« ZurückWeiter »
Again, Decker, in his Gul's Hornbook, 1609: Potato-pies and custards stood like the sinful suburbs of cookery," &c. Again, in Marston's Satires, 1599 :
“ camphire and lettice chaste,
“Candi'd potatoes are Athenians' meate.” Again, in Holinshed's . Chronicle, Description of England, p. 167: “ Of the potato and such venerous roots, &c. I speake not.”
Lastly, in Sir John Harrington's Metamorphosis of Ajax, 1596: “ Perhaps you have been used to your dainties of potatoes, of caveare, eringus, plums of Genowa, all which may well encrease your appetite to severall evacuations."
In The good Huswives Jewell, a book of cookery published in 1596, I find the following receipt to make a tarte that is a courage to a man or woman : “Take two quinces, and twoo or three burre rootes and a POTATON; and pare your POTATON and scrape your roots, and put them into a quarte of wine, and let them boyle till they bee tender, and put in an ounce of dates, and when they be boiled tender, drawe them through a strainer, wine and all, and then put in the yolkes of eight eggs, and the braynes of three or four cocke-sparrowes, and straine them into the other, and a little rose-water, and seeth them all with sugar, cinnamon, and ginger, and cloves, and mace; and put in a little sweet butter, and set it upon a chafing-dish of coles between two platters, to let it boyle till it be something bigge."
Gerard elsewhere observes, in his Herbal, that “ potatoes may serve as a ground or foundation whereon the cunning confectioner or sugar-baker may worke and frame many comfortable conserves and restorative sweetmeats.”
The same venerable botanist likewise adds, that the stalk of clotburre, “being eaten rawe with salt and pepper, or boiled in the broth of fat meat, is pleasant to be eaten, and stirreth up venereal motions. It likewise strengtheneth the back," &c.
Speaking of dates, he says, that “thereof be made divers excellent cordial comfortable and nourishing medicines, and that procure lust of the body very mightily." He also mentions quinces as having the same virtues.
We may likewise add, that Shakspeare's own authority for the efficacacy of quinces and dates is not wanting. He has certainly introduced them both as proper to be employed in the wedding dinner of Paris and Juliet :
“ They call for dates and quinces in the pasty." It appears from Dr. Campbell's Political Survey of Great Britain, that potatoes were brought into Ireland about the year 1610, and that they came first from Ireland into Lancashire. It was, however, forty years before they were much cultivated about London. At this time they were distinguished from the Spanish by the name of Virginia potatoes,-or battatas, which is the Indian denomination of the Spanish sort. The Indians in Virginia called them openank. Sir Walter Raleigh was the first who planted them in Ireland. Authors differ as to the nature of this vegetable, as well as in respect of the country from whence it originally came. Switzer calls it Sisarum Peruvianum, i. e. the skirret of Peru. Dr. Hill says it is a solanum ; and another very respectable naturalist conceives it to be a native of Mexico.
The accumulation of instances in this note is to be regarded as a proof how often dark allusions might be cleared up, if commentators were diligent in their researches. COLLINS. .
ON THE STORY OF THIS PLAY. Of Lollius, the supposed inventor of this story, it will become every one to speak with diffidence, Until something decisive relating to him shall occur, it is better to conclude with Mr. Tyrwhitt, that Chaucer horrowed the greatest part of his admirable story from Boccaccio's Philostrato ; and that he either invented the rest altogether, or obtained it from some completer copy of the Philostrato than that which we now possess. What Dryden has said of Lollius is entirely destitute of proof, and appears to be nothing more than an inference from Chaucer's own expressions.
It would be a matter of extreme difficulty to ascertain, with any sort of precision, when and in what manner the story of Troilus and Cressida first made its appearance. Whether the author of the Philostrato was the first who detailed it so minutely as it is there found, remains to be decided; but it is certain that so much of it as relates to the departure of Cressida from Troy, and her subsequent amour with Diomed, did exist long before the time of Boccaccio. The work in which it is most known at present is the Troy book of Guido of Colonna, composed in 1287, and as he states, from Dares Phygius, and Dictys Cretensis, neither of whom mentions the name of Cressida. Mr. Tyrwhitt, as it has eventually proved, had with his usual penetration and critical acuteness, suspected that Guido's Dares was in reality an old Norman French poet named Benoit de Saint More, who wrote in the reign of our Henry the Second, and who himself made use of Dares. This work seems to be the earliest authority now reinaining. The task which Mr. Tyrwhitt had declined, has on this occasion been submitted to; and the comparison has shown that Guido, whose performance had long been regarded as original, has only translated the Norman writer into Latin. It is most probable that he found Benoit's work when he came into England, as he is recorded to have done; and that, pursuing a practice too prevalent in the middle ages, he dishonestly suppressed the mention of his real original. What has been advanced by Mr. Warton and some other writers respecting an old French romance under the name of Troilus and Cressida will not carry the story a moment higher : because this French romance is in fact nothing more than a much later performance, about the year 1400, compiled by Pierre de Beauvau from the Philostrato itself. This has been strangely confounded with several other French works on the Troy story related with great variety of circumstances, all or most of which were modelled on that of Guido of Colonna or his original: citing, as they had done, the supposititious histories of Dictys and Dares. It is worth while to embrace this opportunity of mentioning, for the first time, that there is a prose French version of Benoit's metrical romance; but when made, or by whom, does not appear in a MS. of it transcribed at Verona in 1320.
Lydgate professedly followed Guido of Colonna, occasionally making use of and citing other authorities. In a short time afterwards Raoul le Fevre compiled from various materials his Recueil des Histoires de Troye, which was translated into English and published by Caxton : but neither of these authors has given more of the story of Troilus and Cressida than any of the other romances on the war of Troy; Lydgate contenting himself with referring to Chaucer. Of Raoul le Fevre's work, often printed, there is a fine MS. in the British Museum, Bibl. Reg. 17, E. II., under the title of Hercules, that must have belonged to Edward the Fourth, in which Raoul's name is entirely and unaccountably suppressed. The above may serve as a slight sketch of the romances on the history of the wars of Troy ; to describe them all particularly would fill a volume.
It remains to inquire concerning the materials that were used in the construction of this play. Mr. Steevens informs us that Shakspeare received the greatest part of them from the Troy book of Lydgate. It is presumed that the learned commentator would have been nearer the fact had he substituted the Troy book or recueyl translated by Caxton from Raoul le Fevre; which, together with a translation of Homer, supplied the incidents of the Trojan war. Lydgate's work was becoming obsolete, whilst the other was at this time in the prime of its vigour. From its first publication to the year 1619, it had passed through six editions, and continued to be popular even in the eighteenth century. Mr. Steevens is still less accurate in stating Le Fevre's work to be a translation from Guido of Colonna; for it is only in the latter part that he has made any use of him. Yet Guido actually had a French translator before the time of Raoul ; which translation, though never printed, is remaining in MS. under the whimsical title of “ La vie de la piteuse destruction de la noble supellative cité de Troy le grant. Translatée en Francois lan mcccLxxx;" and at. the end it is called “ Listoire tres plaisant de la destruction de Troy la grant.” Such part of our play as relates to the loves of Troilus and Cressida was most probably taken from Chaucer, as no other work, accessible to Shakspeare, could have supplied him with what was necessary. Douce.