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'Bless thee, Bottom, bless thee! Thou art translated!': Ovid, Golding and a 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' (Arthur Golding)

For God, who is truth it selfe, in whom there is no

variablenesse, no shadow of change no feining, no

hypocrisie [...] enjoy(n)s all men at all times, to

be such in shew, as they are in truth: to seeme that

outwardly which they are inwardly; to act themselves,

not others.

(William Prynne, Histriomastix

(London, 1633) p. 15)

Prynne's attack on stage-plays in 1633 offers the stereotype of Puritan distrust of all role-playing, coupled with an equally stereotypical horror of the immorality it presented. The stereotype, of course, obscures ambiguities. The Puritan Arthur Golding's morality was no less stringent than Prynne's. Yet he translated Ovid's Metamorphoses, a text as immoral as any contemporary play; (1) and by allegorizing away its lewdness he insisted, contrary to Prynne's injunction, that what its characters seemed outwardly was far removed from what they were inwardly. But the intersection of puritanism and the classical text was not achieved in Golding's work without a degree of tension, a tension ready for exploitation by later readers. When Shakespeare read Golding's Metamorphosis, he was apparently struck by many phrases in the 'Englished' text, and these phrases subsequently appeared in his own writing, but he was equally alert to Golding's anxious relationship with the Latin original. In A Midsummer Night's Dream he made substantial borrowings from Golding's translation, some of which have not yet been recognized. He also responded to Golding's attitude to the Metamorphoses in something of the spirit of Ovid's 'musa iocosa', and gained creative impetus from it. This is most clear in Golding's prefatory material to his translation, its relevance to the mechanicals' preliminary discussions to their performance (in rehearsal and in prologues), and the pattern of artist-audience relationships set up across the various texts.

Shakespeare's debt to Golding's translation in the 'Pyramus and Thisbe' episode has long been recognized. Several critics have insisted that the mechanicals' interlude parodies Golding's style, a style that by the 1590s was both very familiar and very old-fashioned, and hence laughable; many linguistic borrowings from Golding's version of the episode have been identified in the mechanicals' text. (2) Harold Brooks, in the Arden A Midsummer Night's Dream of 1979, notes how words such as 'crany', 'loving whisprings', and 'courtesie' from Golding's text find their way into the interlude; he does not, however, mention that unused phrases from this episode, like unused details of the plot, emerge elsewhere in the play: Pyramus and Thisbe's decision 'To steale out of their father's house [...] | [and] to meete withoute the towne' (IV, 106-08) prompts Lysander's suggestion to Hermia (whose situation, crossed by her father's disapproval, compares with Thisbe's): 'Steal forth thy father's house [...] | [and meet] a league without the town' (I. i. 164-65). (3)

Golding's presence is to be felt much more widely in A Midsummer Night's Dream than in the interlude alone. Few characters remain untouched by the Metamorphoses, and in many instances Golding's translation appears to be Shakespeare's immediate source. Of the mechanicals, Bottom most obviously assumes an Ovidian role. Geoffrey Bullough notes Scot's Witchcraft and Apuleius's Golden Ass as chief sources for the ass-head, suggesting the Midas episode in Thomas Cooper's Thesaurus Linguae as an analogue. (4) But the Midas story is also told in the Metamorphoses. Midas is punished with 'Asses eares' (Metamorphosis, XI, 202) for his lack of musical taste, a failing that is preserved in A Midsummer Night's Dream, albeit not as the cause of Bottom's transformation but in response to it. Midas prefers Pan's 'country pype of reedes, and [...] his rude and homely song' (Metamorphosis, XI, 181) to Apollo's lyre, and a comparable misjudgement accompanies Bottom's metamorphosis: it is his rude and homely song that prompts Titania's question 'What angel wakes me from my flowery bed?' (III. i. 124). And the misjudgements continue: 'I have a reasonable good ear in music. Let's have the tongs and the bones' (IV. i. 28-29). Moreover, in Golding's translation of the Ovidian episode Midas roves 'up and down' (XI, 165) before the transformation episode; compare Bottom: 'I will walk up and down here, and I will sing, that they shall hear I am not afraid' (III. i. 117). Golding's Pan is to be found 'among the fayrye elves that dawnced round toogither' (XI, 171), just as Titania's fairies or elves (both terms are used) are called upon to perform a 'roundel' (II. ii. 1). The influence is clearly Golding's rather than Ovid's here, since there is no Latin basis for the roving up and down (see Ovid, XI, 146-47) and the dancing fairies are an alteration and expansion of Ovid's 'teneris ... nymphis' (Ovid, XI, 153).

More tentatively, one may suggest that the other form of transformation the mechanicals undergo, transformation into the characters of their interlude, also owes moments to Golding; Quince's reassuring promise to Flute, 'You may speak as small as you will' (referring to his role as Thisbe (I. ii. 45-46)) can be compared to the change which overcomes Cygnus on his metamorphosis into a swan: 'Annon his voyce became more small and shrill than for a man' (ii, 465). Although, as Harold Brooks notes in his Arden edition, the OED does not recognize this usage, the sense of 'small' in both passages is evidently 'shrill, opposite of deep'.

Again, both Bullough's Narrative and Dramatic Sources and Harold Brooks's Arden edition cite Chaucer and North's Plutarch as the major sources for the person of Theseus; but it should also be noted that when Theseus first appears in Book vii of the Metamorphoses he is returning in triumph to Athens to be greeted by a celebrating populace feasting and welcoming his success in entertainments. Golding's rendition of the passage strengthens the likelihood that it influenced the opening of A Midsummer Night's Dream. What is in Latin a day of great renown ('nullus Erecthidis fertur celebratior illo | inluxisse dies' (VII, 430-31)) becomes in Golding's translation a day of celebration: 'A day of more solemnitie than this did never rise | Before on Athens (by report)' (VII, 547-48). (5) So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Theseus enters discussing the prospective entertainments for 'the night | Of our solemnities' (I. i. 10-11). And while Ovid states:

agitant convivia patres

et medium vulgus nec non et carmina vino

ingenium faciente canunt.

(VII, 431)

Golding is more expansive regarding the 'vulgus':

The auncients of the Towne

Made feastes: so did the meaner sort, and every common clowne.

And as the wine did sharpe their wits, they sang this song.

(VII, 548)

Golding's specific reference to the 'common clowne' may well have prompted Shakespeare's introduction of the mechanicals in this context (and the ensuing song sounds very much the sort that Theseus would have discarded as 'an old device').

At times Shakespeare's fairies also look back to Golding. Of course, there is much about them that must be labelled more broadly Ovidian, that does not indicate a specific use of Golding's text. Oberon and Titania fall naturally into the role of Ovid's gods in their jealousy and quarrelling, their amorous escapades, their power, and their use of metamorphosis as punishment. Oberon, when thwarted in his desire to gain the Indian child, determines upon revenge in an Ovidian spirit: 'Thou shalt not from this grove | Till I torment thee for this injury' (II. i. 146-47). And if Titania takes her name from that given to Diana in Metamorphoses, III, 173, she nevertheless has, paradoxically, more of the aura of Venus about her. We learn from Oberon of her past exploits:

Didst thou not lead [Theseus] through the glimmering night

From Perigouna, whom he ravished;

And make him with fair Aegles break his faith,

With Ariadne and Antiopa?

(II. i. 77)

Her attempt to prevent Bottom's departure ('Out of this wood do not desire to go' (III. i. 145-55)) recalls Venus wooing Adonis, the myth that Shakespeare had of course dealt with in poetic narrative a year or two earlier, and an audience familiar with the iconographic tradition of that myth, in which Venus and Adonis amorously recline in flowery groves, might well have found an echo of it in the opening tableau of Act IV, 'Come sit thee down upon this flowery bed'. (6) Although Titania is not attended by Cupid, his place is supplied by the 'little changeling boy', while Cupid's mischievous nature and power to induce love are transferred onto Puck. But specific wording reinforces the argument that some borrowings come specifically through Golding's Metamorphosis. The list of fruits including figs, 'purple grapes', and honey with which Titania tempts Bottom in III. i. 159-61 may derive from that which Philemon and Baucis offer their metamorphosed guests in Book viii:

Nuts, Dates, dryed figges,

Sweete smelling Apples in a Mawnd made flat of Oysyer twigges.

And Prunes and Plums and Purple grapes cut newly from the tree,

And in the midst a honnycomb new taken from the Bee.

(Golding, VIII, 852)

Titania's reference to honey stolen from the bees (III. i. 161) in this case picks up Golding's 'new taken from the Bee', which does not appear in Ovid. And as so often in A Midsummer Night's Dream, there is an inversion of Ovidian roles at this point, as Shakespeare's fairy queen offers to the lowly mortal foods Ovid's peasants offered to Jove.

Golding's translation, then, plays a larger role in Shakespeare's text than has previously been established. But what of Shakespeare's attitude to his source? Is an element of inversion present here also? As mentioned earlier, it has commonly been assumed that the style of the mechanicals' interlude parodies that of Golding. Robert F. Willson argues that 'Pyramus and Thisbe' mocks both the 'jog trot rhythm of Golding's "fourteeners"', whose rhythm is inappropriate to the sentiments expressed, and Golding's excessive alliteration, assonance, and apostrophe (pp. 19-20, 22). It is a common assessment of Shakespeare's treatment of Golding, as Gordon Braden points out. (7) To Willson's examples of Golding's rhythm and alliteration as objects of mockery may be added other Golding characteristics: the archaisms that reappear in the mechanicals' interlude and the repetitiveness and long-windedness which can be found in both. The phrases and narrative commonplaces derived from the tradition of medieval romance, with which, as Braden points out, Golding typically pads out his original, are just such as are to be found in the mechanicals' text. (8) The difficulties that Shakespeare's very English mechanicals have with classical allusion ('Ninny's tomb') may serve as an exaggerated reminder of the sophisticated literary and linguistic allusions in Ovid's text, which lie beyond the grasp of its translator.

So much for Golding's rendition of the 'Pyramus and Thisbe' episode. But Shakespeare had the whole of Golding's text available to him and seems to be as interested in Golding's critical understanding of his task as translator as in his stylistic achievements. That understanding is most obviously on display in Golding's prefatory material to the translation. But this material has provoked little critical interest. Nims's edition of the Metamorphosis (9) tellingly relegates Golding's prefatory material to the end of the book; Bate wonders briefly 'if (Shakespeare) bothered to read it and did not skip straight to the English text of his admired Ovid' (Bate, p. 31). Some of the most interesting parallels that can be drawn between the mechanicals' production and Golding's publication of the Metamorphosis are to be found here. They are parallels that point to Shakespeare's interest not only in the stories but in their reception and interpretation.

For Golding, translating the Metamorphoses was a matter of moral seriousness, a seriousness evident in the rest of his output. Of his translations (which comprise all but two of his known writings) the majority are of theological works, many of them by Calvin: in 1566 he was engaged in a translation of Calvin's treatise on Offenses, which appeared shortly after the completed Metamorphosis. (10) In his translations of historical works, he points out the usefulness of histories as moral exempla. His two original pieces, A briefe discourse of the late murther of master G. Saunders (1573) and A discourse upon the earthquake (1580), both treat contemporary events as narrative episodes providing 'signs and tokens' to be interpreted to our moral benefit; (11) 'the terror of the outward sight of the example (should) drive us to the inward consideration of our selves'. (12) History, whether classical or contemporary, is transcribed and read to the same moral ends, as are the Aesopic fables in Golding's Morall Fabletalke, which remains unpublished. (13)

It comes then as no surprise to find the flippancy and capricious tone of Ovid's narrative replaced by anxious moral observations in Golding's translation. His reading of the Metamorphoses accords with the traditions of moral interpretation of pagan mythology, and specifically with the tradition of Ovide moralise. He introduces the completed translation of 1567 with an extended Epistle to the Earl of Leicester, 616 lines in length, followed by a shorter Preface to the Reader. Both, but particularly the first, express his anxiety about the reception of his work. In the Epistle he takes pains to impress upon the reader the precepts which, he claims, 'in this his worke the Poet dooth conteyne':

in all are pitthye, apt and pleyne

Instructions which import the prayse of vertues, and the shame

Of vices.

(Epistle, l. 64)

But Golding does not leave his reader to find these instructions for himself. Despite the antiquity of the Ovide moralise tradition, he devotes almost the entire Epistle to explaining the fictional nature of the gods in the Metamorphoses, and, apparently not satisfied, resumes the same theme in the Preface: not, indeed, adding substantively to what has already been said, but simply reinforcing it in a somewhat naive tone. What we pick up is a Puritan hesitancy offer imaginative writing that is fully in keeping with the theological stance in the remainder of his translations:

I would not wish the simple sort offended for to bee,

When in this booke the heathen names of feyned Godds they see.

The trewe and everliving God the Paynims did not knowe:

Which caused them the name of Godds on creatures too bestowe.

(Preface, l. 1)

The length of the explanations in the Epistle, the insistent repetition in the Preface to the Reader of his moral intentions in undertaking the translation, together with the title-page verse of the 1567 edition ('With skill, heede, and judgement, this worke must be read, | For else to the Reader it standes in small stead') all point to an anxiety offer the nature and reception of what he is doing, which is very different from the 'musa iocosa' of Ovid.

Shakespeare's mechanicals are not, of course, Puritans, but they are anxious. That same fear that the fiction may be all too convincing (a fear suggesting a lack of easy familiarity with and confidence in literary conventions) dogs their production of Pyramus and Thisbe, and their anxiety that their audience should be helped to interpret correctly is the main cause of debate in the mechanicals' rehearsal and prompts improvisation: '"Ladies", or "Fair ladies, I would wish you", or "I would request you", or "I would entreat you, not to fear, not to tremble"' (III. i. 38-40). (14) Whereas the verbal humour of their performance does not repeat that of their rehearsal, the comic potential of this anxiety is exploited throughout. The propositions during the rehearsal ('Let the prologue seem to say that we will do no harm with our swords, and that Pyramus is not killed indeed'; 'Another prologue must tell he is not a lion' (III. i. 16, 33)) lead to persistent explanations at the performance:

I, one Snout by name, present a wall [...]

I as Snug the joiner am

A lion fell, nor else no lion's dam [...]

This lantern doth the horned moon present [...].

(V. i. 155, 218, 231)

Golding's propitiatory and somewhat ingenuous tone has found its way into the characterization of the mechanicals; his defensive plea 'Let no man marvell at the same' (Epistle, l. 310) shares very much the tone of the mechanicals' prologue: 'At the which let no man wonder' (V. i. 133). Both fear, though for different reasons, that their work may be wrongly taken at face value. The 'hempen homespuns', who share the homeliness of Golding's language and his inability, for the most part, to keep abreast of the sophisticated wit he encounters, also share his trepidation in venturing into Ovidian performance. This trepidation is all the more justified on their part since their (on-stage) audience itself belongs to that world of Ovidian wit.

Golding's other anxiety in his prefatory material is not a moral concern, though it arises out of his moralizing. Concern that his moral interpretation of the stories be thought too prolonged gives rise to placatory interjections: to elucidate them all 'were labor infinite and tediousnesse not small' (Epistle, l. 301), and the reader is assured that Golding 'will not tedious be' (Preface, l. 78). We find the same reiteration of the word in A Midsummer Night's Dream concerning 'Pyramus and Thisbe': at the description of 'A tedious brief scene' Theseus exclaims 'Tedious and brief ?' and Philostrate elucidates

A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,

Which is as brief as I have known a play;

But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,

Which makes it tedious.

(V i. 61)

The word 'brief ' has also already appeared in Golding's Epistle when Golding decides 'breefly too conclude' (Epistle, l. 607), a claim to brevity which, after so extended an epistle, already carries unintended humour. (15) Other words recurrent in Golding's introductions ('offend', 'intent', 'device') reappear in the language of the mechanicals, both in the prologues and during the rehearsal of the interlude. (16) Shakespeare also plays with Golding's word 'monstruous' (Preface, l. 18), where it is used of strange things mistaken for gods, by putting it into the mouths of the mechanicals as they discuss their own disguises: 'I'll speak in a monstruous little voice' (I. ii. 48); 'The smallest monstruous mouse' (V. i. 215). The fact that the OED cites the former of these as the first instance of the word's use as a colloquial intensive suggests its relative novelty, and this strengthens the suggestion that its use is deliberately provocative here. The word is a favourite of Golding's; at II, 463, 'monstro' ('miracle, wonder') becomes 'this monstruous hap'; at IV, 67, in the 'Pyramus and Thisbe' episode the Latin 'coctilibus muris' ('brick walls') is enlarged into 'huge walles so monstrous high and thicke' (Ovid, II, 367; IV, 58). The usage here, of course, predates that given in the OED.

Even the lumbering manner in which the mechanicals introduce their performance may owe something to the manner in which Golding offers his Ovid. Golding's choice of fourteeners and his tendency not to allow a clause to extend from one couplet to the next invite the reader to pause at the end of each couplet and, to a lesser extent, each line. When the sense does continue beyond the seventh foot, the conflict between metrical delay and semantic continuity can produce a clumsy effect far removed from the graceful ease of Ovid's Latin. Examples may be drawn from both the translation itself and the Epistle with which it is introduced:

It is not too be understand [sic] of that same soule whereby

Wee are endowed with reason and discretion from on hie:

But of that soule or lyfe the which brute beasts as well as wee

Enjoy. Three sortes of lyfe or soule (for so they termed bee)

Are found in things.

(Epistle, l. 29) (17)

An unpointed reading of clumsy lines opens up the possibility of semantic ambiguity, as in Golding's following plea to his readers:

Ne let them more offend

At vices in this present woork in lyvely colours pend [...]

For sure theis fables are not put in wryghting to thentent

Too further or allure too vyce: but rather this is ment.

(Epistle, ll. 557, 561) (18)

When we turn to Quince's unpointed rendition of his prologue's lines to the same effect, in which he asks that the interlude should be taken in good intent, that potential semantic confusion is realized:

That you should think, we come not to offend,

But with good will [...]

We do not come, as minding to content you,

Our true intent is. All for your delight,

We are not here.

(V. i. 109, 113)

The mechanicals' onstage audience recognizes the comedy of their dramatic awkwardness, and the sophistication of the audience, which renders the naive and repeated exegesis of the interlude superfluous, heightens the comedy of the mechanicals' efforts. The same charge of superfluity might be made against Golding's exegesis, given his readership. Leicester, Golding's dedicatee and the addressee of his Epistle, being an influential patron of the arts and an important figure in a highly cultured Puritan aristocratic circle that would later include Philip Sidney, could have been relied upon not to give the credulous reading of the text that Golding appeared to anticipate, in the same way as Theseus, being familiar with masques, music, and dramatic devices, could have been assumed to understand literary conventions. Leicester may, then, have provided an element in the composition of Theseus. That Shakespeare is conscious of the parallel between Leicester and Theseus is made all the more probable by the fact that Theseus's appraisal of the mechanicals' eVorts also seems to echo Golding's Preface. Golding, previewing the stories, claims

what ever thing is straunge and delectable,

The same conveyed shall you fynd most featly in some fable.

And even as in a cheyne, eche linke within another wynds,

And both with that that went before and that that followes binds.

(Preface, l. 203)

Theseus's comment is: 'His speech was like a tangled chain; nothing impaired, but all disordered' (V. i. 124). The image does not arise out of any previous remark; nor, like the majority of the comments in the performance, is it made in order to allow for a display of wit by the spectators. As a conscious, ironic reference to Golding's Preface, and as an acknowledgement of Shakespeare's irreverent use of it, the presence of this simile in the text takes on a greater significance. A Midsummer Night's Dream not only offers parody. It also presents in its characters the different attitudes to writing and reading out of which the possibility for such parody arises.

Shakespeare had already employed Ovid to explore this sort of discrepancy. In The Taming of the Shrew there is a disparity between Christopher Sly's naive response to transformation and the aristocrats' sophisticated understanding of metamorphosis in play and art. The disparity is highlighted when the lord and his men offer to have pictures of Ovidian metamorphosis paraded before Sly. For they are pictures that relate to his own transformation, yet he lacks the sophistication to comprehend and interpret them. (19) In A Midsummer Night's Dream the jokes are on those who cannot put what they are doing into a literary context. The onstage audience can laugh at the mechanicals, and the real audience, recognizing Theseus's court in the context of classical mythology, can afford to feel some of the same superiority to it. I would, therefore, query Bate's suggestion that what Shakespeare is doing with 'Pyramus and Thisbe' is to parody his own habit of literary borrowing and adapting (p. 41). It seems, rather, that he was sharing with the more cultured of his audience the rather exclusive humour of self-conscious literary play. Such humour would remain inaccessible to those without the literary reference points and those who looked only for 'apt [...] Instructions' and moral profit.

If Shakespeare is indeed playing with his source, as I have suggested, then his parodic irreverence is in keeping with the mood of Ovid's original; (20) paradoxically it is the presence of the serious-minded intermediary in Golding that gives him scope for this self-conscious and Ovidian irreverence. Golding was all too aware that his seriousness might not be shared by every reader. In his Preface he compares his text to 'fragrant flowers most full of pleasant juice', which may be applied beneficially or harmfully, may be 'put to wholesome use [or] to poison may [be] convert[ed]' (Preface, l. 163). That image (which, incidentally, may join with the mulberry flower of the 'Pyramus and Thisbe' story in providing a source for the 'little western flower' that provokes the 'fond pageant' of the lovers) reminds us that texts are also ripe for metamorphosis. Golding attempted to prohibit further reinterpretation of Ovid's stories in offering so substantial a key to the narrative; yet the Puritan tension offer more festive readings becomes, like Malvolio's killjoy puritanism for Sir Toby's crew in Twelfth Night, a spur to further creativity. (21) For all his caution, Golding's own translation and even Golding himself are, in their turn, translated in the sense that Bottom is 'translated', transformed, in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In the end it is Golding who wears the long ears.

(1) This inconsistency with the stereotype has led Charlton Ogburn, The Mysterious William Shakespeare (New York: Dodds, Mead, 1984) to hypothesize that the translation is not Golding's. There is no evidence to support the hypothesis.

(2) A. B. Taylor's forthcoming Shakespeare's Ovid and Arthur Golding will be the first book devoted to this relationship, though Jonathan Bate's excellent Shakespeare and Ovid (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) makes frequent reference to Golding. On parody, see R. F. Willson, 'Golding's Metamorphosis and Shakespeare's Burlesque Method in A Midsummer Night's Dream', ELN, 7 (1969), 18-25. A. B. Taylor's article 'Golding's Ovid, Shakespeare's "Small Latin", and the Real Object of Mockery in "Pyramus and Thisbe"', Shakespeare Survey, 42 (1989), 53-64, offers some important close readings of 'Pyramus and Thisbe', but its thesis (that in the interlude Shakespeare mocks his own imperfect Latin and not Golding's manner) fails to tackle the paradox that Shakespeare's skill in Latin was sufficient for him to compose such a parody. See also L. Barkan, The Gods Made Flesh (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1986), pp. 252-88, and, for the view that critics have exaggerated Golding's influence, see L. T. Pearcy, The Mediated Muse: English Translations of Ovid, 1560-1600 (Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1984), p. 150.

(3) All citations of A Midsummer Night's Dream are taken from the second Arden edition, ed. by H. F. Brooks (London: Methuen, 1979); of Golding from 'Shakespeare's Ovid': Arthur Golding's Translation of the Metamorphoses, ed. by W. H. D. Rouse (London: Centaur Press, 1961), and of Ovid from F. J. Miller's Loeb edition, revised by G. P. Goold (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 3rd edn 1977 (Vol. I), 2nd edn 1984 (Vol. II)).

(4) Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, ed. by Geoffrey Bullough, 8 vols (London: Routledge, 1957-75), Vol. I.

(5) 'Solemnitie' means 'observance of ceremony, celebration' in this period (the first instance given in the OED for the meaning 'impressiveness, gravity', closer to Ovid's 'renown', is 1712). The word 'solempnytee' also appears in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, but is quickly brushed over, whereas Golding is expansive.

(6) Veronese's Venus and Adonis (Prado, Madrid) and Titian's Venus and Adonis (National Gallery, London) offer striking examples of this iconographic tradition, though I am not suggesting that Shakespeare saw these particular paintings.

(7) The Classics and English Renaissance Poetry: Three Case Studies (New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1978), p. 35. On Golding's style more generally, see pp. 20-54.

(8) Braden, pp. 26-28, 33; see, for example, the use of the affirmative 'do', archaic accentuation, and line-filling narratorial interjections in A Midsummer Night's Dream, V. i. 128-31. Archaisms in Golding's text that are echoed in 'Pyramus and Thisbe' include 'doolefull teares and mone' (I, 720), 'eyen' (IV, 498, and elsewhere), and, very commonly, 'eke' (passim).

(9) Ovid's Metamorphoses: The Arthur Golding Translation 1567, ed. by J. F. Nims (New York and London: Macmillan, 1965).

(10) L. T. Golding, An Elizabethan Puritan: Arthur Golding (New York: R. R. Smith, 1937), p. 54. It is difficult to accept M. W. McIntyre's claim in 'A Critical Study of Golding's Translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses' (unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, 1965), p. 277, that the sentiments of the Epistle and Preface are those of 'conventional apologies' which tell us much about contemporary methods of reading the Metamorphoses but almost nothing about Golding's real attitudes.

(11) A discourse upon the earthquake, printed in L. T. Golding, p. 187.

(12) A briefe discourse of [...] G. Saunders, printed in L. T. Golding, p. 178.

(13) Morall Fabletalke, a translation of Arnold Freitag's emblem book Mythologia Ethica (Antwerp, 1579), which comprises 125 Aesopic fables in prose, has been edited with a critical commentary by Nora Rooche Field ('Arthur Golding's A Morall Fabletalke: An Annotated Edition' (unpublished doctoral thesis, Columbia University, 1979)).

(14) The quotation illustrates another feature inherited from Golding, namely a predilection for synonym and clausal repetition, noted by Braden as a distinguishing feature of Golding's translation (pp. 5, 17, 27). See, for example, Epistle, l. 328: 'which falling out or end' and see also Shakespeare's 'Did scare away, or rather did affright' (V. i. 140).

(15) One may contrast the common humanist presentation of Ovid's resourcefulness not as tedious but as a treasure-house of copiae; see Terence Cave, The Cornucopian Text (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1979), p. 174.

(16) A Midsummer Night's Dream, III. i. 15, V. i. 108, V. i. 114, and elsewhere. See also Epistle, ll. 557, 561; Preface, l. 1.

(17) See also Epistle, ll. 64-66, 148-50, 324-25; I, 7-9, 265-67, 391-92, 737-40, and elsewhere.

(18) Braden's judgement that Golding's line breaks are 'mere clumsiness rather than purposeful sabotage' (p. 23) tallies with this suggestion.

(19) The Taming of the Shrew, ed. by Brian Morris (London: Methuen, 1981), Induction ii. 50-61.

(20) On Ovidian mock epic, for example, see Brooks Otis, Ovid as an Epic Poet, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), pp. 91-127, and J. Barsby, Ovid (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978), p. 31.

(21) For discussion of puritanism and Twelfth Night, see Donna B. Hamilton, Shakespeare and the Politics of Protestant England (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992), pp. 96-110; Paul N. Siegel, 'Malvolio: Comic Puritan Automaton', in Shakespearean Comedy, ed. by Maurice Charney (New York: New York Literary Forum, 1980), pp. 217-30.

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Author:Forey, Madeleine
Publication:The Modern Language Review
Date:Apr 1, 1998
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