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the leaf-type, or when it exhibits variations from its usual form and structure, is Nature going back or reverting to former conditions ? or is she initiating paths which lead to new species? The answer to these queries may be given in the affirmative. When the flower grows into its leaves, that is a “reversion," a stepping backward to the primitive and simple type. When, on the other hand, the plant shows a tendency towards complexity, instead of simplicity-to alter in favour of increased development—then is seen the tendency to progression and elaboration of the type. Both tendencies hold sway in Nature, and the one is as inexplicable as the other, save on the theory of Evolution. From the monstrosity of the flower a new "variety" springs, and in time the variety becomes a “race," and the race in turn a new "species." Thus, whilst the course of Nature before our eves runs not smoothly but in an apparent irregularity, the deeper faith in a law-governed universe, not as yet fully comprehended or known, convinces us that with the higher knowledge of 10-morrow the irregularities of to-day will resolve themselves into jurts of an ordered system. It is not without good reason for believing in the reality of the convictions which nature-studies inspire reszketing the government of this world's order that we find Professor Parker maintaining that “the study of animal morphology leads to continuas grinder and more reverential views of creation and of a Chuter, Encry fresh advance shows us further fields for conquest, and at the same time deepens the conviction that, while results and Sorr perations may be discoverable by human intelligence, "the man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the 'We live as in a twilight of knowledge, charged with Portals onder and beauty; we steadfastly look for a perfect with rical perfect order and beauty.”
A NEW STUDY OF “LOVE'S LABOUR'S
HAKESPEAREAN commentators have hitherto failed to reveal
approach to anything like an important discovery in connection with it is Mr. Hunter's reference to Johnes' translation of Monstrelet's Chronicle, where we are told of the settlement of a dispute between the kings of France and Navarre bearing a close resemblance to the political question at issue between Navarre and the Princess of France in the play.' But our knowledge of the origin of the events that form the real action of the comedy is not thereby much ad
In one respect the discovery seems to have obscured subsequent investigation. The occurrence related by Monstrelet took place before 1425, and it has been thence inferred that the play is intended to represent France of that date. Critics have consequently forborne to examine the play in the light of later French history, and contemporary French politics have never been consulted in connection with it. It is no new matter for regret that so few attempts should have been made by commentators to do justice to the influence exerted by contemporary events on the Elizabethan dramatists ; but it is certainly matter for surprise that no endeavour should have been made to trace any relationship between contemporary French affairs and Love's Labour's Lost, where the names of almost all the important characters are actually identical with the contemporary leaders in French politics.
The hero of Love's Labour's Lost is the King of Navarre, in whose kingdom the scene is laid, and the play was produced at a
passage is quoted at length in Hazlitt's Shakespeare's Library, part i. vol. i. p. 3. The King of Navarre renounces all claim to certain French terrilory "in consideration that with the Duchy of Nemours the King of France engaged to pay him two hundred thousand gold crowns of the coin of our lord the king.” It should also be noticed that in the Chronicle the King of Navarre's name is Charles, and that it is to Charles, father of the reigning sovereign, that the Princess in the play declares she has already paid a portion of the sum deinanded by the present claimant. (Love's Labour's Lost, act ii. sc. i. 161.)
time when the bearer of such a title in France was attracting the serious attention of earnest-minded Englishmen. Similarly, the two chief lords in attendance in the comedy-Biron and Longavillebear the actual names of the two most strenuous supporters of the real King of Navarre ; while the name of the Lord Dumaine is a common Anglicised version of that Duc de Maine, or Mayenne, whose name was so frequently mentioned in popular accounts of French affairs in connection with Navarre's movements that Shakespeare was not unnaturally led to number him also among his supporters. Even the name of the “pretty ingenious " page does not seem to have been the dramatist's own invention. Mothe, or La Mothe, was the name by which a French ambassador was known in London for many years; and although he had been absent from England since 1583, the popularity that he had already gained, and the important negotiations in which he had been employed, would have prevented his name from slipping out of the memory of playgoers or playwrights. The further mention of the Duke Alençon must have been due to some reminiscence of the French nobleman of the same name who had so persistently and so publicly sued for the queen's hand.
If we recall the anxious interest with which contemporary movements in France were watched by England from 1589 to the end of 1594- the exultation that followed every victory of Navarre's party, and the dejection that followed every defeat-it seems impossible to attribute to any mere chance coincidence the introduction of these names. It was in 1589-in or about which year our most trustworthy critics are agreed that Love's Labour's Lost must have been written-that England was startled by the news of the assassination of Henry III. by a fanatic monk, and that the dissensions between the Bourbon and Guise claimants to the vacant throne were to be settled at the sword's point. It was in the same year that Elizabeth for once belied her constitutional vacillation, and promised that some appreciable assistance should cross the Channel to aid Navarre. For five years her subjects had complained that she was blind to "the popularity and advantage which would result from her undertaking the cause with energy and spirit.” But now at length God had
2 For an identical mode of spelling the name compare Chapman's Conspiracie and Tragedie of Charles Duke of Biron (in Pearson's Svo. reprint), Vol. ii. Pp. 210-II.
Ile is often mentioned in Froude's History, ch. xi. 293, 7, &c., and in the Slate Paper Calendars, ch. 1581-90, p. 79, &c.
• Loric's Labour's Lost, ii, i. 61.
opened her gracious eyes and strengthened her royal heart. Money and munition were hastily despatched to Dieppe. French agents were granted special licenses to purchase "corn, apparel, and other things” in the London markets for the army of the Protestant king. The fleet was ordered to cruise about the Channel, and hurried arrangements were made within a few days for the transport of four thousand foot soldiers, most of whom were volunteers anxious to shed their blood in so good a cause. The public enthusiasm grew hourly. Students complained that the war excitement interfered with their studies. Little was acknowledged to be too valuable to be sacrificed "for the sake of the French King." 5
With these facts before us, we may reasonably suppose that Shakespeare wrote this comedy with his eyes fixed, like those of his countrymen, on the affairs of France ; and it will be our endeavour to show further that he made his observations serve at once a practical purpose. We believe that in the composition of Love's Labour's Lost Shakespeare took a slight and amusing story derived from some independent source—which will, we hope, be before long discovered—and gave it a new and vital interest by grafting upon it heroes and incidents suggested by the popular sentiment as to French affairs prevailing in London at the time. Apart from the play itself, this view is partially confirmed by two noticeable facts. Firstly, Love's Labour's Lost was one of the most popular of Shakespeare's comedies on the Elizabethan stage for some years after its first production ; but after the occurrences, chiefly in France, to which we suppose it to refer had been driven by others from the public mind, the play lost, and has never since regained, its place in popular esteem. Secondly, Shakespeare has elsewhere shown his interest in French politics. Almost the only direct and unmistakable reference to current events which he has introduced into his plays describes the contemporary condition of France. In the Comedy of Errors, which probably followed Love's Labour's Lost at a very brief interval, France is stated to be “armed and reverted, making war against her heir.”? Likewise Malone, on quite independent grounds, most strenuously maintained that the passage in the Merchant of Venice in which Portia compares music to "the flourish when true subjects bow to a new-crowned monarch,” refers to Navarre's final victory and his coronation as King of France. 8
* A general view of the time may be gathered from the documents calendareu on pp. 615-18 of Elizabeth's Domestic State Papers, 1581-90.
• Halliwell's Folio Shakespeare, vol. iv. P. 215. ? Comedy of Errors, iii. ii. 122.
& Merchant of Venice, iii. ii, 49. VOL. CCXLVII. NO. 1798.
But for a conclusive proof of the theory we have enunciated, we must rely on the internal construction of the comedy. We have already shown the relationship existing between the names of the persons introduced there and those of some contemporary leaders in political life. We proceed to examine the characters of the dramatist's heroes in connection with those of their living namesakes, and to compare some of the incidents in the play with some events of actual history,
The popular admiration with which the opponent of the League was viewed in England is clearly reflected in Love's Labour's Lost in the description of the King as
the sole inheritor
Marchias Navarre ; (ü. i. 5); ani lis reputed gallantry and fondness for female society are well
strated by the “courtship, pleasant jest, and courtesy” with which he makes his advances to the Princess. Similarly Longaville,
o made his English reputation by the skill with which he defeated the fines of the League at Senlis in 1589, is spoken of by Maria name which seems introduced to satisfy the enthusiasm his
desed in this country :
A ma x severeigo parts be is esteemed
Ning becomes dim iil that he would well. (ii, i. 44.) Ne, e most of the characters in the comedy, 'seem merely * maps of the lite," such as might be expected of a clever
ins apprenticeship. They have not sufficient flesh and haben to enable us to establish in detail their identity We were presumaby their living prototypes. The King che li a'most all their attendants, are lightly pencilled
salsa very much from a comparison with even as of Shakespeare's later comedies. The only
and into Lee's Lahar's Lost who will in any * I wish uctions of Shakespeare's after years 14 Six :a ha the original sketch of Benedick, and
is that to his characterization Shakespeare Heti a Vost of his speeches are so superior The rest of the play, that we cannot bat ::: Toute upater the comedy was first produced, Rong the corrections and augmentations
14e of the 1598 Quarto as having been
* 1 raua in which Biron stood to the English