« ForrigeFortsett »
I entirely agree in opinion with Dr. Johnson, that Ben Jonson wrote the prologue and epilogue to this play. Shakespeare had a little before aflisted him in his Sejanus; and Ben was too proud to receive assistance without returning it. It is probable, that he drew up the directions for the parade at the christening, &c. which his employment at court would teach him, and Shakespeare must be ignorant of: I think, I now and then perceive his hand in the dialogue. It appears
from Stowe, that Robert Green wrote fomewhat on this subject. FARMER.
In support of Dr. Johnson's opinion, it may not be amiss to quote the following lines from old Ben's prologue to his Every Man in his Humour :
- To make a child row fwaddled, to proceed
THE historical dramas are row concluded, of which the two parts of Henry the Fourth, and Henry the Fifth, are among the happiest of our author's compositions ; and King John, Richard the Third, and Henry the Eighth, deservedly stand in the second class. Those whose curiosity would refer the historical scenes to their original, may consult Holinshed, and sometimes Hall: from Holinthed Shakespeare has often inserted whole speeches with no more alteration than was necessary to the numbers of his verse. To transcribe them into the margin was unnecessary, because the original is easily examined, and they are seldom less perspicuous in the poet than in the historian.
To play histories, or to exhibit a succession of events by action and dialogue, was a common entertainment among our rude ancestors upon great festivities. The parish clerks once performed at Clerkenwell a play which lafted three days, containing The History of the World. Johnson.
It appears from more than one MS. in the British Museum, that the tradesmen of Chester were three days employed in the representation of their twenty-four Whitsun plays or mysteries. The like performances at Coventry must have taken up a longer tiine, as they are no less than forty in number. The exhibition of them began on Corpus Christi day, which was, (according to Dugdale) one of their ancient fairs. See the Harleian MSS. No. 2013, 21:4, 2125, and MS. Cott. Vefp. D. VIII. and Dugdale's Warwickshire, p. 116. STEEVENS,
Caius Marcius Coriolanus, a noble Roman.
} Generals against the Volscians.
}Tribunes of the People.
Common People, Servants to Aufidius, and other Attendants.
The SCENE is partly in Rome ; and partly in the
Territories of the Volfcians and Antiates.
The whole history is exactly followed, and many of the principal speeches exactly copied from the Life of Coriolanus in Plutarch. Pope.
Of this play there is no edition before that of the players, in folio, in 1623. Johnson,
A CT I.
A Street in Rome.
Enter a company of mutinous Citizens, with staves, clubs,
and other weapons.
1 Cit. Before we proceed any further, hear me speak.
All. Speak, speak.
i Cit. You are resolv'd rather to die, than to famich?
All. Resoly'd, resolv'd.
i Cit. First, you know, Caius Marcius is chief enemy to the people.
All. We know't, we know't.
1 Cit. Let us kill him, and we'll have corn at our own price. Is't a verdict ?
All. No more talking on't ; let it be done : away, away.
2 Cit. One word, good citizens'.
i Cit. We are accounted poor citizens ; the patricians, good : What authority surfeits on, would re
* One word, good citizens.
1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patricians, good.] Good is here used in the mercantile sense. So, Touchstone in Eastward Hoe :
-known good men, well monied.” FARMER. Again, in the Merchant of Venice: “ Antonio's a good man," MALONE,