quarrels. CHAP. xxxvi. Of a king who desires to know the nature of
Solinus, de MIRABILIBUS Mundi, is here quoteda CHAP. xxxvii. Pliny's account of the stone which the eagle places in her nest, to avoid the poison of a serpent.
CHAP. xxxix. Julius Cesar's mediation between two brothers. From the Gesta ROMANORUM.
We must not forget, that there was the Romance of JULIUS CESAR. And I believe Antony and Cleopatra were more known characters in the dark ages, than is commonly supposed. Shakespeare is thought to have formed his play on this story from North's translation of Amyot's unauthentic French Plutarch, published at London in 1579. Montfaucon, among the manuscripts of Monsieur Lancelot, recites an old piece written about the year 1500, “ LA VIE ET PAIS De Marc Antoine le triumvir et de sa mie CLEOPATRA, translatè de l'historien Plutarque pour tres illustre haute et puissante dame Madame Françoise de Fouez Dame de Châteaubriando.” I know not whether this piece was ever printed. At least it shews, that the story was familiar at a more early period than is imagined; and leads us to suspect, that there might have been other materials used by Shakespeare on this subject, than those hitherto pointed out by his commentators.
That Amyot's French version of Plutarch should contain corruptions and innovations, will easily be conceived, when it is remembered that he probably translated from an old Italian version'. A new exhibition in English of the French caricature of this most valuable biographer by North, must have still more widely extended the deviation from the original.
CHAP. xl. The infidelity of a wife proved by feeling her pulse in conversation. From Macrobius.
* Bibl. MANUSCR. tom. ii. p. 1669. markable, that he was rewarded with an col. 2.
abbacy for translating the THEAGENES • See Bibl. Fr. de la Croix, &c. and CAARICLEA of Heliodorus : for i tom. i. p. 388. Amyot was a great writing which, the author was deprived
translator of Greek books; but I fear, of a bishoprick. He died about 1580. I not always from the Greek. It is re
CHAP. xlii. Valerius Maximus is cited, concerning a column at Rome inscribed with four letters four times written.
CHAP. xliv. Tiberius orders a maker of ductile glass, which could not be broken, to be beheaded, lest it should become more valuable than silver and gold.
This piece of history, which appears also in Cornelius Agrippa DE VANITATE SCIENTIARUMP, is taken from Pliny, or rather from his transcriber Isidore”. Pliny, in relating this story, says, that the temperature of glass, so as to render it flexible, was discovered under the reign of Tiberius.
In the same chapter Pliny observes, that glass is susceptible of all colours. “ Fit et album, et murrhinum, aut hyacinthos sapphirosque imitatum, et omnibus aliis coloribus. Nec est alia nunc materia sequacior, aut etiam PICTURÆ ACCOMMODATIOR. Maximus tamen honor in candido"." But the Romans, as the last sentence partly proves, probably never used any coloured glass for windows. The first notice of windows of a church made of coloured glass occurs in chronicles quoted by Muratori. In the year 802, a pope built a church at Rome, and, “fenestras ex vitro diversis coloribus conclusit atque decoravits.” And in 856, he produces “fenestras vero vitreis coloribus,” &c. This however was a sort of mosaic in glass. To express figures in glass, or what we now call the art of painting in glass, was a very different work: and, I believe, I can shew it was brought from Constantinople to Rome before the tenth century, with other ornamental arts. Guicciardini, who wrote about 1560, in his Descrittione de tutti Paesi Bassi, ascribes the invention of baking colours in glass for churchwindows to the Netherlanders u : but he does not mention the
P Orig. lib. xvi. cap. sv. p. 1224. pears by the rubric of the last section, Apud Auct. Ling. LAT. 1602.
by Le Comte de Tankarville. Isidore's was a favorite REPERTORY Sandford's
's English TransLAT. cap. of the middle age. He is cited for an 90. p. 159. a. edit. Lond. 1569. 4to. account of the nature and qualities of Nat. Hist. lib. xxxvi. cap. xvi. the Falcon, in the Prologue to the second p. 725. edit. Lugd. 1615. or metrical part of the old Phebus de * Dissert. ANTICHIT. Ital. tom. i. deduiz de la chasse des Bestes sauvages et c. xxiv. p. 287. des oyseaur de Proye, printed early at
• Ibid. p. 281. Paris without date, and written, as ap 4 Antw. Plantin. 1580. fol.
period, and I think he must be mistaken. It is certain that this art owed much to the laborious and mechanical genius of the Germans; and, in particular, their deep researches and experiments in chemistry, which they cultivated in the dark ages with the most indefatigable assiduity, must have greatly assisted its operations. I could give very early anecdotes of this art in England. But, with the careless haste of a lover, I am anticipating what I have to say of it in my HISTORY OF Gothic ARCHITECTURE IN ENGLAND.
CHAP. xlv. A king leaves four sons by his wife, only one which is lawfully begotten. They have a contest for the throne. The dispute is referred to the deceased king's secretary, who orders the body to be taken from the tomb; and decrees, that the son who can shoot an arrow deepest into it shall be king. The first wounds the king's right hand; the second his mouth: the third his heart. The last wound is supposed to be the successful one. At length the fourth, approaching the body, cried out with a lamentable voice, “ Far be it from me to wound my father's body!” In consequence of this speech, he is pronounced by the nobles and people present to be the true heir, and placed on the throne.
CHAP. xlviii. Dionysius is quoted for the story of Perillus's brasen bull.
Gower in the CONFESSIO AMANTIS has this story; which he prefaces by saying that he found it in a Cronike". In Caxton's Golden Legende, Macrobius is called a chronicle. “ Macrobius sayth in a croniker.” Chronicles are naturally the first efforts of the literature of a barbarous age. The writers, if any, of those periods are seldom equal to any thing more than a bare narration of facts: and such sort of matter is suitable to the taste and capacity of their cotemporary readers. A further proof of the principles advanced in the beginning of this Dissertation.
CHAP. xlix. The duchess Rosmilla falls in love with Conan, king of Hungary, whom she sees from the walls of the city of
W Lib. vii. f. 161. b. col. 1.
* Fol. lxii. b.
Foro-Juli, which he is besieging. She has four sons and two daughters. She betrays the city to Conan, on condition that he will marry her the next day. Conan, a barbarian, executed the contract; but on the third day exposed her to his whole army, saying, “Such a wife deserves such a husband.”
Paulus, that is, Paulus Diaconus, the historian of the Longobards, is quoted. He was chancellor of Desiderius, the last king of the Lombards; with whom he was taken captive by Charlemagne. The history here referred to is entitled GESTA LONGOBARDORUM'.
CHAP. I. From Valerius Maximus.
CHAP. liv. The emperor Frederick's marble portico near Capua.
I wonder there are not more romances extant on the lives of the Roman emperors of Germany; many of whom, to say no more, were famous in the crusades. There is a romance in old German rhyme, called TEUERDANK, on Maximilian the First, written by Melchior Pfinzing his chaplain. Printed at Nuremberg in 15172.
Chap. Iv. Of a king who has one son exceedingly beautiful, and four daughters, named Justice, Truth, Mercy, and Peace.
Chap. lvi. A nobleman invited a merchant to his castle, whom he met accordingly upon the road. At entering the castle, the merchant was astonished at the magnificence of the chambers, which were overlaid with gold. At supper, the nobleman placed the merchant next to his wife, who immediately shewed evident tokens of being much struck with her beauty. The table was covered with the richest dainties; but while all were served in golden dishes, a pittance of meat was
y See lib. iv. cap. xxviii. Apud in Paulus's description of this siege. Muratorii SCRIPTOR. ITAL. i. p. 465. Fol. on vellum. It is not printed edit. Mediolan. 1723. Where she is with moveable types : but every page is called Romilda. The king is Cacan, or graved in wood or brass. With wooden Cacanus, a king of the Huns. There It is a most beautiful book. are some fine circumstances of distress
placed before the lady in a dish made out of a human scull. The merchant was surprised and terrified at this strange spectacle. At length he was conducted to bed in a fair chamber; where, when left alone, he observed a glimmering lamp in a nook or corner of the room, by which he discovered two dead bodies hung up by the arms. He was now filled with the most horrible apprehensions, and could not sleep all the night. When he rose in the morning, he was asked by the nobleman how he liked his entertainment? He answered, “ There is plenty of every thing; but the scull prevented me from eating at supper, and the two dead bodies which I saw in my chamber from sleeping. With your leave therefore I will depart.” The nobleman answered, “My friend, you observed the beauty of
my wife. The scull which you saw placed before her at supper, was the head of a duke, whom I detected in her embraces, and which I cut off with my own sword. As a memorial of her crime, and to teach her modest behaviour, her adulterer's scull is made to serve for her dish. The bodies of the two young men hanging in the chamber are my two kinsmen, who were murthered by the son of the duke. To keep up my sense of revenge for their blood, I visit their dead bodies every day. Go in peace, and remember to judge nothing without knowing the truth."
Caxton has the history of Albione, a king of the Lombards, who having conquered another king, “ lade awaye wyth hym Rosamounde his wyf in captyvyte, but after he took hyr to hys wyf, and he dyde do make a cuppe of the skulle of that kynge and closed in fyne golde and sylver, and dranke out of ita." This, by the way, is the story of the old Italian tragedy of Messer Giovanni Rucellai planned on the model of the antients, and acted in the Rucellai gardens at Florence, before Leo the
* GOLDEN LEG. f. ccclxxxxvii. a. edit. p. 297. edit. 1580. The English reader 1493. The compilers of the SANCTILOGE may find it in Heylin's CosMOGRAPHIE, probably took this story from Paulus B. i. col. i. p. 57. And in Machiavel's Diaconus, Gust. LONGOBARD. ut supr. HISTORY OF FLORENCE, in English, Lib. ii. cap. xxviii. p. 435. seq. It has Lond. 1680. B. i. p. 5. seq. See also been adopted, as a romantic tale, into Lydgate's Bochas, B. ix. ch. xxvii. the HISTOIRES TRAGIQUES of Belleforest,