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theft. This conscience of mine maketh | bered anongst the finest geniuses of me presume to stand to all trials, either the time, and whom an enthusiastic of accounts or counsel ; in the one I editor could describe twenty-six years never used falsehood, nor in the other after his death " the only rare dissembling. My most humble suit, poet of that time, the wittie, comical, therefore, unto your lordship is that facetiously-quick and unparalleled John my accusations be not smothered and Lyly,” should have been suffered to choaked in ye smoke, but that they languish in poverty and hope deferred may be tried in ye fire, and I will stand for thirteen years — nay, most probably to the heat ; and much more to the during his whole life — prove how barsame effect.
ren was the patronage Elizabeth exWhether or not Lyly succeeded in tended to literary men, Greene, Peele, clearing himself is not known. But he Marlowe, and others less known, but in was already one of the most famous all of whom burned the divine fire of writers of the day. “Euphues : the genius, lived in penury and died in Anatomie of Wit,” was published in absolute want; and although it may be 1579, and in the following year the urged that these were men of evil and second part, “ Euphues and his Eu-licentious lives, no such excuse can be gland," appeared. At the commence- alleged for the neglect of Edmund ment of 1584 he was writing comedies Spenser, or apparently for that of the for the court entertainments, and dur-subject of this memoir. In no age, not ing the next five years produced some even that of the second George, was eight or nine dramatic pieces. But all genius more neglected than under the this time he seems to have been more magnificent reign of Elizabeth. And, famous than fortunate. A petition to indeed, Lord Burleigh treated plays the queen, undated, but probably in- and poetry much as did the “ dapper dited about 1590 (Harleian manuscript), George.” It was under her much. sets forth how for ten long years he contemned successor that Shakespeare, had solicited, under promises, the ap- Edward Alleyn, and other poets and pointment of master of the revels, and players became men of substance ; and how, if it were not speedily granted, that Bacon, who previously could not he must at court suffer shipwreck of obtain advancement, was raised to the his time without hope. That his hum- honors he merited. ble prayers were not granted is proved But to return to Lyly. No one of by a second petition three years later, the present day would concede to him in which he writes : “My last will the position accorded by his contempowill be shorter than my invention : but raries ; only the literary student would three legacies, patience to my creditors, now have patience to sit down to the melancholy without measure to my perusal of his writings, which have friends, and beggary without shame to fallen into the oblivion that awaits all my family. ... The last and least, books composed only for the fashion of that if I be born to have nothing, I an age. “ Euphues” is written in the may have to pay nothing.”
form of a romance, although it has Whether this second appeal was or little or po story. The hero is an was not more fortunate than the first Athenian gentleman of large estate, is nowhere recorded. The next thir- who, at the opening of the book, jourteen years of his life is a blank, and neys to Naples, where he falls in with a then an entry in the parish register young Neapolitan named Philautus. of St. Bartholomew-the-Less completes So warm is the friendship that springs the story : “ 1606, Nov. 30, æt 52, Johin up between them that they lodge toLyllie, gent, was buried.” That the gether, eat at one table, sleep in one author of the book so universally read bed, and read from one book. Philauand admired, that one whom Ben Jon- tus is engaged to be married to Lucilla, son names with Beaumont, Marlowe, the daughter of Don Ferardo, one of and Shakespeare, whom others num-'the governors of the city. He intro
duces his friend to his mistress. Lu-tion to journey to England, where he cilla falls desperately in love with the bas heard “ of a woman yat in all qualyoung Greek, and engages him in long ities excelleth any man." At the openconversations upon the nature of love, ing of the second part, “ Euphues and much like those to be found in the his England,” the hero and Philautus, romances of Mlle, de Scuderi ; and after crossing the sea, arrive at Dover, Euphues returns the passion with equal and presently travel ou to London. arilor. This brings about a breach be- Here everything is painted couleur de tween the two friends. But Philautus | rose, although not without a few satiris quickly avenged when his fickle mis- ical touches, but the usual fulsome flattress as suddenly transfers her affec- tery of the time is given to court and tions to another geutleman, named monarch. Philautus becomes enamCurio, and marries him. After this oured of a lady named Camilla, who is the iwo injured suitors renew their described as “such an one she was, as friendship, “ both abandoning Lucilla almost they all are that serve so noble as abominable. Philautus was earnesta prince ; such virgins carry lights beto have Euphues tarry in Naples, and fore such a Vesta, such nymphs, arrows Euphues desirous to have Philautus to with such a Diana.” But the lady Athens, but the one was so addicted loves another; and after having comto the court and the other so wedded posed many passionate epistles and to the university that each refused talked endlessly upon the nature of the offer of the other. Yet this they love, Philautus is induced to transfer agreed between then selves, that though his affections to a companion of the their bodies were by distance of place inexorable fair one, the Lady Flavia, severed, yet the conjunction of their who bas from the first regarded bim minds should neither be separated with favorable eyes. He marries her ; by ye length of time, nor alienated while Euphues determines “to sojourn by change of soil.” Then follows an in some uncouth place, until time might epistle from Euphues, the title of which turn white salt into fine sugar; for explains the subject : it is called “A surely he was both tormented in body cooling card for Philautus and all fond and grieved in mind.” So he betakes lovers.”
him “ to the bottom of the Mountain The falsehood of Lucilla has pro- Silixsedra,” and so the book ends. duced so deep an impression upon the Both the title and subject of Lyly's young Athenian that he determines famous novel were doubtless suggested "never again to be entangled with by a passage in Roger Ascham's such fond delights,” and so, repenting “ Schoolmaster” (published in 1570), of his misspent time, he resolves to in which he describes how “ to choose give himself up to study and wisdom, a good wit in a child for learning.” and thereupon composes a treatise upon He is to be “first euphues.” The education. ["Euphues and his Ephæ- author then goes on to describe what bus.”] This was evidently inspired by he means by the word : “One apt by Roger Aschan's “Schoolmaster ; " it is goodness of wit and readiness of will to admirably written and full of excellent learning; a tongue ready to deliver the instruction for the training of youth. meaning of the mind; a voice soft It is worth noting, that in an age in but manlike, a countenance fair and which the rod was used with frightful comely, a person tall and goodly,” etc. brutality, Lyly opposed the corporal To which description our Euphues expunishment of children. This treatise actly corresponds. is followed by a number of letters, one John Lyly, however, although he inof which, written to a friend to whom vented the name, did not originate the is given the very suggestive name of sentiment which he called euphuism ; Atheos, is an eloquent and earnest de- for the beginning of that curious affecfence of the Christian religion. The tation we must go back to the days of book ends with Euphues' deteriniva-chivalry, to the courts of love, those
curious tribunals presided over by lords from the rich-born."
This passage and ladies, patronized by kings, queens, suggests the cause of Shakespeare's and emperors, in which, with all the supposed love of conceits in putting forniulas of a court of justice, nice them into the mouths of all classes, questions in regard to love and the from the noble to the clown; he was relations of lovers towards each other but imitating the phraseology of the were discussed and adjudicated. A time. few years previous to the appearance As no descriptiou can convey a just of " The Anatomie of Wit,” Du Bartas idea of Lyly's strange diction, I subhad produced his “ Création du Monde, join a few specimens, and will begin ou la Semaine,” that curious poetic with an extract from one of Camilla's encyclopædia which treats of every cre- letters to Philautus : ated object from the stars to the small
I did long debate with myself, Philauest insect, and which, unless we go tus, whether it might stand with mine back to the writings of the neo-plato- honor to send thee an answer, for comparnists, is one, if not the earliest, speci- ing my place with thy person, we thought men of that pedantic jargon employed thy boldness more than either manners in by Lyly. Just at this period, however, thee would permit, or I with modesty could all European literature was infected suffer. Yet at ye last, casting with myself, with the same extraordinary craze ; in yat the heat of thy love might clean be Italy, Macini, and in Spain, Gongora, thought it good to commit an inconven
eased with ye coldness of my letter, I abandoned the old classical forms of
ience, yat I might prevent a mischief, their languages for mere fantastic ver- choosing rather to cut thee off short by biaye. Both were contemporaries of rigor, than to give thee any jot of hope by Lyly. Macini was born in 1569, and silence. Green sores are to be dressed was consequently only nine years of roughly, least they fester ; tetters to be age
when “Euphues was written ; drawn in the beginning, lest they spread ; 1561 is the date of Gongora's birth, ringworms to be anointed when they first which makes him seventeen at the appear, least they compass ye old body, and same period. It has been asserted the assaults of love to be beaten back at that Lyly was indebted to both these first siege, least they undermine at ye authors for the suggestion of euphu-spark, weeds are to be rooted in ye bud,
Fire is to be quenched in ye ism, an assertion which these dates follies in ye blossom. Thinking this mornrender in the one case impossible, and ing to try thy physic, I perceived thy fraud, in the other exceedingly improbable. inasmuch as the kernel yat should have But strained conceits and pedantic and cooled my stomach with moistness, hath super-refined modes of expression ob- kindled it into cholic, making a flaming fire tained at the English court before where it found but hot embers, converting, Lyly's time ; he combined them into a like the spider, a sweet flower into a bitter system, caught the spirit of his age, poison, etc. became its interpreter, and the rage
The effect of this epistle upon the with every person, male or female, rejected lover is thus described : who aspired to fashion, or what we Thus, gentlewomen, Philautus resemshould now call the high-cult : “And bleth the viper, who being stricken with a he who spoke not euphuisnı,” says a reed lieth as he were dead, but stricken contemporary, was as little regarded the second time, recovereth his strength ; at court as if he could not speak having his answer at the first in ye masque, French.” Nash, in his introductory he was almost amazed, and now again deepistle to Greene's “ Menaphon,” com
nied, he is animated, presuming thus much ments upon this folly : “I am not igno- upon ye good disposition and kindness of rant,” he says, " how eloquent our
women, that the higher they sit the lower
they look, and the more they seem at the gowned age is grown of late, so that first to loathe, the more they love at the every mechanical mate abhorreth the last. Whose judgment as I am not alto English he was born to, and plucks gether to allow, so can I not in some rewith a solemn periphrasis his ut vales spects mislike.
A short extract from Philautus's | So imitating his ridiculous tricks, reply to Camilla will suffice to complete They spake and writ all like mere lunatics ! these illustrations :
Shakespeare is supposed to have I am not he, Camilla, that will leave the aimed at the absurdities of euphuism rose because it pricked my finger, or for- in the characters of Armado and Holosake the gold that lieth in the hot fire, for fernes. The former is described as that I burned my hand, or refuse the sweet A man in all the world's new fashions chestnut for that it is covered with sharp
planted, husks. The mind of a faithful lover is
That hath a mint of phrases in his brain ; neither to be daunted with despite nor One whoni the music of his own vain affrighted with danger. For as the load
tongue stone, what wind soever blow, turneth
Doth ravish, like enchanting haralways to the north, or as Aristotle's
mony ; Quadratus, which way soever you turn it, is A man of fire-new words, fashion's own always constant, so the faith of Philautus
knight. is evermore applied to the love of Camilla, neither to be removed by any wind, or But as he is further noted to be « rolled with any force. But to the letter. traveller of Spain," it would seem that Thou sayest that green wounds are to be the ridicule was directed rather at the dressed roughly least they fester ; certainly affectations of foreign manners than at thou speakest like a good chirurgian, but those of English growth, and the landealest like one unskilful, for making a guage used by Armado certainly bears great wound, thou puttest in a small tent, very little resemblance to the phrasecutting the flesh that is sound, before thou ology of Lyly ;? while the affectations cure the place that is sore; striking the of Holofernes are the pedantries of the vein with a knife, which thou shouldest
schoolmaster, who, vain of his Latin stop with lint. And so hast thou drawn my tetter (I use thine own term) that in and learning, despises the knight as seeking to spoil it in my chin thou hast being “too picked, too spruce, too afspread it over my body.
fected, too odd, as it were, too pere.
grinate." " I abhor such fanatical These examples are fair speci mens of the style of the entire book; the fantasnis, such insociable and pointchief characteristics of which, as the
devise companions ; such rackers of reader will perceive, are alliteration, orthography, as to speak · dout,' fine,
when he should say doubt; det,' forced antitheses, extraordinary, sometimes uncouth, and not over-delicate
when he should pronounce debt similes, poured forth with astounding d, e, b, t; he clepeth a calf, cauf; prodigality from stores of quaint learn- half, hauf; neighbour vocatur nebour, ing, chiefly drawn from the fabulous
etc.” This passage is curious, as showaccounts of the animal, vegetable, and ing the rise of our modern pronuncia
tion. mineral kingdoms contained in Pliny's Natural History. Both censure and
Fastidious Brisk, in Jonson's Every
Man out of his Humor," is usually ridicule were freely bestowed upon this jargon by Lyly's contemporaries. quoted as a satire upon the euphuists”; Michael Drayton, in one of his ele- but, if it be so, the imitation is as far gies, praises Sydney as being the first · The love of the English for foreign modes was to
a favorite subject of satire among the wits of the
time. Here is a specimen from Lyly's “ Euphues Reduce
in England : "" The attire they use is rather led Our tongue from Lillie's writing then in by the imitation of others than in their own invenuse;
tion, so that there is nothing in England more Talking of stones, stars, plants, of fishes, constant than the inconstancy of attire, now using
the French fashion, now the Spanish, then the flys,
Morisco gowns, then one thing, then another, Playing with words and idle similies,
insomuch that in drawing of an Englishman ye As the English apes and very zanies be painter sette th him down naked, having in ye one Of everything that they do hear and see ; hand a pair of shears, and in the other a piece of
cloth, who having cut his collar after the French 1 To my most dearly loved friend Henry Reynold guise, is ready to make his sleeve after the Barbaof Poets and Poesy.
from the original as that of Shake- | whose erotic poems the absurdities of speare. Brisk is described as a “fresh euphuism may be said to have culmiFrenchified courtier,” which again nated; the quaint conceits and farpoints to a foreign source. Carlo calls fetched images of the master are there him a “uimble-spirited catsos” an outdone, but clothed in a rugged, unItalian expression of contempt — who couth style that contrasts most unfavor“ dance and do tricks in their discourse, ably with the mellifluous flow of the from fire to water, from water to air, original. Donne was followed by Cowfrom air to earth, as if their tongues ley, who was the last of the euphuists. did but e'en lick the four elements Between 1579 and 1636 “ Euphues" over, and away." There is, however, passed through ten editions. During little or no attempt to realize these the troublous times of the rebellion and peculiarities in the dialogue assigned to the rigid theocracy of the Commonthis character. That both Shakespeare wealth, men's minds were not attuned and Jonson could have brought their to such idle fancies, and the roisterers satire close to the original cannot be of the Restoration had no sympathy doubted; why, then, did they pur- with such refined and sublimated theo. posely shoot wide of the mark? It is ries of love. a curious fact that we do not remember Just about the time that euphuism to have seen noted before, that none of was on the wane in England the soci. the dramatists have attempted a picture ety of the Hôtel de Rambouillet was in of the female euphuists ; surely crabbed its full meridian in France. That the old Ben would have delighted in such précieuse was but the euphuist under a subject. Was euphuism too much another name goes for the saying, and affected by the queen and the court to that the French craze was borrowed as be openly attacked ? The reticence of much from the English court as from the poets might be thus explained. the examples of Spain and Italy, must
Robert Greene produced two imita- be evident to every person acquainted tions of “Euphues," in his novel en- with the literary history of the time. titled “Menaphon : Camilla's Alarm to Antonio Perez, the famous minister of Slumbering Euphues in his cell at Philip the Second, a man steeped in Silixsedra ;” and in Euphues, his the literary cultivation of his age and Censure to Philautus” (1589). In the nation, having fallen into disgrace former, our author's style is imitated with his royal master, took shelter with marvellous fidelity ; but the story in England, where he probably made has nothing to do with the original, or Lyly's acquaintance, but most certainly with any of Lyly's characters. The adopted the fashionable jargon that latter is simply a treatise upon the writer had brought into vogue. Perez duties of a soldier, and has for its was a constant correspondent of the second title “Sophomachia : a Philo- Marquis de Pisani, the father of Cathesophical Combat between Hector and rine de Vivoune, afterwards Duchesse Achilles.” Lodge's “ Rosalynde,” from de Rambouillet, and his letters were which Shakespeare took the plot of very models of euphuism. He after“As you Like It,” is further entitled wards passed over to France, became “Euphues' Golden Legacy, found after Henry the Fourth's instructor in the his death in his cell at Silixsedra."' Spanish language, and exercised an imBut after the introduction we have mense influence upon the literary soci. no more of the supposed author, who ety of the nation. But even without plays only the part of prologue. That the interposition of such special agents writers of such repute as Greene and we have the close relations which subLodge should court public favor by sisted between the two courts to supsuch devices, proves incontestably the port the theory. high estimation in which Lyly's ro- As a dramatist Lyly was highly esmance was held. Notable among later teemed by his contemporaries. Francis imitators of its style was Dr. Donne, in | Meres, in his “ Palladis Tamia," 1598.