Shakespeare and Wales

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Shakespeare and Wales

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Shakespeare and Wales From the Marches to the Assembly

Edited by Willy Maley and Philip Schwyzer

Shakespeare and Wales

This page has been left blank intentionally

Shakespeare and Wales From the Marches to the Assembly

Edited by Willy Maley and Philip Schwyzer University of Glasgow and University of Exeter, UK

© Willy Maley, Philip Schwyzer and the contributors 2010 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the publisher. Willy Maley and Philip Schwyzer have asserted their right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the editors of this work. Published by Ashgate Publishing Limited Ashgate Publishing Company Wey Court East Suite 420 Union Road 101 Cherry Street Farnham Burlington Surrey, GU9 7PT VT 05401-4405 England USA British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Shakespeare and Wales : from the Marches to the Assembly. 1. Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616–Characters–Welsh. 2. Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616–Knowledge–Wales. 3. Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616– Stage history–Wales. 4. Welsh in literature. 5. Wales–In literature. I. Maley, Willy. II. Schwyzer, Philip. 822.3’3–dc22 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Maley, Willy. Shakespeare and Wales : from the marches to the assembly / Willy Maley and Philip Schwyzer. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7546-6279-2 (hardback : alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-7546-9012-2 (ebook) 1. Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616—Characters—Welsh. 2. Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616—Knowledge—Wales. 3. Shakespeare, William, 1564–1616—Sources. 4. Wales—In literature. 5. Welsh in literature. I. Schwyzer, Philip. II. Title. PR2992.W4M36 2010 822.3’3—dc22 2009020465 ISBN 9780754662792 (hbk) ISBN 9780754690122 (ebk.II)

Contents List of Figures   Notes on Contributors  

vii ix

Introduction: A Welsh Correction   Willy Maley and Philip Schwyzer



Shakespeare’s Welsh Grandmother   Kate Chedgzoy



Thirteen Ways of Looking Like a Welshman: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries   Philip Schwyzer


Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower   David J. Baker

21 43

4 Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words   59 Megan Lloyd 5

‘bastard Normans, Norman bastards’: Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift   Christopher Ivic


Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’   Margaret Tudeau-Clayton


‘O, I am ignorance itself in this!’: Listening to Welsh in Shakespeare and Armin   Huw Griffiths


8 Contextualizing 1610: Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales   Marisa R. Cull



Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain   Lisa Hopkins

75 91


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10 11

‘Howso’er ’tis strange … Yet is it true’:The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline   Andrew King


‘Let a Welsh correction teach you a good English condition’: Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics   Willy Maley


12 Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots   Richard Wilson


Afterword: Translating Shakespeare   Katie Gramich


Bibliography   Index  

221 239

List of Figures Cover: Portrait of Philip Proger (1585–1644) of Gwerndu in Breconshire, equerry to James I and later groom of the Privy Chamber. This is the earliest-known portrait of a Welshman holding a leek. By permission of the National Museum of Wales. Fig. 2.1 Portrait of Henry VII by Unknown Artist (c. 1505), © National Portrait Gallery, London. 29 Fig. 5.1 Map of England and Wales, from John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain (1611–12), by permission of the Bodleian Library. 77 Fig. 5.2 Map of Wales, from John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain, by permission of the Bodleian Library. 78 Fig. 6.1 Venetian bride in a gondola by Giacomo Franco (1556–1620), by permission of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia. 104

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Notes on Contributors David J. Baker is Peter G. Phialas Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, and the Question of Britain (Stanford University Press, 1997) and On Demand: Writing for the Market in Early Modern England (Stanford University Press, 2010). He is co-editor, with Willy Maley, of British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2002). Kate Chedgzoy has published widely on Shakespeare, feminism and gender. Her research on early modern Welsh women’s writing is represented by her contributions to Stevenson and Davidson (eds.), Early Modern Women Poets (Oxford Univesrsity Press. 2001), her essay ‘The Civility of Early Modern Welsh Women’ in Richards (ed.), Early Modern Civil Discourses (Palgrave, 2003) and her book Women’s Writing in the British Atlantic World: Memory, Place and History, 1550–1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Marisa R. Cull is an assistant professor of English at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. She is currently working on a book-length study of representations of Wales and the Welsh – particularly as they relate to the princedom of Wales – on the early modern English stage. Katie Gramich is Senior Lecturer in English at Cardiff University. She is the author of Twentieth Century Women’s Writing in Wales: Land, Gender, Belonging (University of Wales Press, 2007), and co-editor of Dangerous Diversity: The Changing Faces of Wales (University of Wales Press, 1998). Huw Griffiths is Lecturer in English at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Hamlet: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism (Palgrave, 2004), and of articles including ‘“I have the placing of the British Crown”: the geographies of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline’ English Literary Renaissance, 34/3 (2004); and ‘Britain in Ruins: the Picts’ Wall and the Union of the two crowns’, Rethinking History, 7/1 (2003). Lisa Hopkins is Professor of English at Sheffield Hallam University. Her most recent publications include The Female Hero in English Renaissance Tragedy (Palgrave, 2002), Writing Renaissance Queens: Texts by and about Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots (University of Delaware Press, 2004), and The Cultural Uses of the Caesars on the English Renaissance Stage (Ashgate, 2008).

Shakespeare and Wales

Christopher Ivic is Senior Lecturer in English at Bath Spa University. His articles on cultural identities in early modern Britain and Ireland have appeared in Ariel, Genre and The Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies. With Grant Williams, he co-edited Forgetting in Early Modern English Literature and Culture: Lethe’s Legacies (Routledge, 2004). Andrew King is College Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance English in the English Department of University College Cork. He is the author of The Faerie Queene and Middle English Romance: The Matter of Just Memory (Oxford University Press, 2000), and ‘“Well Grounded, Finely Framed, and Strongly Trussed Up Together”: The ‘Medieval’ Structure of The Faerie Queene’, Review of English Studies, 52 (2001): 22–58. Megan S. Lloyd is Professor of English at King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Her scholarly interests include Shakespeare and the Welsh and Shakespeare in Performance. She helped found the North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History and was the first director of the Madog Center for Welsh Studies at the University of Rio Grande. She is the author of ‘Speak it in Welsh’: Wales and the Welsh Language in Shakespeare (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007). Willy Maley is Professor of Renaissance Studies at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of A Spenser Chronology (Macmillan, 1994), Salvaging Spenser: Colonialism, Culture and Identity (Macmillan, 1997) and Nation, State and Empire in English Renaissance Literature: Shakespeare to Milton (Palgrave, 2003), and editor, with Andrew Hadfield, of A View of the Present State of Ireland: From the First Published Edition (Blackwell, 1997). He has also edited four collections of essays: with Brendan Bradshaw and Andrew Hadfield, Representing Ireland: Literature and the Origins of Conflict, 1534–1660 (Cambridge University Press, 1993); with Bart Moore-Gilbert and Gareth Stanton, Postcolonial Criticism (Longman, 1997); with David J. Baker, British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2002); and with Andrew Murphy, Shakespeare and Scotland (Manchester University Press, 2004). Philip Schwyzer is Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Exeter. He is the author of Archaeologies of English Renaissance Literature (Oxford University Press, 2007) and Literature, Nationalism, and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge University Press, 2004), and editor, with Simon Mealor, of Archipelagic Identities: Literature and Identity in the Atlantic Archipelago, 1550–1800 (Ashgate, 2004). His articles have appeared in journals including Renaissance Quarterly and Representations.

Notes on Contributors


Margaret Tudeau-Clayton is Professor of English Literature and head of department at the University of Neuchàtel in Switzerland. She is author of Jonson, Shakespeare and Early Modern Virgil (Cambridge University Press, 1998) as well as many articles on English Renaissance literature, especially on translations and on Shakespeare. She has co-edited two collections of essays: with Martin Warner, Addressing Frank Kermode (Macmillan, 1991) and with Pippa Berry, Textures of Renaissance Knowledge (Manchester University Press, 2003). Her current project is on Shakespeare’s language: Shakespeare’s Englishes: Shakespeare and the Ideology of Linguistic Practices in Early Modern England. Richard Wilson is Professor in English Literature at Cardiff University. His books include Shakespeare in French Theory: King of Shadows (Routledge, 2007), Secret Shakespeare: Studies in Theatre, Religion and Resistance (Manchester University Press, 2004) and Will Power: Essays on Shakespearean Authority (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1993). He is currently completing Free Will: Essays on Shakespearean Autonomy.

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Introduction A Welsh Correction Willy Maley and Philip Schwyzer

Bod neu beidio â bod – dyna’r dewis. Ai dewrach dioddef yn feddyliol Saethau ac ergydion mympwyol Ffawd, na gwrthryfela’n erbyn llanw gofidiau a’u difa wrth eu herio??

So in Welsh runs Hamlet’s famous question, the one about a sea of troubles and outrageous fortune. Utterly if not tediously familiar in English, the lines take on an unexpected and extra-dramatic urgency in Gareth Miles’ recent translation. The Welsh nation and its language have, as historian Gwyn Williams points out, been confronted time and again with Hamlet’s dilemma: whether, and at what cost, to go on being. Staged in 2005, Michael Bogdanov’s production of Miles’ Welsh Hamlet was part of how Wales at the start of the twenty-first century made the choice ‘to be’. As Bogdanov observed, ‘there’s an energy coming out of Wales now that is quite extraordinary’. Of course, not all of that energy is friendly to Shakespeare – but whether the response to his works is one of adaptation or antipathy, Shakespeare seems curiously connected to the question of what it is to be Welsh. On the one hand, there is probably no better way to attest to the vibrancy of a living language than to translate Shakespeare’s works into it. On the other, what better way to fling defiance in the teeth of English culture and national ideology than to reject the great cultural mascot, Shakespeare? If Shakespeare remains, even today, a small part of the Welsh question, Wales is and has always been a big part of the Shakespeare question. Wales was not only the closest foreign country to Shakespeare’s Warwickshire birthplace but,   William Shakespeare, Hamlet, trans. Gareth Miles (Cardiff, 2004), 3.1.111–15.   Gwyn A. Williams, When was Wales? (Harmondsworth, 1985), p. 304.    Although Hamlet is not a play obviously associated with Wales (it has, by contrast,  

long had a contested Scottish context), Andrew Breeze has pointed to one or two possible echoes of Welsh traditions. See Andrew Breeze, ‘Welsh Poetry and the Crowing of the Cock in Hamlet’, Notes and Queries, 34 (1987): 212–13; ‘Welsh Tradition of the Baker’s Daughter in Hamlet’, Notes and Queries, 49 (2002): 199–200.    Quoted in Alice Jones, ‘Theatre: To be or not to be. Welsh’, The Independent, 2 November 2005.

Shakespeare and Wales

arguably, always the closest to his imagination. Although there is no evidence that Shakespeare ever visited Wales, the plays attest to a lifelong awareness of and engagement with the Principality. Welsh characters or locales appear in Richard III, Richard II, 1 and 2 Henry IV, Henry V, Merry Wives of Windsor, Cymbeline and Henry VIII; King Lear, set in the ancient Britain of Welsh lore, can justly be added to this list. Setting aside the very earliest histories, Shakespeare never set a play in England without incorporating a significant Welsh element. There is a certain tragedy set in Scotland, but even here there is evidence of a Welsh connection, if not a Welsh correction. Welsh characters and locales feature even more frequently in the plays than does contemporary Italy. If that fact seems remarkable, it arguably says more about the attitudes and assumptions of Shakespeare critics than it does about Shakespeare in the context of his time and nation. Given such evidence of Shakespeare’s abiding concern with the country over the Wye, it is little wonder that we have for some centuries habitually honoured him with a Welsh title, that of Bard of Avon. (The phrase is in fact Welsh twice over, bardd yr afon, literally the poet of the river.) To do justice to its greatest and most typical author, English has had to borrow from Welsh. In a curious way, to speak of Shakespeare as the Bard of Avon is to posit him as the English equivalent of a Welsh original (Dafydd ap Gwilym? Taliesin?). The epithet with which we have gifted (or saddled) him sums up England’s vexed and paradoxical relationship with a Wales that may be dominated and despised, but remains both other and anterior. When Prince Charles claimed in a Shakespeare Birthday Lecture in 1991 that Shakespeare’s ‘roots are ours, his language is ours, his culture ours’, did he speak in the capacity of heir to the throne of England, or as Prince of Wales? The patriotic stage Welshmen of English comedy, from Fluellen onwards, make a habit of seeking out Welsh connections for heroes of every nationality. (‘Was not Stianax [Astyanax] a Monmouth man?’ asks Captain Jenkins in Northward Ho.) In seeking to shed light on Shakespeare’s Welsh contexts and connections, we perhaps risk being accused of a similar absurdity. In fact, however, this volume is designed to redress what we see as a marked imbalance in recent criticism.

  See Paula Ma. Rodríguez Gómez, ‘Macbeth as a Portrait of “Câd Goddeu”: Encounters with the Celtic World’, SEDERI: Revista de la Sociedad Española de Estudios Renacentistas Ingleses, 12 (2001): 313–21; Hilary Lloyd Yewlett, ‘Macbeth and its Celtic Connections’, Elizabethan Review (Spring 2001), yewlett.htm, accessed 07/04/06.    Quoted in Alan Sinfield, ‘Heritage and the Market, Regulation and Desublimation’, in Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield (eds.), Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism, second edn (Manchester, 1994), p. 262.    Thomas Dekker and John Webster, Northward Ho! in The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, ed. Fredson Bowers (Cambridge, 1964), vol. 2, 4.1.38–9.    See Richard Levin, ‘On Fluellen’s Figures, Christ Figures, and James Figures’, PMLA, 89 (1974): 302–11, and Willy Maley’s response in this volume.

Introduction: A Welsh Correction

The prominence of Wales in the plays is in stark contrast to the relatively muted response of critics to the Welsh dimension. In recent years, a large body of criticism raising crucial questions of national, colonial and even postcolonial identities has enhanced our understanding of English Renaissance literature – not least of all its ‘Englishness’ – and early modern culture more widely. This expanding area of enquiry has impacted in decisive ways on Shakespeare studies. A significant strand of this new scholarship is concerned with the ways in which the drama of England’s greatest playwright is marked by constant and conflicting interaction with England’s neighbour nations – Scotland, Wales, Ireland – and by the enlarged context of British state formation which embraces the latter part of Shakespeare’s corpus. A long tradition of assuming Shakespeare’s national identity without interrogating it, accepting an unexamined Englishness that is often anachronistic, has been superseded by a tendency to think in terms of a ‘British Problem’ that was in tension with a cultural and literary notion of national identity. There have been important collections of essays on Shakespeare and Ireland and Shakespeare and Scotland, but to date no single volume exists that offers a range of critical perspectives on Shakespeare and Wales. Although Ireland and Scotland feature less prominently than Wales in the plays, reasons for their greater prominence in recent criticism are not far to seek. From Shakespeare’s lifetime down to the present, these two nations have almost always been more apt than Wales to trouble the counsels of the English. Shakespeare wrote in the context of recurrent Irish wars, particularly the Nine Years’ War of 1594–1603, and witnessed the unprecedented accession of a Scottish king to the English throne. The impact of these contemporary events on the plays is undeniable (as in the reference to Essex’s Irish campaign in Henry V, or the king-pleasing vision of the Stuart dynasty in Macbeth). In our own day, debates in Scotland and Northern Ireland over their future place in or out of the United Kingdom have captured the international imagination in ways that parallel debates in Wales have not. Arguably, by focusing on Scotland and Ireland critics have found a way of clinging to the old-fashioned conviction that Shakespeare deals with eternal questions and universal themes. (What question could seem more eternal at this point than the ‘Irish question’?) Even among practitioners of British Studies, the relevance of early modern Wales to larger questions of archipelagic unity and identity has not always been clear. Yet, in tandem if not in dialogue with developments in Shakespeare studies, Welsh historians have been radically rethinking the relationship between Wales and the other constituent parts of the nascent British state. ‘Colonial Wales’, the influential essay by R.R. Davies published in Past & Present in 1974 set in motion a dramatic shift in historiography of the period that imbues Anglo-Welsh relations    Mark Thornton Burnett and Ramona Wray (eds.), Shakespeare and Ireland: History, Politics, Culture (Basingstoke, 1997); Willy Maley and Andrew Murphy (eds.), Shakespeare and Scotland (Manchester, 2004).

Shakespeare and Wales

with some of the political urgency hitherto reserved for discussions of Anglo-Irish history. G. Dyfnallt Owen’s indispensable Elizabethan Wales (1986) appeared twenty years after David Beers Quinn’s influential Elizabethan Ireland. This fresh focus on the colonial nature of the Anglo-Welsh relationship is part of a larger historical picture that sees British state formation in the early modern period as a central dynamic in Renaissance literature. Shakespeare’s work is at the heart and hinge of this vital historical and literary conjuncture. In the drama of the period, and in Shakespeare’s histories in particular, Welsh characters greatly outnumber representatives of England’s other neighbour nations. The Welsh were more intimately familiar to the English than were the Scots or Irish – or any other people for that matter – and thus perhaps more apt to trouble emergent conceptions of Englishness. As Christopher Ivic argues in this volume, in an essay centring on Speed’s atlas and Shakespeare’s Henry V, the boundaries between the English and the Welsh were unstable both cartographically and on the level of identity. Philip Schwyzer’s essay draws attention to the ingenuity with which many of Shakespeare’s English contemporaries laid claim to Welshness in one form or another. Such manoeuvres were facilitated by the apparent double identity of the Welsh as both fellow nationals and foreigners or, in the period phrase, ‘countrymen and neighbours’.10 For David Baker, the doubleness of Wales is centred on the figure of Owen Glendower, who disrupts the grand historical theme of the Henriad with intimations of a doubled and contrapuntal history. In spite – and, indeed, because – of their problematic relation to Englishness, the Welsh contributed crucially to the dynastic ideology of the Tudors and Stuarts, who claimed descent from ancient British emperors. Before 1603, the term ‘Britons’ applied almost exclusively to the Welsh (and Bretons), being the acknowledged descendants of Britain’s most ancient inhabitants. It was thus no easy matter in the early Stuart era to disentangle emerging conceptions of a united Britain from long-established ideas about Wales and the shape of British history, a point demonstrated by Lisa Hopkins and Andrew King in relation to Cymbeline. Whereas King sees this late play retreating from any immediately intelligible alignment with contemporary politics, Hopkins’ Shakespeare invokes Wales as ‘a standing rebuke to James’s fantasy of a united Britain’. Marisa Cull finds the Wales of Cymbeline and Robert Armin’s The Valiant Welshman associated with a tradition of British militarism which takes on topical resonance in relation to the person of Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales. The comic dialect Shakespeare invented for Fluellen and Parson Evans would be parroted by dozens of subsequent ‘stage Welshmen’, but none of Shakespeare’s own Welsh characters, from the Welsh Captain in Richard II onward, can be reduced to a mere ethnic stereotype. In essays comparing Shakespeare’s representation of Welsh-accented speech with later works by Thomas Dekker and Robert Armin, Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Huw Griffiths demonstrate that the linguistic 10   The ambiguous catchphrase is employed by both Richard Harvey (discussed by Schwyzer in this volume) and John Thornborough (discussed by Ivic in this volume).

Introduction: A Welsh Correction

misadventures of a ‘stage Welshman’ have more cultural resonance than we might guess. Megan Lloyd reminds us that Elizabethan audiences were familiar with hearing not only Welsh accents on the stage, but the Welsh language itself. There were Welsh-speaking actors in several of the major theatrical companies, and it seems to have been expected that audiences would understand at least a few words of Welsh. Far more than Scots Gaelic (though not more than Scots), and at least as much as Irish Gaelic, the language provides the focus for Welsh conceptions of national identity then and now, as witness the recent Welsh language productions of Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Kate Chedgzoy draws on writings in the Welsh language by early modern women to explore the identity and political agency of real-life correlatives of Shakespeare’s ‘Welsh grandmother’. Was Shakespeare ‘Welsh’ in any sense of the word? How much did he know about Wales, its history and its language? Was his attitude to the Welsh nation one of admiration, contempt, or indifference? These questions, which preoccupied early twentieth-century critics such as Frederick Harries and Arthur Hughes, will find no final answer in this volume. Whatever Shakespeare’s family background or private sense of identity, the plays present no fixed perspective on Wales. Indeed, their pronounced tendency is to associate Wales not with fixity but with images of liquidity and flow. Shakespeare may not have been fluent in Welsh, but Welshness in the plays is characteristically fluent. In 1 Henry IV, Welsh is embodied in tears, ‘that pretty Welsh’ (3.1.195) flowing from Lady Mortimer’s eyes.11 In Henry V, Welsh identity runs deeper than blood, as Fluellen assures his king that ‘All the water in the Wye cannot wash your majesty’s Welsh plood out of your pody’ (4.7.106). The images are on one level contradictory – the first suggestive of evanescence and loss, the latter of endurance and survival – yet both insist on a state of being too fluid, too current to be dammed or pinned down. Welshness winds through the plays like a stream of uncertain course but of significant political and dramatic force, and in this sense Shakespeare is indeed y bardd yr afon, poet of the river.

11   Henry V in The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et. al. (New York, 1997). On the punning association of ‘Welsh’ with ‘wash’, see Charles Clay Doyle, ‘A Pun in 1 Henry IV’, ANQ 12/2 (1999): 14–16.

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Chapter 1

Shakespeare’s Welsh Grandmother Kate Chedgzoy

Introducing Shakespeare and the Welsh (1919) – until very recently, the only book-length exploration of its subject – Frederick J. Harries remarked upon the distinctively perceptive and sympathetic quality of Shakespeare’s engagement with Wales and the Welsh, and proposed a contextual and biographical explanation of this sympathy: In Stratford-on-Avon there existed, in his time, a veritable Welsh colony, and there is reason to think that he may have been on terms of the closest intimacy with more than one of its members …. But not only was Shakespeare familiar with Welsh society; it seems reasonably proved that he had Welsh blood in his veins, and it may have been from the lips of a Welsh grandmother that he obtained his first knowledge of Welsh tradition and folklore, which, as we shall hope to show, exerted no small influence upon his dramatic and lyrical genius. 

Located some seventy miles from Welsh border towns such as Knighton and on some of the drovers’ routes used to move livestock from Welsh farms to London markets, Stratford was indeed one of a number of regional magnets in the Midlands for Welsh migration, and marriages between Welsh women and English men were by no means uncommon in sixteenth-century Warwickshire. Familiarity with Welsh people is not necessarily predictive of a particular attitude towards them, however, and more salient is Harries’ figuration of a maternal and corporeal predisposition influencing Shakespeare’s feelings about the Welsh.   Parts of this chapter draw on material previously published in different form in Kate Chedgzoy, ‘The Civility of Early Modern Welsh Women’, in Jennifer Richards (ed.), Early Modern Civil Discourses (Basingstoke, 2003), pp. 162–82 and Women’s Writing in the British Atlantic World, 1550–1700: Memory, Place and History (Cambridge, 2007).   The recent monograph on the subject is Megan Lloyd, Speak It in Welsh: Wales and the Welsh Language in Shakespeare (Lanham, MD, 2007).    Frederick J. Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh (London, 1919), p. 5. Harries was also the author of The Welsh Elizabethans (Pontypridd, 1924), a work described as ‘by no means uninteresting or unsuggestive to one who can discount its extreme nationalism and the liberal interpretation of what constitutes a Welshman’ in H.J.C. Grierson and Arthur Melville Clark, ‘The Elizabethan Period: Poetry and Prose’, The Year’s Work in English Studies, 5 (1924): 149–86 (179), and of Shakespeare and the Scots (Edinburgh, 1932).

Shakespeare and Wales

Framing Shakespeare’s relationships to Wales and Welshness and the dramatic representations that stemmed from them in terms of the intimacies of everyday small-town life and familial heritage, Harries argued that Shakespeare owed his genius to the ‘Celtic strain in [his] blood’ derived from his paternal grandmother, a Welsh woman called Alys Griffin (p. 74). This association of Wales with a mystical Celtic femininity that provides organic continuity with the cultural traditions of the past is undoubtedly at one level a response to Shakespeare’s dramatic representations of Welsh locations and people in similar terms, most strikingly in 1 Henry IV and Cymbeline. And like those representations, it contributes to a larger discourse – originating in the modern period, reinvigorated in the Romantic era, and with continuing resonance today – that locates Welshness as a romanticized phenomenon of a pre-rational, pre-modern past, in contradistinction to an Englishness that represents modernity. Frederick Harries mused further on the implications for Shakespeare’s work of the playwright’s feminine Celtic heritage in a chapter on ‘The Welsh Ancestry of Shakespeare’. He cites the genealogical researches of one Pym Yeatman, which demonstrate that the playwright was linked to the Griffin or Gryffyn family, who were ‘descendants of the old Welsh Kings’ (p. 70). Shakespeare’s paternal grandmother, née Alys Griffin, is the link to this historic Welsh family, and Yeatman asserted that she was probably also ‘akin to the great Lord Bacon’ (p. 72). Fortunately, this assertion does not lead to any claim for the Baconian authorship of the plays; yet something of the same impulse that informs Baconian fantasies is clearly at work here, shaping this fiction that endows Shakespeare with an idealized childhood that befits his genius better than the more prosaic realities narrated in modern biographies. Alys Shakespeare’s romantically aristocratic Welsh background, complete with deeply-buried royal roots and innately creative tendencies towards story-telling, serves to explain the otherwise perplexing talent of the gifted grandson who sprang up so unexpectedly in a boringly provincial and petty-bourgeois milieu in the unromantic English Midlands: The Celtic strain in Shakespeare’s blood may be held to account for the sporadic appearance of genius in an unremarkable middle-class family. … How far Alys Shakespeare was a Welshwoman in her mental habit we cannot know; but we do know that tradition dies hard with the Welsh, and would be more particularly likely to survive in a family proud of its Welsh lineage. Are we justified in picturing the boy Shakespeare as absorbing the folk and fairy lore of the Welsh at the knee of his Welsh grandmother? … [W]e can never know. But we do know that he was to some extent familiar with the fairy lore of the Welsh,   Jean Howard and Phyllis Rackin, Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare’s History Plays (London, 1997), pp. 167–74. All references to Shakespeare plays are to The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. (New York, 1997).    See for instance Katie Trumpener, Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (Princeton, 1997). 

Shakespeare’s Welsh Grandmother

and interested in Celtic legend; indeed, there are not wanting in the plays little loving touches, as of one referring to cherished memories, which might lead us to believe that his knowledge was acquired in childhood, and that the glamour of childhood lay upon his recollections of Welsh lore and legend. The evidence is almost too tenuous to pursue, yet on reading the plays with the knowledge of the poet’s Welsh descent we do actually seem to catch glimpses here and there of Alys Shakespeare telling her little grandson the tales that she herself had heard perhaps from an old Welsh nurse, or perhaps from her own Welsh grandmother (pp. 73–4).

Little is known about Alys Shakespeare, and the playwright’s biographers have generally paid her scant attention. Harries takes advantage of this lack of specific biographical detail to fantasize about this woman as a site of cultural difference, important because she offered the boy Shakespeare a point of access to a magical, folkloric Welsh world of deeply rooted cultural traditions and imaginative possibilities in excess of everyday English reality. This fantasy still has Shakespearean currency in the context of the re-imagining of Wales under the rubric of heritage tourism, as the oral tradition gives warrant of a sort to the claim that the playwright may himself have visited Wales and been inspired by its inherently magical landscape: Shakespeare is said to have visited the picturesque Clydach Gorge, near Abergavenny. … Here, in a part of the gorge called the Fairy Glen, he is supposed to have written A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which he intended for the celebrations at the wedding of a friend. There is a cave in the gorge still called ‘Shakespeare’s Cave’, where he sat, so the story goes, to write his fantasy of fairies, star-crossed lovers and ‘rude mechanicals’.

‘So the story goes’: this exercise in tourism promotion acknowledges the limits and over-determinations of the fantasy of Shakespeare’s contact with Wales that it perpetuates. Associated with the domestic space shared by children and women as servants and elderly relatives, the tales of the Welsh past with which Harries imagines Alys firing the future playwright’s imagination constitute an exotic and romantic alternative to the daily life of a merchant family in Tudor Stratford. The story Harries tells of Shakespeare’s childhood entwines maternal nurture, storytelling and access to a world very different from the one in which the playwright grew up, making the presence in his childhood memories of this Welsh woman otherwise unknown to history into the source of those very elements of popular culture which Catherine Belsey has recently suggested help to explain the unique and enduring    ‘Powys Literary Links – William Shakespeare’, information provided by Powys County Archives, shtml, accessed 11 June 2007.

Shakespeare and Wales


appeal of his plays. An emphasis on the maternal as the point of origin of oral traditions, such as we find in this imagining of Shakespeare’s access through the maternal line to the wellsprings of Celtic creativity, echoes the Romantic perception of folk arts and oral traditions as forms which ‘mark a continuity with a longed-for lost, other world of organic and emotional unity’. Such a concern is often linked to post-Romantic forms of nationalism: the interest in popular oral cultures expresses a yearning to ‘reach back to the lost period of natural spontaneous literary utterance as well as to the deep and natural springs of national identity’ (p. 34). Closely connected with this preoccupation with oral traditions as articulating the natural, spontaneous, and collective overflow of an authentic local or national culture is a concern for its continuity as a living tradition, perpetuated through the generations, that assures a connection with the past (p. 37). Alys Shakespeare becomes the feminine embodiment of this distinctive cultural relation to a vanishing world of folk belief and practice. Scholars including Catherine Belsey and Mary Ellen Lamb have recently shown how women’s roles within oral traditions that existed alongside literate cultures, as performers of verse and song, tellers of tales, and conduits of popular memory and traditional cultural forms, had a pervasive influence on the elite male literary culture of the Renaissance. Nearly a century ago, Harries made virtually the same case in dramatizing the imagined influence of Alys Griffin on her little grandson: the fact that he emphasized the transmission of Welsh culture, in his commentary on his own fantasia, does not prevent it illuminating the work of gender in mediating between diverse cultural forms and practices. Rather, it both reveals the intersection of gender and cultural difference in shaping the diverse identities of the peoples inhabiting the early modern British Isles, and points to the coexistence in that place and at that time of multiple, distinctive cultural traditions. Shakespeare’s Welsh grandmother as portrayed in Harries’ fantasia thus embodies some of the central critical concerns of postcolonial and national-identity related readings of Shakespeare – namely, the nature of the complex relationships between language, gender, storytelling, writing and cultural identity in a changing world.10 She stands as a representative of a world that is being imperiled by cultural change, but which is characterized by an inherently magical, creative quality, and a profound sense of relation to its own past enshrined in practices of oral culture and memory lacking from the drearier urbanizing modernity superseding it.

 Catherine Belsey, Why Shakespeare? (Basingstoke, 2007).  Ruth Finnegan, Oral Poetry: Its Nature, Significance and Social Context 2nd edn (Bloomington, 1992), p. 34.   Belsey, Why Shakespeare?; Mary Ellen Lamb, The Popular Culture of Shakespeare, Spenser and Jonson. (London, 2006). 10   See, for example, Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin (eds.), Post-colonial Shakespeares (London, 1998), a volume which offers a concise rehearsal and mapping of many of these concerns in relation to each other.  

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This essay juxtaposes Frederick J. Harries’ fantasia on Shakespeare’s Welsh grandmother with brief introductions to some texts and documents which might have offered the playwright some insights into the ways his Welsh female forebears and contemporaries made sense of their cultural location, at a time when Wales was finding itself increasingly in dialogue with the English world Shakespeare inhabited. This dialogue would take on theatrical form in Shakespeare’s unique stage depiction of a Welsh woman, in 1 Henry IV. Our reading of a play centrally concerned with mapping the changing relations among the constituent parts of Britain can thus be complicated and enhanced by asking how attending to the words of actual early modern Welsh women might enable us to understand the unscripted Welsh speech attributed to the daughter of Owen Glendower as she appears in that play. More than that, such attention offers a fresh context in which to make sense of Shakespeare’s engagement with the immense processes of cultural and political change reshaping the relations among the constituent parts of early modern Britain. Attending to the lives and writings of Welsh women in the early modern period reveals their participation in a world of cultural production that has been widely thought to exclude them, and offers new insights into the changing intersections of gender and nation that shaped their lives and the texts that represented them. As the texts I discuss in this essay make plain, Shakespeare’s female contemporaries, their foremothers and descendants were not the denizens of a distant, enchanted past, but both helped to sustain Welsh cultural traditions in the face of their erosion by English colonial expansion, and engaged critically and perceptively with the implications of that expansion. The cultural production and participation of women in late mediaeval and early modern Wales was in fact more extensive than has generally been recognized by Renaissance scholars, other than specialists in Welsh literature and culture. Along with work by scholars including Cathryn Charnell-White, Ceridwen Lloyd-Morgan and Nia Powell, my research into writing by women in Wales in the period from the mid-sixteenth century to the late eighteenth-century has identified hundreds of extant items in both English and Welsh, including poetry, devotional prose, travel journals, spiritual autobiography and letters.11 In addition to written works, Welsh women in this period participated in a thriving culture of oral poetic production. Much of the surviving work postdates Shakespeare’s lifetime, but there is some material of which he or his Welsh grandmother could in principle have been aware. If Harries was right to speculate that Alys Griffin ‘was a Welshwoman in her mental habit’, learning of Welsh culture at the knee of her grandmother or nurse, she might for example have known about such women poets as Gwerful Mechain (fl. 1462 – c.1503), whose contribution to a sophisticated oral poetic culture in which at least some women could participate alongside men was considerable, at a time when very few surviving works can be attributed to women composing or 11   For an introduction to early modern Welsh women’s writing and detailed references to scholarship on it by Welsh specialists, see chapters 2 and 3 of Chedgzoy, Women’s Writing in the British Atlantic World, 1550–1700.

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writing verse in English.12 Welsh poetic production of the Middle Ages and the first part of the early modern period was dominated by the exclusively male bardic system, and in Wales as in Ireland and Scotland, where similar traditions existed, it has been widely assumed that this was a barrier to women’s participation in poetic expression. While it is true that the formal system excluded women, it was by no means the only way in which either men or women could compose and perform verse. Moreoever, several of the women of early modern Wales whose poetry has been recorded were the daughters or wives of bards, and it seems likely that this proximity to a strong and self-confident poetic culture was enabling for them, even if they were excluded from formal participation in it. Poems and songs attributed to a number of Welsh women survive from the sixteenth century; in the effective absence of a Welsh aristocracy, such verse is almost entirely written by women of the gentry and middling sort, coming from backgrounds not dissimilar to Shakespeare’s family. The small but varied corpus of extant Welsh-language verse by women emerged from a culture where sung performance, rather than MS circulation, let alone printing, was an important way of publishing verse: the examples of the daughters of Gruffydd ab Ieuan, and especially Gwerful Mechain, whose works circulated orally long before they were written down, holds open the possibility that when Shakespeare staged Glendower’s daughter singing ‘a Welsh song’ (1 Henry IV 3.1.240), the English Renaissance stage was haunted for a moment by a Welshwoman’s ability to compose and perform her own works before an audience. Composed both in popular forms and in the strict metres associated with the bardic tradition, early modern Welsh women’s poems engage with subject matter ranging from romance to religion, and reveal women taking part in cultural exchanges with male poets and mixed audiences. In a social context where the oral tradition of verse-making remained strong, these women were making up poems which they thought of primarily as material for oral or musical performance, and which may well have been written down by others, who in no way conceived of themselves as having authorial status, and therefore remain anonymous. Margaret Ferguson has compellingly problematized the relation between the concept of ‘the woman writer’ and practices of literacy in early modern Britain, emphasizing the extent to which women’s relation to the production and consumption of texts was mediated by male agents of literacy – a process which is obliquely invoked and commented on in Frederick Harries’ story of Shakespeare’s Welsh grandmother.13 The case of Wales at once substantiates and nuances her claim. In the Welsh bardic tradition – as in the parallel but distinctive Gaelic systems – oral composition 12

 Nia Powell, ‘Women and Strict-Metre Poetry in Wales’, in Michael Roberts and Simone Clarke (eds.), Women and Gender in Early Modern Wales (Cardiff, 2000), pp. 129–58 (p. 132). 13   Margaret Ferguson, ‘Renaissance Concepts of the “Woman Writer”’, in Helen Wilcox (ed.), Women and Literature in Britain 1500–1700 (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 143–68 (p. 150).

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by the poet with the involvement of a mediator to produce a subsequent written text was the norm. Within such poetic cultures, the almost complete absence of authorial MSS and the repeated copying of poems for circulation in scribal MSS are factors which complicate arguments about the significance of authorship for both men and women. The consequence is that identifying women writers in early modern Wales and attributing poems to them is often a difficult and problematic task. In the mid sixteenth century, for instance, a number of poems – often secular and witty in character, and including verses that stage dialogues with male interlocutors – are associated with Alis, Catrin and Gwen, the daughters of Gruffydd ab Ieuan ap Llywelyn Fychan, a nobleman and poet from Llewenni Fechan near St Asaph, in north-east Wales. There is some doubt about the identification – the existence, even – of these three sisters, but Welsh scholar Nia Powell, who has studied them most extensively, both asserts their identity as sisters and poets, and contextualizes their emergence into authorship as members of ‘a family of gentleman-poets and patrons of poetry’.14 Their father was one of the five men commissioned to convene the influential first eisteddfod at Caerwys in 1523 that set down the rules of strictmetre poetry and the organization of the bardic hierarchy as a professional guild.15 Ceri W. Lewis argues that the purpose of this and the subsequent 1567 Caerwys eisteddfod was ‘to protect the professional poet, whose status in society was being seriously undermined by the infiltration of inferior and manifestly less skilled practitioners’.16 While the very small number of women apparently composing in this period could clearly not have posed an actual threat to the professional bards, their emergence as poets can be seen in a context of the erosion of the boundaries of the profession and a wider participation in the making of what had previously been elite and exclusive cultural forms. Although these aspects of bardic culture have been seen as a form of resistance to humanist agendas, Gruffydd ab Ieuan’s position was more complex: for his commitment to the copying of Welsh MSS, and to a wider scholarship evidenced by his accumulation of a fine private library, praised by Welsh humanist scholars William Salesbury (best known for the first Welsh translation of the Bible) and Richard Davies, and by his friendship with another gentleman poet whose attitude to the bardic tradition was broadly progressive, Siôn Tudur of Wigfair, also connects him to that European cultural world which was beginning to foster certain kinds of educational and literary opportunities for the daughters of the elite.17 He thus bears a certain resemblance to Shakespeare’s Owen Glendower in 1 Henry IV, a ‘worthy gentleman’ who by his own account occupies a similarly culturally liminal position, combining the accomplishments of the European courtier with the Welsh 14

 Powell, ‘Women and Strict-Metre Poetry in Wales’, p. 135.  Ceri W. Lewis, ‘The Decline of Professional Poetry’, in A Guide to Welsh Literature c. 1530–1700, ed. R. Geraint Gruffydd (Cardiff, 1997), pp. 29–74. 16  Ibid., p. 67. 17  Powell, ‘Women and Strict-Metre Poetry in Wales’, p. 135. 15


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bardic tradition of improvising politically motivated song to the accompaniment of the harp in a way socially acceptable at the English court: For I was trained up in the English court, Where, being but young, I framed to the harp Many an English ditty lovely well, And gave the tongue a helpful ornament. (3.1.119–22)

As Hugh Griffiths notes in this volume, ‘Glendower sees being able to move between the two languages as a mark of civility’ (p. 123).18 Adherence to and competence in the traditional forms of Welsh culture need not, then, imply resistance to either modernity or cosmopolitanism, as in the case of the daughters of Gruffydd ab Ieuan, whose commitment both to traditional Welsh poetic practices and to the new agendas of European literary humanism provided the domestic context in which they turned to poetry. In contrast, as Megan Lloyd argues in her essay in this collection on the staging of Welsh female vocalization, Glendower’s daughter’s insistence on singing only in Welsh demonstrates that she shares her father’s skill at this particular cultural practice, but puts her competence as a singer to work to refuse the extension of English hegemony. The qualities of imagination, creativity, magic and intimacy with the past attributed by Frederick Harries to Alys Griffin, and thereby credited with inspiring the young Shakespeare, are often stereotypically ascribed to the Welsh by early modern English writers, including such Welsh stage characters as Shakespeare’s Owen Glendower and his daughter. We meet the daughter of the Welsh rebel leader in the context of her touchingly presented yet politically and personally problematic union with Lord Edmund Mortimer, depicted by Shakespeare as the strongest legitimate claimant to the throne held by Henry IV, Henry Bolingbroke. Lady Mortimer is the only Welshwoman we actually see on stage in a play about the tension between international aspirations and the consequences of ‘civil butchery’ (1.1.13) that begins by evoking the barbaric, unspeakably sexual violence inflicted by a horde of savage Welshwomen on the corpses of English soldiers (1.1.42–6). Terence Hawkes has aligned Glendower’s daughter with these other, equally anonymous and violently disruptive Welsh women, describing her as a ‘disturbing figure who, Circe-like, seems easily able to subvert Mortimer’s English manhood’ (p. 123). But I have argued elsewhere that she should rather be seen as redeeming them by contrast, through the civilized, courtly version of Welsh culture demonstrated in her interactions with her husband.19 Indeed, the specifically theatrical pleasures of music, comedy and romance offered in 3.1, to which this Welsh woman makes an important contribution, are likely to convey a

18   See also my discussion of this moment in Chedgzoy, ‘The Civility of Early Modern Welsh Women’, p. 173. 19  Chedgzoy, ‘The Civility of Early Modern Welsh Women’, p. 170–1

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positive rather than negative impression of Glendower’s court and thus of Welsh culture to an audience. In Shakespeare’s staging of Glendower’s daughter (in the play known only by her relationships to her father and her husband, but historically called Catrin), the complex traditions that are evidenced by the poetry of Gwerful Mechain and Alis and Catrin, daughters of Gruffydd ab Ieuan, and which might have been familiar to and practised by a woman like Alys Griffin, are reduced to a series of stage directions which merely note that ‘the lady’ speaks and sings in Welsh. How might her utterances have signified on the Renaissance stage, and how would they have been received and understood by Shakespeare’s audience? As the essays by Huw Griffiths and Megan Lloyd in this volume points out, Shakespeare’s audiences would have been exposed not only to Welsh accents, but to the Welsh language itself, on stage and on the streets of London. There were Welsh-speaking actors in several of the major theatrical companies, and there may have been some expectation that audiences would recognize, and perhaps even understand, at least a few words of Welsh. Fragments of Welsh are uttered by both male and female characters in other plays of the period, such as Dekker, Haughton and Chettle, The Pleasant Comodie of Patient Grissill (1599–1603) and Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1613), and are carefully scripted in both cases. The words and song of Glendower’s daughter might, then, have been intelligible to at least some of the audience, yet Shakespeare does not notate them: presumably he left it to a Welsh-speaking boy actor to improvise dialogue and to sing an appropriate song. Indeed, the frustration voiced by Mortimer at his limited ability to communicate with his wife – ‘This is the deadly spite that angers me: / My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh’ (3.1.188–9) – situates the audience in the position of the uncomprehending Englishman, and guides its collective reaction towards sympathizing with his difficulties with difference. The Welsh vocalizations of Glendower’s daughter are not meaningless, within this dramatic context, but their meaning lies in the aesthetic and affective impact of performance – stage presence, movement, the sound of the voice – rather than in the significance of the Welsh words uttered. Vividly and pleasurably present within the mise-en-scène, yet elusive and unintelligible to the English onlookers and aspirant interlocutors, the Welsh woman here is a tantalizingly romantic and inaccessible presence. Glendower’s daughter, then, is a staged embodiment of a fantasy of Wales as representing a deep cultural continuity which connects England to a mythic past. I have traced this fantasy’s presence in twentieth-century sources as diverse as Welsh tourism promotion materials and Frederick Harries’ imagining of Shakespeare’s Welsh grandmother, but it was already in circulation in Shakespeare’s own time. As it figures in early modern literature – Shakespeare’s Cymbeline being perhaps the most obviously pertinent instance – this fantasy contributes to the Tudor mythicization of Wales as a link with an ancient Britain that could authorize the newly reimagined Britain shaped over the course of the early modern period. How, though, did the Welsh – in particular Welsh women – understand themselves and their place in this changing culture? What were the realities of Welsh women’s


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cultural production, as compared to the cultural fantasies in which Harries and others have indulged, and how can investigating them enhance our understanding of Shakespearean representations of Welshness as a gendered phenomenon on the Renaissance stage? The changing nature of the political relationship between England and Wales is, most unusually, directly addressed in one of the relatively few documents authored by a Welsh woman to survive from Shakespeare’s own lifetime. In February 1603/04, Ann Wen Brynkir of Clennenau in Caernarvonshire wrote a letter to her brother Sir William Maurice MP, a fervent supporter of the Jacobean union project who had gone up to London to attend the first parliamentary session of James’s reign. Though it has no overt Shakespearean relevance, this text is particularly suggestive in the context of the present volume for several reasons. First, it makes audible a voice from the geographical, cultural and linguistic margins of early modern Britain within the frame of a political and historiographic debate which is precisely about the incorporation of those margins. As a rare early modern incursion by a non-royal, non-English woman onto the terrain of political history, it both marks and ruptures the limits of the conceptualization of ‘historiography … as the memory of the state’ that has tended to dominate much discussion among both historical and literary scholars of the changing relations among the constituent parts of the early modern Atlantic archipelago.20 Ann’s letter thus takes up exactly those concerns with renegotiating the meanings of place and national identity that are at stake in Shakespeare’s representations of Wales in both 1 Henry IV and Cymbeline. Secondly, the material form as a document of Ann’s letter exemplifies the mobility across the public and private realms, the pairing of distinct but overlapping discourses of household and nation – conjoined under the conceptual rubric of the domestic – which provided a vital frame for the experience of the everyday forms of state formation that were reshaping the lives of men and women in early modern Wales. In the early modern period, the notion of the domestic, Susan Wiseman has pointed out, was located at ‘the intersection of complementary meanings which are also potentially contradictory: home, household, service, possession, native, of the nation, making homely (domestication)’.21 Attending to the critical category of domesticity, foregrounded in its difference from and relation to the political by Ann’s letter, thus both offers a way of addressing the question of how women in this period experienced the local, regional and national specificities of their archipelagic identities, and also opens up a space where gender as an analytic category can be brought to bear on a scholarly debate that so far has paid relatively little attention to it. Juxtaposing engagement with national politics and details of the material and affective culture of the Welsh gentry household, the letter moves 20   J.G.A. Pocock, ‘The Limits and Divisions of British History: In Search of the Unknown Subject’, American Historical Review, 87/2 (1982): 314. 21   S.J. Wiseman, ‘More on Reading “Domestic” Tragedy and A Woman Killed with Kindness: A Further Response to Lisa Hopkins’, Connotations, 6/1 (996–97): 86–91 (86).

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deftly between the national and domestic, demonstrating the surprising congruence of these two social realms. The bulk of the letter was dictated by Ann to her brother’s secretary George, and contains advice designed to further Sir William Maurice’s political career. He should seek, she says, the support and favour of the newly-crowned James I, and bring the harsh treatment he has received from the Council in the Marches to the attention of the King, for the great service that you have done in Her Majesty’s [Elizabeth’s] raigne and alsoe in His Majesty’s raigne being Knight of the Shire soe manie yeers and attendinge upon the Parlamente soe duelie and truelie as you have done. By reason alsoe that you are his God father and intiteled his highnes ‘Kinge of Great Britaine’.22

Traditional Welsh historical scholarship has mocked Ann’s pretentions to have any grasp of national politics,23 where it has not ignored them altogether; but traditional Welsh sexism aside, I see no reason not to take her seriously. Her advice to Sir William reveals a sound understanding of how preferment at court may be achieved, both as due recompense for faithful service to the state within the framework of local and national institutions, and through patronage based on personal connections, particularly the kind of elective alliance, replicating kinship structures in the political arena, embodied here in Sir William’s role of godfather to the king. Sir William couched his enthusiasm for union in explicitly nationalized Welsh terms: he told James, for example, that his accession to the English throne had been foretold in certain ancient Welsh prophecies, and in one of his numerous and extensive parliamentary speeches advocating the union, suggested that James might learn from the example of Edward I, who had effectively united England and Wales by fiat.24 Sir William, then, seemed to combine a consciousness of his own Welshness with a sense that this could be deployed to his personal political advantage in London, not undermined by any anxiety that it might be threatened by a closer union of Wales, England and Scotland. It would be possible to go further, and to suggest that Ann’s reminder to her brother to exploit his naming of James as ‘King of Great Britain’ places the Clenennau family within a distinctively Welsh understanding of Britishness as a desirable national or transnational category, testified for example by the common designation of the Welsh language as ‘Brutaniaith’, or ‘the old British tongue’,25 Sir William Herbert 22

 NLW Clennenau 204, 6 February 1603/04.   Dictionary of Welsh Biography entry for Sir William Maurice. 24   G. Dyfnallt Owen, Wales in the Reign of James I (Woodbridge, 1988), pp. 47, 46. 25   Geraint H. Jenkins, Richard Suggett and Eryn M. White, ‘The Welsh Language in Early Modern Wales’, in Geraint H. Jenkins (ed.), The Welsh Language before the Industrial Revolution, vol. I of A Social History of the Welsh Language (Cardiff, 1997), pp. 45–122 (p. 45). 23

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of Glamorgan’s apostrophizing of James as ‘our second Brutus’, or the claim of Sir John Dee to have invented the idea of the British Empire. 26 Such perceptions were proudly endorsed by subsequent generations of patriotic Welshmen who saw no contradiction between nationalist and imperial aspirations, and echoed by Shakespeare’s dramatization of Welsh characters including Fluellen in Henry V as well as the Glendower household. Having delivered her political advice, Ann dismisses the secretary and continues the letter in her own hand, passing on family news, the respects of relatives and servants, and assorted domestic requests for items to be sent from London: shears and seed for the garden, ‘for there is none to be had in this country’; a bottle of ‘sinamunt’ [cinnamon] water for Lady Maurice; and a plea from cousin Grace verch Humphrey for Sir William’s assistance in placing her son in service in London. Thus while Ann advises her brother to exploit to his advantage the networks of patronage and obligation to which he has access in London, her letter shows that her life at Clenennau is also embedded in an equally rich and complex web of social relations. It reveals, furthermore, that one aspect of her role in the community there is precisely to mediate between local needs and the broader possibilities opened up by Sir William’s participation in a different social world in London. Such mediations are embedded in various details of this textual exchange: Ann’s name is formed according to Welsh convention, signalling that she is an unmarried woman (‘Wen’), whose social identity relates to a particular location (‘Brynkir’), and her cousin Grace verch Humphrey has a similar appellation, formed according to the Welsh patronymic system: she is Grace the daughter of Humphrey.27 Sir William, in contrast, was the first of the family to adopt the English style of surname, although he also quietly perpetuated the Welsh patronymic system, in so far as ‘Maurice’ is merely an anglicized version of his father’s name. It is striking that although unmarried, Ann appears to be acting as head of the household in her brother’s absence, and even the most attenuated expressions of deference to his patriarchal domestic authority are absent from the letter. Many scholars have long suspected that the enormous proliferation of conduct manuals and books on household government that proliferated in this period speak less to the ubiquity of patriarchal control on the domestic front than to anxieties that women were actually exercising a far greater degree of liberty and autonomy than such prescriptive writings would require, and Ann’s letter appears to bear out such suspicions. Participating, then,   Glanmor Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales c. 1415–1642 (Oxford, 1987), p. 473. 27  It was common for Welsh women who did marry in this period to retain the patronymic rather than adopting their husband’s name, and it is worth speculating as to whether this fact actually has any bearing on gender relations in Wales: as late as 1797, Catherine Hutton, a visitor to Caernarvonshire from Birmingham, observed from the tombstones in the Llanbeblic churchyard that ‘Welsh women, like the Scotch, do not always go by the names of their husband’. NLW MS 19079C, ‘Letters from North Wales’ by Catherine Hutton of Bennett’s Hill, near Saltley, Birmingham, Letter 13, August 1797. 26

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in a bilingual social world, remaining invested in the cultural practices of northwest Wales, yet acutely aware of the new opportunities opening up for the Welsh in London as a result of the Jacobean project to reconfigure relations between the constituent parts of the British Isles, Ann Wen Brynkir and Sir William Maurice inhabit the complexities and ambiguities of this transitional moment in the cultural politics of early modern Britain. In doing so, they echo the concerns staged in the plays about British history, and about the politics of the relations between the nations of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England and their inhabitants, that Shakespeare was writing in the decades before and after the composition of Ann’s letter. This is one of the earliest surviving letters by a Welsh woman which I have come across; and in its confident, sophisticated movement back and forth between personal and political, its informed engagement with public affairs, and its warm attention to friends and family, it makes fascinating and revealing reading. Owen Glendower’s daughter, as depicted by Shakespeare in his solitary staging of a Welsh female character, is no readier than Ann to be confined wholly to the domestic realm; as her father says, ‘She’ll be a soldier too; she’ll to the wars’ (3.1.191). Like Ann Wen Brynkir’s letter, the scene in which she appears juxtaposes a concern with a national politics in which borders are being tested, violated and reconfigured, with a domestic focus on the renegotiation of relations of cultural difference through familial and marital intimacy and affection. Shakespeare’s staging of a Welsh woman observing archipelagic politics in 1 Henry IV and Ann Wen Brynkir’s letter date from the opposite ends of a period of transition straddling the end of the reign of Elizabeth, the last Tudor monarch, who had long used the prospect of her own marriage as a tool of her domestic and international political strategies, and the opening of the Stuart era with the accession to the throne of England, Wales, Ireland and France of James VI of Scotland. Each of them, in very different ways, suggests the value of taking seriously the view from the Welsh margins of the British state offered by the real and dramatic counterparts of Shakespeare’s Welsh grandmother.

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Chapter 2

Thirteen Ways of Looking Like a Welshman: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries Philip Schwyzer

When I first began writing about Wales and early modern literature, a dozen years ago, I was surprised by how often I was interrogated about my personal connections with the Principality. The question seemed obvious: what was an American graduate student doing researching sixteenth-century Wales? There could surely be only one explanation: blood. The geographical focus must have a genealogical root. My questioners seemed bemused – and sometimes, I imagined, suspicious or resentful – when I replied that I had no Welsh ancestry, or particular connections with the country. I felt convinced (and still do) that had I been writing about any other nation in the Atlantic Archipelago, the questions would not have arisen. The histories and literatures of England, Ireland and Scotland seem to have secured a place in the universal human inheritance. Not so for Wales. What I heard behind the querying of my background was the assumption that any attempt to introduce Wales into the mainstream of critical discourse could only be a kind of special pleading. Finding Wales interesting must signify a vested interest in Wales. If the questions nettled me slightly, it was some consolation to realize that Shakespeare and I were in the same boat. Critical attention to Shakespeare and Wales had long centred, with all the insistence of an unexamined prejudice, on divining the nature of the playwright’s interest – for surely only someone with a special interest in Wales, wholesome or otherwise, could have turned so repeatedly to Welsh characters and Welsh settings throughout the course of his career. A range of explanatory factors had been sought in Shakespeare’s background and biography. As Kate Chedgzoy discusses in this volume, F.J. Harries’ pioneering approach to Shakespeare and the Welsh was bound up with and to a large extent predicated on the hypothesis of a Welsh grandmother: ‘it seems reasonably proved that he had Welsh blood in his veins, and it may have been from the lips of a Welsh grandmother that he obtained his first knowledge of Welsh tradition and folklore’. Similarly, J.O. Bartley, whose catalogue of Welsh characters in early modern drama remains indispensible, was persuaded that Shakespeare’s way of depicting the Welsh ‘suggests such obvious special liking that it tempts   Frederick J. Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh (London, 1919), p. 5.

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to the deduction that at least one of his close friends was Welsh’. More recently, Terence Hawkes has speculated that ‘It may well be that an acquaintance with Welsh people in London accounts for Shakespeare’s portrayal of Glyn Dwr as more sympathetic than his sources would encourage.’ Here we have three distinct versions of Shakespeare’s special affinity with Wales: for Harries the bond is essentially völkisch, for Bartley an affection arising out of intimate friendships, for Hawkes a matter of privileged access to cultural knowledge. Yet all agree that Shakespeare’s enthusiasm for the Welsh is highly unusual and bound to be rooted in some personal circumstance. Even if it were the case that Shakespeare’s works betray an unusual fascination with and insight into the Welsh character, it would not necessarily follow that his interest sprang from family ties or life experience. But first it would be well to ask whether Shakespeare’s apparent affinity with Wales and the Welsh can be counted as unusual by the standards of his day. Gauging the nature and degree of Shakespeare’s interest in Wales requires us to consider his works alongside those of his English contemporaries. Seen in this context, Shakespeare’s apparent Welsh orientation seems unextraordinary and indeed rather lukewarm. Shakespeare did not, for instance, claim to be Welsh, and set himself up as spokesperson for the Welsh people – a course taken by such English writers as Arthur Kelton, Thomas Churchyard, John Dee and Richard Harvey. He did not, when paying the heralds to produce a pedigree, insist on having some Welsh ancestors – unlike William Cecil, Queen Elizabeth and King James. Nor did he make calculated displays of his knowledge of Welsh by slipping untranslated passages into his work – thereby distinguishing himself from Edmund Spenser, Thomas Dekker and Ben Jonson. In spite of the appellation given him by later generations, Shakespeare does not appear to have envied or sought the status of the Welsh bard – unlike Philip Sidney and Michael Drayton. This essay, then, will explore how a dozen of Shakespeare’s well-known contemporaries declared their personal interest in Wales, often to the extent of claiming a kind of Welshness. These 12 ways of looking like a Welshman can be categorized as belonging to four modes: genealogical, ventriloquistic, linguistic and vocational. In conclusion I will turn briefly to the thirteenth case, that of Shakespeare himself, to examine what may now seem a curious detachment from Wales, rather than the reverse. Whether we see this as a point in Shakespeare’s favour lies outside the scope of this essay.

  J.O. Bartley, Teague, Shenkin and Sawney (Cork, 1954), p. 49.  Terence Hawkes, Shakespeare in the Present (London, 2002), p. 33.


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I. Welsh by blood: the genealogical mode Caradoc: Her Lice are petter a pedecree as the goodest of them all. Her lice come ap Shinkin, ap Shon, ap Owen, ap Richard, ap Morgan, ap Hugh, ap Brutus, ap Silvius, ap Eneas, and so up my shoulder. An’t her lice will not deshenerate from her petticree, pretious Coles. Her ancestors fought in the Wars of Troy, by this Leek, as lustily as the Lice of Troilus. – Thomas Randolph, Hey for Honesty, Down with Knavery

This satirical passage, mocking the perceived Welsh habit of boasting over ancestry, participates in a tradition that runs from the Tudor era down (at least) to Dickens’ Mrs Woodcourt, obsessed with her descent from ‘Morgan ap-Kerrig’. As one sixteenth-century English observer reported: upon the Sundays and holidays, the multitude of all sorts of men, women, and children of every parish do use to meet in sundry places, either on some hill or on the side of some mountain, where their harpers and crowthers sing them songs of the doing of their ancestors, namely of their wars against the kings of this realm and the English nation, and then do they rip up their pedigrees at length how each of them is descended from those their old princes.

As Bartley notes, excessive pride in birth and absurd claims to gentility were staple attributes of the early modern stage Welshman. Yet, intentionally or otherwise, this tradition of ridicule has a reflexive, even subversive edge. Hunting for noble ancestors in the misty Cambrian past was not a habit confined to penurious   Thomas Randolph, A pleasant comedie, entituled Hey for honesty, down with knavery (London, 1651), p. 21.    ‘Sometimes she recited a few verses from Crumlinwallinwer and the Mewlinnwillinwodd (if those are the right names, which I dare say they are not), and would become quite fiery with the sentiments they expressed. Though I never knew what they were (being in Welsh), further than that they were highly eulogistic of the lineage of Morgan ap-Kerrig. “So, Miss Summerson,” she would say to me with stately triumph, “this, you see, is the fortune inherited by my son. Wherever my son goes, he can claim kindred with Ap-Kerrig. He may not have money, but he always has what is much better – family, my dear.”’ Charles Dickens, Bleak House, ed. Nicola Bradbury (Harmondsworth, 1996), p. 467.   Brian E. Howells, ‘The Lower Orders of Society’, in J. Gwynfor Jones (ed.), Class, Community and Culture in Tudor Wales (Cardiff, 1989), p. 248. It is worth observing that whereas in England the gentry in this period accounted for barely two per cent of the population, in Wales, where partible inheritance had been the rule, close to half of the native population could lay claim to bonedd (gentility/ descent). Keith Wrightson, English Society, 1580–1680 (London, 1982), p. 24; Glanmor Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales c. 1415–1642 (Oxford, 1987), p. 97.   Bartley, Teague, Shenkin and Sawney, pp. 61–2.


Shakespeare and Wales

‘mountain-squires’ alone. Welsh ancestors featured prominently in many of the most illustrious English pedigrees, including those of the Tudor queen and Stuart king under whom Shakespeare lived and wrote. As William Sherman observes, ‘Whereas the Italians fashioned their noble genealogies with reference to the ancient Romans … Tudor genealogists turned to the ancient Welsh’. It was from Henry VII, dismissed by Richard III in Shakespeare’s play simply as ‘the Welshman’ (4.4.407), that the Tudors and subsequently the Stuarts derived their claims to Welsh ancestry, and further back to inheritance from the ancient Kings of Britain. At least some witnesses to Henry’s accession granted him a Welsh ethnic identity as well as a surname; as the Venetian ambassador reported, ‘the most wise and fortunate Henry VII is a Welshman’.10 Henry’s granddaughter Elizabeth – ‘that red-headed Welsh harridan’ in the phrase attributed to A.L. Rowse11 – did not explicitly identify herself to her people as a Welshwoman, but there is no question that she encouraged positive references to her Welsh descent in panegyrics produced by her English as well as her Welsh subjects. Thus Lodowick Lloyd praised the queen under the Welsh name Sydanen: From Brutus stemme, from Dardan line, Sidanen is a Phenix fine; From Cambers soile, from Hector’s seed, Sidanen princely doth exceed.12

Thomas Hughes in The Misfortunes of Arthur lauded the queen in similar terms as ‘That vertuous Virgo, borne for Britaines blisse;/ That pierlesse braunch of Brute.’13 Edmund Spenser likewise, in the mouth of Merlin, praised the ‘royall virgin’ who should reign when ‘the Briton bloud their crowne againe reclame’ (III.iii.48).14    William H. Sherman, John Dee: the Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance (Amherst, 1995), p. 227 n. 54.   All references to Shakespeare’s plays are to The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et. al. (New York, 1997). 10   Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation, p. 237. 11  I have been unable to trace the origin of the ‘harridan’ phrase attributed to Rowse by Hawkes, Shakespeare in the Present, p. 32, and Gwyn A. Williams, When was Wales? (Harmondsworth, 1985), p.125, and to Philip II of Spain by Lisa Hopkins, ‘Welshness in Shakespeare’s English histories’, in Ton Hoenselaars (ed.), Shakespeare’s History Plays: Performance, Translation and Adaptation in Britain and Abroad (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 60–74, p. 62. 12  Lodowick Lloyd, ‘A Ballad of British Sidanen’, in Sir Egerton Brydges, The British Bibliographer, volume 1 (London, 1810), p. 339. 13  Thomas Hughes et. al., Certaine Devises and Shewes presented to her Majestie by the Gentlemen of Grayes-Inne (London, 1587), sigs. F3v-F4r. 14  All references are to The Poetical Works of Edmund Spenser, ed. J.C. Smith and E. De Selincourt (London, 1912).

Shakespeare and his Contemporaries


Upon succeeding to the English throne, James I was perhaps still more eager to highlight his Welsh descent, not only as a link to Trojano-British antiquity but as a means of tempering his Scottishness and emphasizing his continuity with his Tudor predecessors. The Welsh parson George Owen Harry, who translated James’s Basilikon Doron into Welsh, also produced under evident royal authority a Genealogy of the High and Mighty Monarch, James … King of great Brittayne (1604). As the title page proclaimed, this genealogy demonstrated his lineall descent from Noah, by divers direct lynes to Brutus, first Inhabiter of this Ile of Brittayne; and from him to Cadwalader, the last King of the Brittish bloud; and from thence, sundry wayes to his Maiesty: wherein is playnly shewed his rightfull Title, by lawfull descent from the said Cadwalader, as well to the Kingdome of Brittayne, as to the Principalities of Northwales and Southwales…. Where also is handled the worthy descent of his Maiesties ancestour Owen Tudyr, and his affinity with most of the greatest Princes of Christendome. With Harry’s genealogy to hand, the poet William Warner was able to demonstrate that James was descended by three distinct lines from Welsh royalty: Boast of his triple royall blood from you yee Cambrian Brutes, Which to his high discents Else-where not lowest ranked sutes. For Tudor from Cadwallader, and James from Tudor claimes, From Gruffyths royall Daughter too himselfe a Brute he names, From Gladys, Mortimer his wife Prince Davids sister and Undoubted heire, he also hath in blood and ownes your Land. Great Britaine, sith a Briton doth remonarchize thy Throne, Remaud thy name: Brute had, James hath the whole, as els had none.15

As Warner makes clear, for James as for Elizabeth, the claim to Welsh descent was bound up with larger claims to continuity with the ancient rulers of Britain, and the theme of British union. A more private pride in family history lay behind William Cecil’s fascination with Welsh genealogy. William had a bona fide Welsh grandparent, Dafydd Seisyllt, who came to London with Henry VII and died in the 1540s. Whether William received any knowledge of the Welsh language or culture from his grandfather is unclear. He was unquestionably fascinated by his family history, however, and seems to have enjoyed nothing more than tinkering with the pedigree whereby he traced himself through the Seisyllts back to Welsh princes of the eleventh century.16 His son Robert by contrast would dismiss such genealogies as ‘vain toys’.17 Yet even Robert was concerned that the Welsh

  William Warner, A Continuance of Albion’s England (London, 1606), p. 378.  A.L. Rowse, ‘Alltrynys and the Cecils’, English Historical Review, 75 (1960): 54–76; see D.R. Woolf, The Social Circulation of the Past: English Historical Culture, 1500–1730 (Oxford, 2003), p. 125. 17  Rowse, ‘Alltrynys and the Cecils’: 76. 15


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connection not be forgotten, complaining of the alteration made by his father to the family surname: my lord my father’s altering the writing of his name maketh many that are not well affected to our house to doubt whether we are rightly descended of the house of Wales, because they write their name Sitsilt and our name is written Cecyll; my grandfather wrote it Syssell; and so in orthography all the three names differ. Whereof I marvel what moved my lord my father to alter it.18

Like Robert Cecil, Shakespeare owed his claim to gentility to a great-grandfather who had done good service under Henry VII, as evidenced in the grant of arms made to John Shakespeare in 1596. The grant itself, successfully obtained by the son on behalf of his father, attests that Shakespeare took an interest in family history. Yet whether or not his valiant great-grandfather or indeed his grandmother Alys had Welsh connections, there is no mention of Wales in the grant, nor any evidence that Shakespeare ever sought to highlight his Welsh descent, either explicitly or obliquely. II. Welsh in voice: the ventriloquistic mode ‘I am Welsh, you know.’ – William Shakespeare, Henry V

An unprecedented feature of Tudor and especially Elizabethan public life was the apparent participation of Welsh voices in large numbers in literary and political discourse. As Gwyn Williams observed, with reference to the era following from the Acts of Union, ‘if the Welsh were admitted as junior partners to the new state … it was as senior partners that they helped create that new and imperial British identity by which the state lived’.19 In one respect this is undoubtedly correct. The Welsh had a historical authority to speak as Britons and on Britishness that the English in the Tudor era could hardly hope to match. However dependent Wales might be on England in many respects, English admittance to the status of Britons could only be on the basis of a Welsh welcome. Yet the Welsh voices that pronounced this welcome were not always what they seemed. On closer inspection a number of those hailed at the time – and sometimes in today’s scholarship – as spokesmen for Wales turn out to be self-appointed representatives, whose links to the principality can be described as tenuous at best. An early and illustrative exemplar of the practice of voicing Welshness is Arthur Kelton, who under Henry VIII and Edward VI produced two volumes of verse in 18

 Ibid.: 55.   Williams, When was Wales?, p. 123.


Shakespeare and his Contemporaries


praise of the dynasty’s Welsh connections, A Commendacion of Welshmen (1546) and A chronycle with a genealogie declaryng that the Brittons and Welshemen are lineallye dyscended from Brute (1547). In the first of these, the Welsh are referred to with great warmth but invariably in the third person: ‘The gentill Walshmenne, Their fame to advaunce.’20 Yet in the second volume, published a year later, Kelton’s ethnicity has undergone a remarkable metamorphosis – challenging the Italian historian Polydore Vergil he declares ‘We Welshmen, with hym shall compare/ For olde antiquities, the truth to declare.’21 Even where the text proclaims the incorporation of Wales within England to the extent that Welsh identity is erased – ‘now it is England, somtime called Wales’ – it insists on the author’s own identity as a Welshman: [Henry VIII] Hath devised with his counsayl sage Wales to conducte from all bondage Brefely to conclude, this to understand Privileged we ar, with the lawes of England.22

Since Kelton was neither a Welsh native nor apparently a Welsh speaker (he refers to English as ‘Oure vulgar tong’23), his self-ascription in the second book is somewhat puzzling. Perhaps he saw fit to lay claim to Welshness on the basis of his personal ancestry, or perhaps he was prompted by the tradition that Shrewsbury lay within the ancient bounds of Cambria, as marked by the river Severn.24 Perhaps he simply reasoned, with a paradoxical logic, that if the Welsh were now all English, by the same token the English could lay claim to being Welsh. What Kelton’s case demonstrates is that the incorporation of Wales within England – or within a common British identity – did not make a specifically Welsh voice less desirable or necessary, but more so. At the same time, it made the enunciation of Welshness newly available to English speakers. Arthur Kelton found an Elizabethan follower in Thomas Churchyard, another native of Shrewsbury whose chorographic encomium The Worthines of Wales sets out to demonstrate that ‘there is some more nobler nature in that Nation, then is generally reported’.25 The ethnic transformation which Kelton accomplished between two books is undergone by Churchyard within the space of one. Beginning his travel narrative as a rather patronizing Englishman (‘A courteous kynd, of love  Arthur Kelton, A Commendacyon of Welshmen (London, 1546), sig. a.iiir.  Arthur Kelton, A chronycle with a genealogie (London, 1547), sig. ciiiv. 22  Ibid., sig biiii r. 23  Kelton, A Commendacyon, sig. g.vr. 24   See Philip Schwyzer, ‘A Map of Greater Cambria’, in Literature, Mapping, and the Politics of Space in Early Modern Britain ed. Andrew Gordon and Bernhard Klein (Cambridge, 2001), pp. 35–44. 25  Thomas Churchyard, The Worthines of Wales (London, 1587), sigs. *3v-*4r. 20


Shakespeare and Wales


in every place,/ A man may finde, in simple peoples face’26), he has well before the end declared himself a true-born Welshman. The key to his metamorphosis is found in the disputed status of his native city, and of the county of Shropshire, one of the four English marcher counties which fell, along with Wales, under the jurisdiction of the Council in the Marches with its seat at Ludlow. Churchyard, by his own account, had determined to pass over his native county which, as he acknowledges in punning fashion, ‘cannot crave/ To be of Wales, how ever brute be blowne.’27 But then the poet is accosted by the threatening figure of Reason, who insists that Shropshire receive its due: ‘Wales once it was, and yet to mend thy tale,/ Make Wales the Parke, and plaine Shropshiere the pale.’28 Reason proceeds to demonstrate that the pale or border is by definition part of the space it encloses: If pale be not, a speciall peece of Parke, Sit silent now, and neither write nor speake: But leave out pale, and thou mayst misse the marke, Thy muse would hit, or els thy shaft may breake …29

Shropshire, by this proto-Derridean feat of reasoning, is not what lies on the other side of the border from Wales, it is the border – and as such it is part of what it encloses, as a frame is part of a picture. The passage can be compared to the well-known portrait of Henry VII, in which the fingers of the king’s left hand steal across the lower frame, claiming it for the pictorial space (Figure 2.1). Like that painted ‘Welshman,’ Churchyard’s Wales co-opts its own border: contiguity collapses into continuity.30 One can easily imagine this logic being extended indefinitely, for the subsumption of the pale within the park necessarily creates a new border further east, which may in turn be subsumed – so the Marches might be sent marching across all of England.31 Indeed, something like that is Churchyard’s point. Forced by Reason to acknowledge the Welshness of his native county, the poet is transformed before our eyes from an outsider into an insider, one who speaks from and for Wales as well as about it. The manoeuvre invites a complementary one on the part of the poem’s English readers, including those who may never have been west of the Severn. We are all Welsh, the poem suggests, only some of us are more ‘speciall’ than others.  Ibid., Wales, sig. B1v.  Ibid., sig. J4v. 28  Ibid., sig. K1r. 29  Ibid., sig. K1r. Cf. Jacques Derrida, The Truth in Painting, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Ian McLeod (Chicago, 1987). 30  Cf. also Humphrey Llwyd’s map of Wales extending eastward to the Severn, discussed in Schwyzer, ‘A Map of Greater Cambria’. 31  Churchyard’s designation of Shropshire as the ‘pale’ recalls the colonial ‘English Pale’ in contemporary Ireland, with the difference that the colonial – or at any rate expansionist – power in this case would seem to be Wales. 26 27

Shakespeare and his Contemporaries


Fig. 2.1 Portrait of Henry VII by Unknown Artist (c. 1505), 40 © National Portrait Gallery, London.

Shakespeare and Wales


A more complex case of cultural ventriloquism is presented by the notorious figure of John Dee. Dee is often referred to in modern scholarship as Welsh or as a ‘London Welshman’, but the ethnic claim is not a straightforward one.32 Born in London in 1527, he was of Welsh descent on his father’s side; the surname Dee derives from the Welsh du, black.33 Dee does not seem to have given much thought to his Welsh ancestry for the first forty years of his life – busy years in which he travelled widely, developed an international reputation as a mathematician and astrologer, and incurred charges of dealing in black magic. In the late 1560s, however, he developed a keen interest in his own pedigree, probably compiled on the basis of information supplied by a Welsh cousin, by which he traced his descent back to the semi-legendary luminaries Rhodri Mawr and Coel Hen.34 A William Cecil would have been content to stop there and savour in private the comfort of his Cambrian credentials. Dee, however, seems to have discerned a connection between his newfound links to Welsh antiquity and a project that would capture the imagination of queen and country. In the early 1570s, he produced a series of manuscript and printed tracts advocating a grand project to recapture Britain’s ancient glory in the form of a revitalized and expansive ‘British Empire’. (Dee is generally credited with the first use of this term in English.35) In the General and Rare Memorials Pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation, Dee coyly presented himself to the reading public as a ‘BRYTISH PHILOSOPHER’ who must conceal his ‘BRYTISH NAME’.36 In this guise he exhorted his English readership to lay claim to a birthright that was not, on the face of it, their own: there is a Little lock of LADY OCCASION, Flickring in the Ayre, by our hands, to catch hold on: wherby, we may, yet ones more (before, all, be vtterly past, and for euer) discretely, and valiantly recouer, and enioy, if not all our Ancient and

 Eg, Hawkes, Shakespeare in the Present, p. 32, and Williams, When was Wales?, p. 124. 33   See Richard Deacon, John Dee: Scientist, Geographer, Astrologer and Secret Agent to Elizabeth I (London, 1968), pp. 13–14. Roland Smith suggests a similar etymology for Spenser’s Duessa, derived from the Irish cognate dub, black (‘Una and Duessa’, PMLA, 50 (1935): 917–19). 34   Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, s.v. ‘John Dee’. On Dee’s genealogical obsessions, see Sherman, John Dee, p. 10. 35  He seems to have borrowed the term from his Welsh informant Humphrey Llwyd, who, however, used the term in a purely historical sense, with reference to antiquity. See Bruce Ward Henry, ‘John Dee, Humphrey Llwyd, and the Name “British Empire”’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 35 (1971–72): 189–90. 36   John Dee, General and Rare Memorials Pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation (1577), sig. ε1r. Dee’s authorship is overwhelmingly apparent, and indeed his name is mentioned more than once in the book. If the pretense of anonymity serves any purpose, it is to allow Dee to associate himself repeatedly with Britishness, as the ‘Brytish Gentleman’, ‘Brytan Captive’, ‘Brytan Innocent’, ‘Brytan Mathematician’ and so on. 32

Shakespeare and his Contemporaries


due Appertenances, to this Imperiall Brytish Monarchy, Yet, at the least, some … Notable Portion therof …37

Britain’s past is England’s future: Carpe Britanniam! Perhaps no English writer, writing as English, could have issued such a stirring invitation. Dee’s enthusiasm for the revival of British antiquity is a match for Spenser’s prophetic Merlin. The comparison is an apt one, for the ‘BRYTISH PHILOSOPHER’, no less than the British magician, is a persona, a thing of literature. Both are the ultimately fictive constructions of authors who must, by all usual external standards, be recognized as English.38 Among the Cambrian ventriloquists of the sixteenth century, none lies farther from any definition of Welshness than Richard Harvey, whose Philadelphus or a Defence of Brutes, and the Brutans History (1593) is a very late and very eccentric contribution to the debate over the veracity of the Brutus legend. A native of Saffron Waldon in Essex, Harvey had no known ancestral or other links with Wales; yet his book has few rivals in its uncompromising rejection of the AngloSaxon heritage: If I omit some histories of Saxons, I do but my duetie: what have I to do with them, unlesse it were to make them tributary to Brutans? Otherwise, let their own men commend them if they wil, I owe them no service by writing or speaking. Let them lye in dead forgetfulnesse like stones, that have desired, or doe desire the trouble of Brutanie …39

Harvey prefers the name Brutanie to Britain, in honour of Brute, and perhaps also because of its defamiliarizing aspect, which permits a blurring of the traditional division between the English and the Welsh, or Britons.40 ‘We are not Brittons we are Brutans’, he declares in a polemic against the Scottish skeptic Buchanan  Dee, General and Rare Memorials, pp. 54–5.  It remains a delicate question. I do not deny the possibility that Dee in the 1570s genuinely felt Welsh. Some would argue that in matters of ethnic identity nothing should be allowed to trump self-ascription. Yet Dee’s adoption of the role of spokesman and explicator of Britishness still rings false. I might in my middle years pick an ethnicity from my family tree (like most Americans, I would have several to choose from) and start identifying myself as a Slovene or a Jew. I might have the right to do so; but were I then to claim privileged access to the inner secrets of Slovenian or Jewish experience, I would deserve to be called to account. 39  Richard Harvey, Philadelphus (1593), p. 97. 40   Brutanie sounds like a fantasy realm or utopia, and that is indeed what the book seems to describe. Embroidering and moralizing on the British History, Harvey is more concerned with marshalling exemplars of wise and foolish rule than with demonstrating the historicity of Brute and his progeny; after all, ‘that history is most worth which doth a man most good’ (p. 57). 37 38

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– Brutans, here, describes a category that includes English and Welsh alike but apparently excludes the Scots.41 Elsewhere, he acknowledges that the Welsh in particular are ‘kinsmen of the true auncient Brutans’. The Welsh are and are not a separate nationality. In a deceptively simple phrase, Harvey defines them as ‘our owne Countreimen and neighbours’.42 At once continuous and contiguous, essential and marginal, the true ancient Brutans seem to be located somewhere just over the border from their own country. Not unlike Churchyard, Harvey finds a way of articulating an Englishness more profoundly Welsh than the Welsh themselves can ever hope to be. III. Welsh in Tongue: The Linguistic Mode

‘Ile speake Welch, which is harder than Greek.’ – Thomas Dekker, The Honest Whore, Part 143

With the exception of Dee, the writers discussed in the previous section appear to have had little or no knowledge of the Welsh language. Their claims to Welshness would have made little sense in sixteenth-century Wales, where the prevailing term for the national community was iaith, which literally means ‘language’. Although the Welsh tongue had been all but banished from public life by the Acts of Union, within the Welsh cultural community it remained the case that to be Welsh was to be a Welsh speaker.44 If Churchyard and Harvey would fail this test, some English writers of the period did cultivate a limited knowledge of Welsh for the purpose of self-conscious literary display. The Welsh language makes a brief appearance in Book 2, Canto 10 of Spenser’s Faerie Queene. In a passage describing the conquest of Hainaut (‘Henault’) by 41

  On Buchanan’s own approach to the British question, that of a Scottish republican, see David Norbrook, ‘Macbeth and the Politics of Historiography’, in K. Sharpe and S.N. Zwicker (eds.), Politics of Discourse: The Literature and History of Seventeenth-Century England (Berkeley, 1987), pp. 78–116; Alan Sinfield, ‘Macbeth: History, Ideology and Intellectuals’, in Colin MacCabe (ed.), Futures for English (Manchester, 1986), pp. 63–77. 42  Harvey, Philadelphus, p. 107. The same phrase would be used by the unionist Bishop John Thornborough, as discussed by Christopher Ivic in this volume. Cf. Bartley: ‘the English [saw] the Welsh in two co-existing roles – as provincials and as foreigners; the most remote and strange of provincials and the nearest and most intimate of foreigners’ (Teague, p. 48). 43  Thomas Dekker, The Honest Whore, Part 1, in The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, ed. Fredson Bowers (Cambridge, 1955), vol. 2, 1.3.88. 44   See Peter Roberts, ‘Tudor Wales, National Identity and the British Inheritance’, in British Consciousness and Identity: the Making of Britain, 1533–1707, ed. Brendan Bradshaw and Peter Roberts (Cambridge, 1998), p. 13.

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Brutus’s legendary descendant Brute Greenshield, the book of ‘Briton Moniments’ relates how his shield was dyed red with blood, ‘That not Scuith guiridh [green shield] it mote seeme to bee/ But rather y Scuith gogh [the red shield]’ (II.x.10). These isolated words do not in themselves suggest a wider knowledge of the Welsh language or its literature.45 Yet it is interesting that Spenser should wish to make a display of Welsh learning, and that he should do so in this context. Welsh might well have been expected elsewhere in the poem, most appropriately perhaps in the visit to Merlin’s cave in ‘Deheubarth that now South-wales is hight’ (III.ii.18), a scene set in the fifth century ad.46 But the episode involving Brute Greenshield takes place in distant antiquity, only a few generations after the Trojan settlement of Britain; Greek would surely have been at least as plausible as Welsh. Crucially, however, the battle in question marks the beginning of the Britons’ foreign conquests. The underlying theme, in other words, is the antiquity of the British Empire.47 The contemporary application is clear: Hainaut was part of the Spanish Netherlands, whose revolt in the 1570s had stirred the hearts of English Protestants, leading to the ineffective military intervention of Lord Leicester. (Catholic Hainaut made its peace with the Duke of Alba in 1579, to the weakening of the United Provinces.) The Greenshield episode thus prefigures Merlin’s prophecy that Elizabeth shall ‘Stretch her white rod ouer the Belgicke shore’ (III.iii.49), and Arthur’s later intervention on behalf of the oppressed Queen ‘Belge’ (Book V, Cantos x-xi). The Welsh language helps link the ancient British legend to contemporary themes of English foreign policy.48 That Spenser perceived a connection between the Welsh language and imperial or colonial expansion is evident in his manuscript notes for the View of the Present State of Ireland. Here his main concern was to demonstrate similarities between Welsh and Irish, thereby adding weight to his argument that Ireland had been settled by the Britons in antiquity. Thus, ‘fyre is in Welshe Tane: in Iryshe Tuinnye’;


 As John Buxton points out, Spenser could easily have found a Welsh-speaking informant among the clients of the earl of Pembroke (Spenser Encyclopedia, ed. A.C. Hamilton et. al., p. 725.) There is little reason to suppose with Donald Williams Bruce that Spenser had Welsh sufficient to read the Mabinogion in manuscript (‘Spenser’s Welsh’, Notes &Queries, 32 (1985): 465–67). 46   On Spenser’s Deheubarth, see Bart van Es, Spenser’s Forms of History (Oxford, 2002). 47   Annabel Patterson finds it significant that this is the one stanza of the Faerie Queene – ‘distinguished only by its bloodthirstiness’ (780) – quoted by Milton in his History of Britain (though without the closing couplet including the Welsh words). Annabel Patterson, ‘Couples, Canons, and the Uncouth: Spenser-and-Milton in Educational Theory’, Critical Inquiry, 16 (1990): 773–93. 48   It is conceivable that there is a specific reference here to the deeds of the celebrated Welsh soldier Roger Williams, a likely model for Shakespeare’s Fluellen, who was knighted by Leicester after the battle of Zutphen in 1586.

Shakespeare and Wales


‘Curve Cosh eribord is bothe Welshe and Iryshe’.49 As for the orientalists of a later era, comparative philology here becomes an instrument of imperial rule. Welsh for Spenser is the language of British empire: the language that empire spoke in the past, the language whereby it legitimates itself in the present. More extensive and more entertaining use was made of the Welsh language by a number of playwrights for the English stage. Public audiences could apparently be expected to understand a smattering of Welsh words – perhaps equivalent to the clutch of Hindi words that Anglophone Londoners would be familiar with today. David Salmon lists some fifteen Welsh words or phrases occurring in just under a dozen English plays – a dozen more could easily be added to the catalogue.50 Welsh seems to occur invariably in a comic context on the English stage – in this it is unlike French or Italian, but comparable to Dutch. It is noteworthy that, besides terms of greeting such as duw cadw chi (‘Dugat a whee’ in Middleton’s Chaste Maid in Cheapside), the most common Welsh phrases are terms of rebuke: taw son (be quiet) and digon (enough).51 Welsh words and phrases appear with particular frequency in the plays of Thomas Dekker, including Satiromastix, Patient Grissil, Northward Ho, The Welsh Embassador, and even The Shoemaker’s Holiday, a play with no Welsh characters. (‘Tawsoone, my fine Firk, tawsoone,’ Simon Eyre tells his journeyman.52) One of Dekker’s collaborations, Patient Grissil (performed 1600, published 1603), stands out from the rest in that it includes an unparalleled amount of Welsh, including extended pieces of dialogue, spoken by the comic feuding couple Sir Owen and Gwenthyan. Here is an example: Sir Owen: Adologo whee bethogh en Thlonigh, en Moyen due, Gwenthian. Gwenthyan. Ne vetho en Thlonigh, Gna watha gethla Tee. Urcenze: What says she sir Owen?

 Roland M. Smith, ‘More Irish Words in Spenser’, Modern Language Notes, 59 (1944): 472–7 (473, 474). Fire in Welsh is tân, in Irish teine. ‘Curve Cosh eribord’ looks fairly nonsensical in both languages, but could be understood as ‘ale foot Ireland table’ (I: cuirm cos Ériu bord; W: cwrw coes Iwerddon bwrdd). 50  David Salmon, ‘Welsh in the Old Plays’, Notes and Queries, 150 (1926): 201–3. 51   Middleton, A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, 1.1.97, in Five Plays, ed. Bryan Loughrey and Neil Taylor (Harmondsworth, 1988). Salmon finds taw son in Dekker’s Satiromastix, Patient Grissil, Northward Ho, The Night-Walker and The Welsh Embassador, but misses the probable instance in The Shoemaker’s Holiday (see below). Salmon finds digon in The Welsh Embassador; other occurrences include R.A.’s The Valiant Welshman (London, 1615), sig. G2r; James Shirley’s The Wedding (London, 1629), F3v; Shirley’s The Schoole of Complement (London, 1631), pp. 23, 42; Henry Glapthorne’s The Hollander (London, 1640), 2.1.19; and Rowley’s The Birth of Merlin (London, 1661), sig. F1v. 52   The first quartos have ‘too soone’, but Eyre is demanding ‘peace’. For the emendation see Cyrus Hoy, Introductions, Notes and Commentaries to Texts in ‘The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker’ (Cambridge, 1980), vol. 1, pp. 29–30. 49

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Sir Owen: I pray and pray her for Cods loue be quiet, splude her say her will not be quiet, do what Sir Owen can: mon due Gwenthian, Me knockoth e pen, en umbleth, and pobe des, and pobe nose. Gwenthyan: Gwelogh olach vessagh whee, en herawgh, ee. Julia: Stand between them Farneze. Farneze: You shall bob no nose heere.53

Represented phonetically, and with some inevitable inaccuracies, this is nonetheless genuine Welsh dialogue, far beyond what an English audience could be expected to comprehend. It has been questioned whether Dekker could have been responsible for passages such as this, which display a command of Welsh far surpassing that which he demonstrates elsewhere.54 Yet there is nothing to suggest that his collaborators Chettle and Haughton had a more extensive knowledge of Welsh. In all likelihood the scenes were worked up between Dekker and the Welsh-speaking man and boy who would (almost certainly) play the roles in question. Patient Grissil presents us with something more complex than passages of Welsh inserted into an English text. If the Welsh is genuine, it is nonetheless remarkable how much of it is accessible to English speakers. This is partly because the Welsh characters provide a running translation of much of their dialogue for the non-Welsh speakers (Italians, as it happens) on stage. Moreover, the Welsh itself is often curiously transparent. When Sir Owen tells Gwenthyan, ‘Me knockoth e pen, en umbleth, and pobe des, and pobe nose’, English listeners may miss the literal sense (‘I’ll knock thy head into one plait (?), every day and every night’55), yet nonetheless succeed in divining that he is threatening to strike her about the head. ‘Me knockoth’ may represent the Welsh ‘mi gnocia’, but it sounds close enough to the intelligibly English ‘me knocketh’; ‘umbleth’ may be an attempt at ‘yn unbleth’, but it also conveys Sir Owen’s intention to humble Gwenthyan. If the hearers fail to understand pen (head) as the object Sir Owen is threatening to knock, they can still grasp the point well enough by hearing nos (night) as nose, and des or dydd (day) as teeth. When Ferneze misinterprets ‘pobe nos’ (every night) as ‘bob [her] nose’, he shows that he has understood Sir Owen’s intentions perfectly well. Patient Grissil’s Welsh is accurate enough, but it is a Welsh hedged around with English, penetrated and inhabited by English, glossed and also mocked by English. It is a bridled tongue. The ‘Welsh’ scenes involving Sir Owen and Gwenthyan can be compared to the language lesson involving the French Princess Katherine and her nurse in Shakespeare’s Henry V – these scenes flatter the English audience with a sense of mastery, a mastery that is linguistic and also (given the emphasis in Patient Grissil as in Henry V on the naming of body parts) unsettlingly physical. 53  Thomas Dekker, Patient Grissil, in The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, Volume 1, ed. Fredson Bowers (Cambridge, 1953), vol. 1, 4.3.141–50. 54  Hoy, Introductions, Notes and Commentaries, pp. 143–4. 55   See ibid., p. 173.


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While there is little to suggest that either Spenser or Dekker made a study of the Welsh language, there is clear evidence that Ben Jonson did. In 1629 his Welsh ‘Son’ James Howell was able to do him a welcome service: ‘you desired me lately to procure for you Dr. Davies Welsh Grammer to add to those many that you have, I have lighted upon one at last’.56 The volume was John Davies of Mallwyd’s Antiquae linguae Britannicae … rudimenta (1621), regarded in its time and since as one of the highest achievements of humanist scholarship in Wales.57 The verse epistle in which Jonson requested the book from Howell does not survive, but the opening lines of Howell’s own poem ‘Upon Dr. Davies British Grammer’ may shed some light on the nature of Jonson’s interest: T’was a tough task beleeve it, thus to tame A wild and wealthy language, and to frame Grammatic toiles to curb her, so that shee Now speakes by rules, and sings by prosodie; Such is the strength of Art rough things to shape, And of rude Comons rich inclosures make.58

Praising the strenuous triumph of art over unruly raw material, the tone of these lines is self-consciously Jonsonian. It is also politically provocative, drawing an unmistakable parallel between the ‘taming’ of the Welsh tongue and the oftcelebrated subjugation of the Welsh people to English rule and ideals of civility. (As Churchyard put it, recalling the wildness of the Welsh in times past, ‘But since they came, and yeelded unto Lawe,/ Most meeke as Lambe, within one yoke they drawe.’59) A naïve or inattentive reader might understand Howell’s verses as testimony to the ongoing benefits of colonial rule. Yet Jonson was no such reader. He would have seen that in Davies’ grammar Welsh had submitted to no laws other than her own. The ‘taming’ of Welsh should thus be read as evidence of its status as a civilized tongue on a par with English. Howell commends the Welsh language to Jonson by stressing its ability to conform successfully to the key Jonsonian values of self-knowledge, self-sufficiency and self-control. Jonson, alas, did not have the benefit of Howell’s friendship or Davies’ grammar when writing his antimasque For the Honour of Wales (1618), which features snippets of Welsh dialogue along with comical Welsh-accented English. The peculiar Welsh orthography suggests that Jonson drew on the earlier grammar of Sion Dafydd Rhys (John Davies of Brecon), printed in 1592.60 The inclusion 56   James Howell, Epistolae Ho-elianae (London, 1645), Sect 5, p. 31. See Rosalind Miles, Ben Jonson: His Life and Work (London, 1986), p. 263. 57   On Davies and his grammar, see Ceri Davies (ed.), Dr. John Davies of Mallwyd: Welsh Renaissance Scholar (Cardiff, 2004). 58  Howell, Epistolae Ho-elianae, Sect 5, p. 31. 59  Churchyard, Worthines, sig. B1v. 60   See Bartley, Teague, pp. 57, 71–2.

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of a small but significant number of Welsh words and phrases does set For the Honour of Wales apart from other Jonsonian antimasques with ethnic themes, such as The Gypsies Metamorphosed or The Irish Masque at Court. Yet arguably what is surprising is how limited Jonson’s use of actual Welsh is. Although the opening of the masque features a sharp untranslated exchange of 22 words between a pair of quarrelsome Welshmen, the use of Welsh thereafter is largely confined to the familiar comic staples, ‘tawson’ and ‘diggon’. Most of the Welsh phrases are immediately translated by their speakers into English: ‘Da wharry, vellhee; well danc’d y’faith’ (307-8); Diggon, inough, inough, diggon’ (358). Jonson seems torn between the urge to demonstrate his own linguistic mastery and the need to cater to the sensibilities and limitations of his elite audience. Significantly, in the Welshman Griffith’s final patriotic speech to King James, the Welsh accentual marks fade away entirely. The linguistic movement of the masque, then, is from untranslated Welsh, through translated Welsh mixed with Welsh-accented English, to a conclusion in unaccented English. This is a linguistic ‘taming’ very different from that which James Howell had in mind in his verses on Davies’ grammar. IV. Welsh in Craft: The Vocational Mode FORTUNE: Be dumbe you scornefull English, whose blacke mouthes Haue dim’d the glorious splendor of those men, Whose resolution merites Homers penne: And you, the types of the harmonious spheares, Call with your siluer tones, that reuerend Bardh, That long hath slept within his quiet vrne, And let his tongue this Welshmans Crest adorne. The Harpers play, and the Bardh riseth from his Tombe. – R. A., The Valiant Welshman61

English writers of the period frequently claimed to admire or envy the Welsh for one reason or another. As Churchyard confessed, ‘England God wot, hath learnde such leawdnesse late,/ That Wales methinks, is now the soundest state.’62 Most such effusions are of a piece with Churchyard’s in coming across as palpably patronizing and insincere. But one class of English persons, the poets, had a genuine case for envying their Welsh counterparts, the bards, whose traditional social status and political influence were beyond anything England’s versifiers could dream of. As James Howell pointedly reminded Jonson in his praise of Welsh: ‘This is the toung the Bards sung in of old,/ And Druids their dark knowledg did unfold.’63 The  R.A., The Valiant Welshman, sig. A4v.  Churchyard, Worthines, sig. B1v. 63  Howell, Epistolae Ho-elianae, Sect 5, p. 32 (the text erroneously reads ‘the the toung’). 61 62


Shakespeare and Wales

reminder of bardic glory would have been bittersweet for Jonson in the latter days of his career, when he found himself a neglected laureate sidelined by the Caroline court. (It might or might not have comforted Jonson to know that by the early 1600s the centuries-old bardic tradition was in a similarly steep and terminal decline.) For Philip Sidney, the status granted to the bards in Celtic cultures served to highlight the disregard in which England’s poets were held. ‘In our neighbour country Ireland, where truly learning goes very bare, yet are their poets held in a devout reverence.’64 The stereotypically rebellious Irish bard was a dubious model for English poets to follow, however; Sidney jokes uneasily about their rumoured ability to rhyme people to death.65 The bards of Wales were both closer to home and closer to the ideal: In Wales, the true remnant of the ancient Britons, as there are good authorities to show the long time they had poets, which they called bards, so through all the conquests of Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, some of whom did seek to ruin all memory of learning from among them, yet do their poets even to this day last; so as it is not more notable in soon beginning, than in long continuing.66

As the son of Sir Henry Sidney, the foremost English patron of contemporary Welsh scholarship, Sidney clearly had some awareness of contemporary debates within Wales as to whether the bards were enemies or upholders of genuine learning.67 His main concern, however, is to draw the contrast with the beleaguered state of poetry in his own country. ‘That poesy, thus embraced in all other places, should only find in our time a hard welcome in England, I think the very earth lamenteth it, and therefore decketh our soil with fewer laurels than it was accustomed.’68 Among Shakespeare’s literary contemporaries, there was no warmer admirer of Welsh culture in general and of the bardic order in particular than Michael Drayton. The frontmatter of Drayton’s Poly-Olbion (1612) includes a special preface addressed ‘to my friends the Cambro-Britons’, in which Drayton stresses the abundance of Welsh matter contained in the chorographical poem: And ere seaven Books have end, Ile strike so high a string, 64  Philip Sidney, The Defence of Poesy, in Sir Philip Sidney, ed. Katherine DuncanJones (Oxford, 1989), p. 214. 65   Sidney, Defence of Poesy, p. 250. On Edmund Spenser’s darkly ambiguous relationship to the bards of Ireland, see Christopher Highley, Shakespeare, Spenser, and the Crisis in Ireland (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 20–39. However, Ben Jonson arguably figures himself in the prophetic Irish bard whose songs conclude The Irish Masque at Court. 66   Sidney, Defence of Poesy, p. 214. 67   On Welsh debates over bardic traditions and historical memory, see my discussion in Literature, Nationalism and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 76–96. 68   Sidney, The Defence of Poesy, p. 241.

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Thy Bards shall stand amaz’d with wonder whilst I sing.69

Then in the opening of the first book of Poly-Olbion, Drayton casts himself as the descendant of the bards of antiquity by invoking their aid: Yee sacred Bards, that to your Harps melodious strings Sung th’ancient Heroës deeds (the monuments of Kings) And in your dreadfull verse ingrav’d the prophecies, The aged worlds descents, and Genealogies. (1.31–4)

Geoffrey Hiller has argued that the bards represented for Drayton the archetype of the poet.70 Yet it must be acknowledged that Drayton’s work betrays little if any firsthand knowledge of Welsh poetry. There is nothing to suggest that Drayton ever met a living bard or read the verses of one living or dead; there is no evidence of any acquaintance with the metrical rules of cynghanedd or with the regulation of the bardic order centering on the eisteddfod.71 For Drayton, the archetype of the bard is composed of just two essential elements (besides the ubiquitous harp): firstly, the custodianship of history and national lore, and secondly, extraordinary public authority and respect. As an English poet Drayton could emulate the first of these attainments (and indeed the great bulk of his poetic production is on national themes), but the second could be no more than a pipedream. There is an undisguised wistfulness in his description of the reverence accorded to the ancient bards even on the field of war: So yee (before the rest) in so great reverence had Your Bards which sung your deeds, that when sterne hosts have stood With lifted hands to strike (in their inflamed blood) One Bard but comming in, their murd’rous swords hath staid; In her most dreadful voice as thundring heauen had said, Stay Britans: when he spake, his words so powrefull were. (6.214–19)

As John E. Curran observes, Drayton’s admiration for the bards as custodians and transmitters of historical lore is bound up with an awareness of their ultimate and tragic inadequacy. The bards stood above all for historical continuity – but their tradition had faltered, their efforts to preserve the past had failed. Yet the 69   Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion, in J.W. Hebel (ed.), The Works of Michael Drayton, vol. 4 (Oxford, 1961), vii*. The couplet extracted in the preface appears in book 4. 70   Geoffrey G. Hiller, ‘“Sacred Bards” and “Wise Druides”: Drayton and His Archetype of the Poet’, ELH, 51 (Spring, 1984): pp. 1–15. 71  In spite of one or two intriguing parallels, the evidence that Drayton had consulted the ancient Book of Taliesin is slight. See the balanced discussion in John E. Curran, Jr, ‘The History Never Written: Bards, Druids, and the Problem of Antiquarianism in Poly Olbion’, Renaissance Quarterly, 51 (1998): 513–16.


Shakespeare and Wales

failure of the bards makes them more rather than less suitable as archetypes for Drayton, for in their defeat they foreshadow Drayton’s plight as a man out of tune with his (Jacobean) times, a political and poetic anachronism. His Cambrophilia articulates his alienation. For Drayton as for Sidney, the Welsh bard boils down to a hyperbolic trope for the plight of the English poet. V. ‘Let me not understand you then, speak it in Welsh’: Shakespeare and the refusal of identification When the blackbird flew out of sight, It marked the edge Of one of many circles. – Wallace Stevens, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’

Other essays in this collection have explored Shakespeare’s relationship with Wales and the Welsh; this chapter has focused instead on the self-ascribed Welshness of his English contemporaries. As the cases discussed here suggest, English writing about Wales in Shakespeare’s lifetime was characterized by techniques of appropriative identification. Viewed as the locus of an ethnically and spiritually pristine Britishness, Welshness was a valuable attainment – to the extent, that is, that it could be imitated or co-opted by the English. Particular aspects of a perceived Welsh identity (genetic links with British antiquity, access to mystic British knowledge, imperial and poetic authority) could be isolated and made accessible through a range of literary modes. The less desirable facets of Welshness – the elements, that is, of derogatory Welsh stereotypes – were the comic husk left over when the prized British essence had been sucked out for English use. There were, of course, some contemporary English writers who declined to enter into the contemporary cult of Cambrophilia. There was nothing Welsh about Christopher Marlowe, nor anything Welsh in his plays beyond the ‘Welsh hooks’ with which the otherwise unnationalized Rice ap Howell and his followers arrest Edward II.72 There was nothing very Welsh about John Donne. Compared to these contemporaries, Shakespeare may be said to have had a demonstrable interest in Wales, and he maintained this interest from as early in his career as Richard III to as late as Cymbeline. But compared to the panoply of contemporaries of all degrees – writers and rulers, high and low – who by one means or other succeeded in laying claim to Welshness, Shakespeare seems remarkable for the lack of interest he brought to the representation of Wales and its people.

72  Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, ed. Charles Forker (Manchester, 1994), sd following 4.7.45.

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In the Welsh scene in 1 Henry IV, discussed by Megan Lloyd among others in this volume, Shakespeare disclaims knowledge of Lady Mortimer’s language: ‘the lady speaks in Welsh’ (3.1.195). Nowhere else does he opt out of the representation of a foreign language in this casual fashion. How different the mood and feeling of the scene would be if the speeches of Glyndwr and his daughter were peppered with digon, tawson, and duw cadw chi! Perhaps Shakespeare recognized that to bring Welsh onto the stage as a language genuinely other, he had to relinquish his own instinct to script it. Perhaps he had not the least interest in what the Welsh boy playing Lady Mortimer actually said or sang. Whatever the playwright’s intentions, the upshot is that the audience of 1 Henry IV heard something very different from the Welsh in Patient Grissil or For the Honour of Wales. What makes Shakespeare unusual among his English contemporaries is not that he wrote a good deal about Wales, but that he wrote about Wales from the perspective of an outsider. Whether his attitude was one of liberal multiculturalism or contemptuous English chauvinism (or, indeed, a mixture of both), Shakespeare seems to have been content to leave Welshness to the people of Wales. Just what Welshness was, and whether it could ever be completely separated from the Englishness that both mimicked and mocked it, remains a matter for debate.

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Chapter 3

Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower David J. Baker

In 1405, in a document called the Tripartite Indenture, the rebels Owain Glyn Dwr, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and Edmund Mortimer divided England and Wales between them. ‘This was doone’, says Raphael Holinshed in The Third Volume of Chronicles (1587), ‘through a foolish credit given to a vaine prophesie, as though king Henrie was the moldwarpe [mole], cursed of Gods owne mouth, and they three were the dragon, the lion, and the woolfe, which should divide this realme betweene them’ We know that William Shakespeare read this. He used it, and much else of Holinshed’s account besides, in Henry IV, Part 1 (1598). ‘Sometime he angers me’, complains Hotspur of Owen Glendower, With telling me of the mouldwarp and the ant, Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies, And of a dragon and a finless fish, A clip-winged griffin and a moulten raven, A couching lion and a ramping cat, And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff As puts me from my faith.

But did Shakespeare use this anecdote as well, one he had also read in Holinshed? ‘On Corpus Christi daie at evensong time’ in 1402, the chronicler tells us, ‘the divell (as was thought) appeared in a towne of Essex called Danburie, entring into the church in likenesse of a greie frier, behaving himselfe verie outragiouslie, plaieng his parts like a divell indeed, so that the parishioners were put in a marvellous great fright.’ The likelihood that this devil was actually a drunken and    On the Tripartite Indenture, see R.R. Davies, The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr (Oxford, 1995) pp. 117, 166–9. The Henry Percy mentioned is not the Henry Percy (Hotspur) of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1 (he had died two years previously at the battle of Shrewsbury), but his father.    Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, ed. Geoffrey Bullough (London, 1966), vol. 4, p. 185. Further references to this work will be given parenthetically.    William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, ed. David Bevington (Oxford, 1987), 3.1.143–50. Further references to this play will be given parenthetically.


Shakespeare and Wales

obstreperous priest, or an opponent of Henry IV (as some ‘greie friers’, or Friar Minors, were known to be), or was even the invention of a ‘pothouse comedian’ has clearly occurred to Holinshed. His devil is a notional demon, playing a part. But is that all he is? Is it happenstance that this ‘divell’ has taken on the robes of an enemy of the king, or that an enemy of the king has taken on the guise of the ‘divell’? At ‘the same instant,’ Holinshed then goes on to say, ‘there chanced such a tempest of wind, thunder, and lightning, that the highest part of the roofe of that church was blowen downe, and the chancell was all to shaken, rent, and torne in peeces. Within a small while after, eight of those greie friers that had practised treason against the king, were brought to open judgement, and convicted were drawen and headed at London.’ And then, with no break or explanation: ‘Owen Glendouer, according to his accustomed manner, [was] robbing and spoiling within the English borders’ (pp. 181–2). Holinshed plays the sceptic here, but the sense his prose conveys is that larger spiritual forces are at work, though not in any easily traceable way. The ‘divell’ may be a sham, but the tempest descends upon the church just as he appears – as a sign from heaven (or hell)? Does the royal government then proceed against the ‘treason’ of the ‘greie friers’ because it has been alerted by the devilish uproar in the sanctuary, or by the lightning, or is this too a coincidence (‘there chanced’)? Demonic intervention in the affairs of state cannot be discounted. The implied simultaneity of Holinshed’s account – a ‘divell’ appears, at the ‘same instant’ wind and lighting strike, Glendouer is robbing and spoiling – links these hellish events, somehow, to a marauding Welshman. His operations within the ‘borders’ of England lie along the same plane as the workings of Satan and the weather too, but where they join is not at all clear. Editors usually treat Shakespeare’s knowledge of Owain Glyn Dwr as if it were restricted to what he could have gotten out of Holinshed, and his use of Holinshed as if it were restricted to what the playwright actually quotes. They point out, for instance, that Glendower’s boast of the marvels seen ‘At my nativity’ (3.1.12) can be traced back to Holinshed’s claim that ‘Strange wonders happened (as men reported) at the nativitie of this man, for the same night he was borne, all his fathers horsses in the stable were found to stand in bloud up to their bellies’ (p. 184) – and then go on to point out, usually, that Shakespeare got Holinshed wrong: the reference of ‘this man’ is to Mortimer. And so on. In this essay, I suggest a more inclusive approach to the sourcing of the Henriad, one in which the story of the devil of Danbury features as much as the echoes of ‘moldwarpe’ and ‘nativitie’. I hope to get us closer to what Shakespeare was about in his treatment of Wales in this trilogy, and in particular to the character who comes to represent that kingdom in the first two plays, Owen Glendower.

   Geoffrey Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr: The War of Independence in the Welsh Borders (Little Logaston, 1994), p. 63.    On the Danbury devil, see Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, pp. 63–4.    See, for example, ‘Appendix’ to Henry IV, Part 1, p. 291.

Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower


In taking up Owain Glyn Dwr, Shakespeare was dealing with very fraught material indeed. As a young man, this Welshman had studied at the Inns of Court in London and had served in the army of Richard II against the Scots. Like Hugh O’Neill after him, he was ‘trained up in the English court’ (3.1.118), as Shakespeare has him say. He may even have numbered among the supporters of Henry of Lancaster. But, on 16 September 1400, he had himself proclaimed Prince of Wales, taking as his own the title that Henry, now king of England, had given to his heir. Glyn Dwr’s revolt was triggered, probably, by a legal dispute with his English neighbour, Reginald Grey. Henry could have intervened, but he was loath to offend a ‘powerful magnate’, and there was no ‘unprejudiced or wellinformed Englishman to warn the king that Owain was a very influential man who could make a lot of trouble if he was wronged’. Rhuthun, the chief town in Grey’s lordship, was his first target, and later he would take and hold Grey prisoner. Over the course of a 15-year war, Glyn Dwr engaged the English in pitched battle several times, sometimes successfully, sometimes disastrously. At one point, Glyn Dwr drove with a combined force of Welsh and French troops into England as far as Worcester. Had he met Henry in battle, he may well have won. And had he and his allies triumphed overall, as J.G.A. Pocock has argued, the history of the British Isles might well have been very different. A ‘belt of marcher principalities, running from Wales through Northumbria to southwestern Scotland, might have fragmented the advance’ of the English and Scottish kingdoms, and an assortment of power opened up quite unlike the one England came to dominate.10 The history of Glyn Dwr’s revolt was replete with ‘what ifs’, with contingencies that could have hardened into historical realities, but did not. Ultimately, the men and matériel he had at his command were not enough to sustain his revolt. His last major raid came in 1410, after which, says Adam of Usk, a Welsh contemporary, he ‘made no great attack until he disappeared’.11 By 1413, the English felt confident enough of their victory to offer him a pardon (which he ignored). Still, the ‘revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr was an unconscionably long time a-dying’.12 As the conflict guttered out, he was forced into internal exile, possibly in Wales. There he vanished. Today, historians recognize that, by putting Owain Glyn Dwr onstage as Owen Glendower, Shakespeare crucially reshaped the reputation of this Welsh rebel, establishing a ‘canonical view … which remained basically unchanged in historical

  Glanmor Williams, Owain Glyndwr (Cardiff, 1993), p. 16.  Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 37.   Elissa R. Henken, National Redeemer: Owain Glyndwr in Welsh Tradition (Ithaca, 1996), pp. 6–7. 10   J.G.A. Pocock, ‘British History: A Plea for a New Subject’, Journal of Modern History, 47/4 (1975): 609. 11   Quoted in Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 55. 12  Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 293.  


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writing for the better part of two centuries’.13 To achieve this, Shakespeare had to transform an existing tradition, the ‘classical English view’ of Edward Hall, Richard Grafton and Raphael Holinshed.14 The hostility and contempt that Glyn Dwr got from these English chroniclers, historians say, was transmuted by Shakespeare’s humanizing touch, and his ‘kindly portrait’ is praised for its verisimilitude. ‘[A]s close as we are ever likely to get to this great Welshman’, says one.15 ‘[T]he portrait is shot through with insight, sympathy, and a human warmth altogether lacking in the one-dimensional narratives of the [earlier] historians’, offers R.R. Davies. ‘It took the genius of an Englishman to create the first credible, even attractive, characterization of the Welsh leader.’16 What they are less willing to concede, however, is that the character Shakespeare put on stage would have held any of the menace posed by his historical counterpart. Davies shows that Glyn Dwr lingered as a threatening figure in the English political imagination until the eighteenth century, and in the sixteenth, with its ‘obsessive fear of sedition’, ‘the memory of [his] destruction’ could hardly be ‘eradicated from popular consciousness’. Except, Davies thinks, in ‘the irregular and wild Glendower’ of Shakespeare’s play. Here, ‘Glyn Dwr had … lost his terror for Englishmen. He had become the archetypal, hot-blooded Welshman whose bombast about his quasi-magical powers was more amusing than threatening.’17 ‘In an age which regarded rebellion against the crown as the worst of crimes’, says Glanmor Williams, Shakespeare ‘nevertheless portrays this Welsh outlaw who, for fifteen years, defied two English kings and a dozen English armies, in a highly sympathetic light. He places him in his gallery of heroes’.18 Can we separate Shakespeare’s Glendower from the figure who appeared in the ‘popular consciousness’ of the time as easily as that, however? Davies makes a useful distinction between ‘[s]ocial memory and written history … two very different … ways of engaging with the past’. The second, he holds, is essentially history as we know it, practised in Shakespeare’s day by writers such as Holinshed, though in a prototypical form. The first is the ‘sense of the common collective memory of human groupings’. It is less likely to be linear, or even coherent. ‘The pegs on which its incidents and explanations are often hung are local places, local 13  Ibid., p. 330. Shakespeare was not alone in fashioning Owen Glendower, I should say. He collaborated on this with a company of merchant thespians (see Andrew Gurr, The Shakespeare Company, 1594–1642 [Cambridge, 2004].) Glendower, as he emerged in performance, would have been assembled from the script Shakespeare provided, stage conventions, and impromptu contributions from the actors involved. ‘Shakespeare’ is used here as a literary term of art, a short-hand for this shared enterprise. 14  Ibid., p. 328. 15  Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, pp. 14, 23. See also Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 64. 16  Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 329. See also Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 23. 17  Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, pp. 329, 333. 18   Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 64.

Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower


incidents, and local place-names. Its purveyors are the members of the community itself, though their memories may be jogged and improved by professional storytellers and remembrancers.’ There is an ‘admirable Welsh phrase for it’, he observes, ‘cofgwlad’.19 True, but there are several English phrases for it as well (‘tradition’, ‘custom’, among others). And, for quite some time now, Shakespeare’s Glendower has attracted the speculation that his portrayal merges the ‘social memory’ of Wales and England both. Early in the last century, Frederick Harries made the case that Shakespeare had become acquainted with Welshmen in his boyhood home, and concluded, ‘whether we consider [his] knowledge of Welsh character and folklore or the English spoken by the Welsh persons in his plays, we are infallibly led to the conclusion that he knew many Welshmen familiarly and was intimate with some, and that this knowledge was of that deep-seated and instinctive kind which speaks of familiarity in childhood’.20 More recently, it has been suggested that the playwright took away a ‘view of Owain’s character from Welshmen whom he may have met in … London’.21 Or perhaps ‘he was recording genuine Welsh tradition learned from the many Welsh at court’.22 Joan Rees has wondered: Perhaps some acquaintance put him right about the true quality of the man and told him that he was not the barbarian that the chronicles and popular (English) legend made out but, instead, civilized, accomplished and courtly, held by the Welsh to be a national hero, and worthily so held … .Perhaps it was the actor who played Glendower or the boy who spoke and sang in Welsh for Lady Mortimer who instructed him, but speculation is futile and not really necessary.23

Maybe not, but speculation of this kind is getting at something vital about Shakespeare’s sources for Glendower: they were not limited to the ‘written history’ that he found in the likes of Holinshed, but extended, by what exact routes we do not know, into the ‘social memory’ that he shared with his contemporaries, and not just his English contemporaries. The richness of the ‘social memory’ on which Shakespeare could draw had to do with the city in which he made his living. London was a growing metropolis and a magnet for émigrés, both from within the kingdom and without, and many of them Welsh. But to be Welsh in, say, Caernarfon, was not the same as being Welsh in the capital. Some at the time would have said that the English there were a breed apart too. In the polyglot city, ‘social memory’ could hardly be divided among the  Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 338.   Frederick J. Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh (London, 1919), p. 24. See also pp. 117–41. 21  Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 14. 22  Henken, National Redeemer, p. 138. 23   Joan Rees, ‘Shakespeare’s Welshmen’, in Vincent Newey and Ann Thompson (eds.), Literature and Nationalism (Liverpool, 1991), p. 23. 19 20

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discrete ‘groupings’, each a ‘community or pays’, that terms such as ‘English’ or ‘Welsh’ imply.24 ‘Social memory’ in such a place is more heterogeneous. It is concocted out of various remembrances shared uneasily among diverse ‘groupings’. It is still ‘common’, but not ‘collective’, except, maybe, in the sense that a crowd gathered at a fight scene is ‘collective’: they are engaged in one enterprise, but bring very different understandings and interests to the affair. And it was before such an audience, we should remember, that ‘professional story-tellers’ such as Shakespeare and his partners plied their trade. ‘Jogging’ the memories of Londoners, and ‘improving’ them, was just what they did in their line of work, as Davies says. But the ‘social memory’ from which they shaped their Glendower was no more ‘structured, linear, chronologically coherent, and casual in its explanatory patterns’ than the cofgwlad of the Welsh uplands.25 This was a ‘local’ Glendower, but local to London, and so compounded from many sources, some textual, some oral, some courtly, some theatrical, some Welsh, some English – from whatever Shakespeare and Co. chose to seize upon in the city’s capacious ‘social memory’. Perhaps, then, historians should consider more seriously their own claim that Shakespeare’s Glendower was concocted from pre-existing sources, and include in these the lingering ‘social memory’ of his rebellion lodged in the ‘popular consciousness’. They take this character as a finished dramatic artifact (or even as the man himself) instead of the unstable conglomerate of tropes that he clearly is. And this betrays a certain lack of historical imagination. We may find ourselves confusing the vainglorious Glendower with his predecessor, but it is unlikely that London audiences did. For them, he may have appeared as something more like a chronological ‘double exposure’, the rebel of their remembrance flickering in and out of view within the bumptious caricature. ‘Social memories’ of an event as disruptive and protracted as Owain Glyn Dwr’s revolt do not fade simply because a new avatar of agreeable Welshness has just come on the theatre scene. We may even wonder how much Shakespeare himself retained of those ‘memories’ as he ushered his Glendower forward. We cannot know this, of course, any more than we can know just what audiences at the Globe really did see when Glendower first enters in the third act of Henry IV, Part 1 and unrolls his map of the kingdom he and his conspirators mean to divide. But it seems unlikely that it was the ‘hero’ of ‘British history’ that historians persist in discovering.26 Let us look at an aspect of Glendower that is most likely now to attract amused derision: his self-proclaimed magical prowess. ‘I can call spirits from the vasty deep’, he announces in third act of Henry IV, Part 1. ‘Why, so can I, or so can any man’, counters Hotspur, ‘But will they come when you do call for them?’ (3.1.51– 3). I have yet to attend a performance of this play in which Hotspur’s knowing riposte didn’t elicit an equally knowing chuckle. Shakespeare has smoothed out  Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 338.  Ibid. 26   Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 64. 24 25

Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower


even the ambiguous implications he found in Holinshed. In August of 1402, says the chronicler, Henry IV went with a great power of men into Wales, to pursue the capteine of the Welsh rebell Owen Glendouer, but in effect he lost his labor; for Owen conveied himselfe out of the waie, into his knowen lurking places, and (as was thought) through art magike, he caused such foule weather of winds, tempest, raine, snow, and haile to be raised, for the annoiance of the kings armie, that the like had not been heard of; in such sort, that the king was constreined to returne home, having caused his people yet to spoile and burne first a great part of the countrie. (182–3)

Here too, Holinshed deflects Glyn Dwr’s magical powers into a parenthetical ‘as was thought’. But he is reporting what many English soldiers had believed at the time: the weather served the Welshman’s purposes.27 As in the incident of the devil in the church, Glyn Dwr’s magical abilities, whatever they are exactly, are continuous with other abilities: to evade and harass the king’s forces, to steal his labour, to convey himself to ‘knowen lurking places’ – but known to whom? Not the king, clearly. The accent in this account is on English fear and frustration and the brutality to which it leads. In Shakespeare’s play, all this, it may seem, is folded into the bluster of one overwrought stage Welshman. When Glendower appears, we hear a great deal about his alleged wonder working in the here and now, all this to suggest his amusingly puffed up sense of himself. ‘I am not in the roll of common men’, he declares. ‘Where is he living’, he wants to know, clipped in with the sea That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales, Which calls me pupil or hath read to me? And bring him out that is but woman’s son Can trace me in the tedious ways of art And hold me pace in deep experiments. (3.1.41–7)

The playwright wants his late sixteenth-century audience to laugh (as we do) at a threat their ancestors had taken very seriously indeed. And here Shakespeare is working his own kind of magic on the reputation of Owain Glyn Dwr, since not only are his claims to magical potency exaggerated far beyond our belief, they are not even Welsh. As Elissa Henken has shown, Glyn Dwr’s supposed magical 27

 Ibid., p. 31.

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expertise ‘belongs essentially to English tradition’.28 Shakespeare resolves Glyn Dwr into an English cliché, and then does his best to mute whatever may have been disturbing about that cliché to begin with. We do not have to ponder this caricature for long, however, to see that in late sixteenth-century London the trace memories of his historical counterpart would not have been that far away, and that Shakespeare is working in the gap between these memories and the character he has created. In time to come, a Welsh poem had prophesied, the ‘bows of the Britons will prevail over the pride of England. And then they will attack the city of London. Then they will place a man named Owain as king on the island of the Britons.’29 Glendower’s claims to magical fame are not grounded in such assertions, but they do not float altogether free from them either. When he demands to know where, ‘clipped in with the sea/ That chides the banks of England, Scotland, and Wales’ he might find his equal in the occult arts, he is sketching in precisely the kind of trans-kingdom polity that, we know, his revolt did in fact adumbrate. His rebellion, we could say, has a British dimension to it. He has the map of the British Isles that Hotspur has ‘forgot’ (3.1.5), and, though these conspirators quarrel as they divide Britain up, they also imply the geo-political configuration that might have emerged from their schemes. In Glendower’s boasts, as in Holinshed’s account (which, it seems, Shakespeare has read closely after all), claims for power in the supernatural sphere merge indistinguishably with claims for power in the sublunary realm, and neither can be entirely dismissed. ‘Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke made head/ Against my power’; says this magician, ‘thrice from the banks of Wye/ And sandy-bottomed Severn have I sent him/ Bootless home and weather-beaten back’ (3.1.61–4). As in the tale of the Danbury devil, Glyn Dwr is associated with, not only extremities of weather, but the appearance of demons. Glendower is essentially claiming to be an adept, proficient in black arts unknown to ‘common men’. For such practitioners, in his own period and later, ‘knowledge might’ not only ‘bring power but it also was power’.30 Of course, the initiate who wants both to keep his knowledge hidden and proclaim it, as Glendower does, is in something of a bind, as we see in this scene. He flaunts esoteric knowledge; he points ostentatiously towards the shadows, where lurks … And yet, there is nothing to be seen there. This is Hotspur’s repeated and reductive point. Nothing of which Glendower speaks has anything but natural causes. The earth trembled at his birth? ‘Diseasèd nature oftentimes breaks forth/ In strange eruptions … At your birth/ Our grandam earth, having this distemperature,/ In passion shook’ (3.1.25– 6, 31–3). Glendower does not display the marvelous powers he insists upon, or at best he does so ambiguously. He claims to summon musicians ‘Hang[ing] in the air a thousand leagues from hence’ (3.1.220). But, it has been pointed out,  Henken, National Redeemer, p. 134.   Quoted in ibid., p. 45. 30  Richard Kieckhefer, Magic in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1990), p. 142. Kieckhefer’s emphasis. 28 29

Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower


what the audience probably heard (and saw?) were the musicians in the gallery. A gesture ‘beyond’ the stage heightens our sense of the all too obvious stagecraft at work.31 We take Hotspur’s wised-up skepticism as our own, and, like him, we feel superior to Glendower as he jockeys and dickers with his co-conspirators. Clearly, we are meant to. Shakespeare knew what he was doing when he counterpoised Glendower with the sneering Hotspur. Perhaps, as Davies speculates, he even put the Welshman in the play for that reason, keeping ‘Glyn Dwr’s memory … alive for English audiences as the epitome of the absurdities’ of Welsh lore ‘and as an easy target for Hotspur’s deflating wit’.32 But, if so, they would have had to work much harder for their laughs than we do. They could not have been sure that there was nothing in the shadows towards which Glendower points, and they would have been much less quick to dismiss his self-ascribed magical powers. ‘But the principall part’ of the fall of devils, James VI had recently declared in Daemonologie (1597), was their ‘falling from the grace of God wherein they were created, they continued still thereafter, and shal do while the latter daie, in wandering through the worlde, as Gods hang-men, to execute such turnes as he employes them in’.33 As Stuart Clark has shown in Thinking with Demons, explicit denial of claims like those Glendower makes was almost structurally impossible in the period, given the reliance of both theology and natural philosophy on the reality of ‘spiritual contact’.34 For, as James opined, ‘Doubtleslie who denyeth the power of the Deuill, would likewise denie the power of God, if they could for shame.’35 Chuckling at a self-inflated stage Welshman might be one thing; denying the existence and agency of demons was something else again. The appearance of Glendower on the stage of the Globe was probably not the occasion for much philosophical reflection. But Renaissance intellectuals were not the only ones invested in the reality of the spirit realm, and contemporary anecdotes suggest that London audiences were never quite sure when the spectacle in front of them would open out into this realm, a distinctly uneasy prospect.36 ‘Why, I can teach you, cousin, to command the devil’ (3.1.54), Glendower tells Hotspur. Perhaps no one checked the stage, nervously, to see if, as in the wellknown production of Faust, another figure had joined the cast. But the possibilities

31   See S.P. Zitner, ‘Staging the Occult in 1 Henry IV’, in J.C. Gray (ed.), Mirror Up to Shakespeare: Essays in Honour of G.R. Hibbard (Toronto, 1984), pp. 138–48. 32  Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 335. 33   James VI and I, Daemonologie (1597), ed. G.B. Harrison (New York, 1966), p. 20. 34   Stuart Clark, Thinking with Demons: The Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford, 1997), p. 211. 35   James VI and I, Daemonologie, pp. 54–5. 36   On these anxieties, see Andrew Gurr, ‘Metatheatre and the Fear of Playing’, in Robin Headlam Wells, Glenn Burgess and Rowland Wymer (eds.), Neo-Historicism: Studies in Renaissance Literature, History and Politics (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 91–110.

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that Glendower evokes were real enough and did not disappear because Hotspur (of all people) thought to deny them. However hard it may have been to dismiss Glendower’s magical pretensions, moreover, it may have been harder still to dismiss the claim he insists upon most strongly: his coming was heralded. ‘Give me leave’, he demands of Hotspur, To tell you once again that at my birth The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields. These signs have marked me extraordinary … (3.1.34–9)

Editors, as we have seen, usually trace these boasts back to an ambiguous line in Holinshed. But it seems more likely that Shakespeare is performing a characteristically double operation in the field of ‘social memory’. For centuries Shakespeare’s predecessors (and rivals?) as ‘professional storytellers’, the Welsh bards, had been proclaiming the coming of a deliverer named Owain, and the English well understood the cause and effect of such prophecies. ‘The Welsh habit of revolt against the English is an old-standing madness,’ lamented a fourteenth-century scribe, ‘they still hope to recover England. Hence it is that the Welsh frequently rebel, hoping to give effect to the prophecy.’37 The potency of such foretelling was one reason that the English feared the bards. A Parliamentary proclamation of 1402 assailed ‘wasters, rhymers, minstrels, and other vagabonds’ in Wales.38 Glyn Dwr himself had a relation to prophecy that was also, it seems, somewhat double. He was descended on both sides of his family from Welsh princes and could claim to trace his lineage back to Brutus.39 As a patron of ‘rhymers’, he ‘showed himself to be deeply absorbed in their ancient lore and tradition’.40 They, in turn, praised him for his princely qualities, his bravery and his gravitas. ‘Battling in tournament’, one described him, shattering men’s bodies and overthrowing a hundred. Silence is commanded for him as he sits at table at the head of a goodly company. He will tolerate no disorder or injustice, a companion fit to mingle with earls.41   Quoted in Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, pp. 88–9. The writer refers specifically to ‘the sayings of the prophet Merlin’. 38   Quoted in Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 32. 39   On Glyn Dwr’s lineage, see Williams, Owain Glyndwr, pp. 12–14; Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, pp. 16–17, 193, and Davies, Revolt of Owain Gly Dwr, pp. 160–61. 40   Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 18. See also Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, pp. 88–93, 159. 41   Quoted in Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 61. 37

Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower


When a comet appeared in the heavens in the second year of his rebellion, they took it as a successor to the Star of Bethlehem and an omen of his success. The English, for their part, took reliance on prophecy as one of the hallmarks of his ambition. ‘Owen Glendour’, as the Mirror for Magistrates (1559) charges, ‘seduced by false prophecies tooke vpon him to be prince of Wales’.42 And, in point of historical fact, Glyn Dwr did base his claims to rule directly on prophecies. In a letter he wrote to the king of Scotland early in his revolt, he set forth his history, reminding his ‘dear cousin’ of their mutual ancestor in Brutus. ‘I … am descended directly from Cadwaladr’, he asserted, and ‘the prophecy says I will be delivered from the oppressions and bondages [of the English] by your aid’.43 But the Tripartite Indenture of 1405 contains an extraordinary proviso. Mortimer, Northumberland and Glyn Dwr will come to one another’s aid and sort out any quarrels amongst themselves, it states, and the territory of Britain will be divided among them, as Shakespeare depicts in Henry IV, Part 1. But this outcome will have to wait for the ‘passage of time’. When and if ‘it appears to the three lords … that they are indeed the persons of whom the Prophet speaks, between whom the governance of Greater Britain ought to be divided and partitioned, then’, and only then, will ‘they strive, communally and individually, to the best of their abilities to ensure that this is effected’.44 For Glyn Dwr, it appears, history waited upon prophecy, but its workings were not always evident. He might be the Owain of whom the bards had spoken, but that had yet to develop. In the meantime, he ‘consulted masters of prophecy as if they were political pundits and … larded his diplomatic correspondence with historical and prophetic lore’.45 When Shakespeare has Glendower proclaim, however, that At my nativity The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes, Of burning cressets, and at my birth The frame and huge foundation of the earth Shaked like a coward (3.1.12–16),

these antecedents, well known to him and to his London audience, seem to disappear. In their place is a stage Welshman who insists that his advent is, somehow, immensely portentous, and that the heavens and the earth itself are in collusion with his rebellion, but who invokes no history to clarify what his appearance signifies. All references to the Welsh traditions that animate him as a threat are collapsed back down into the comical absurdities of this overblown character, and his protest that ‘the earth did shake when I was born’ and ‘The heavens were all on fire’ (3.1.19, 22) is one more reason for Hotspur to needle him.   The Mirror for Magistrates, ed. Lily B. Campbell (Cambridge, 1938), p. 120.   Quoted in Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, pp. 158, 159. 44   Quoted in ibid., p. 167. 45  Ibid., p. 169. 42



Shakespeare and Wales

Here too, though, we may suspect that the implications of which Glendower has been so conspicuously dispossessed were not far from the minds of his auditors, or his author, for that matter. The particulars of Glyn Dwr’s revolt were too much in play for them just to disappear. Rather, what Shakespeare does is both pick up on and excise the full import of the Welshman’s rebellion. This revolt had been driven and justified by centuries of prophecy, and prophecy is, of course, one of the great themes of the Henriad, from Hal’s promise in the first play that he will ‘so offend to make offence a skill,/ Redeeming time when men think least I will’ (1.2.204–5), to his father’s realization in the next that ‘It hath been prophesied to me many years/ I should not die but in Jerusalem’46 (and that Jerusalem is closer than he thinks), to his fear, in that same play, that a ‘prophecy’ spoken by Richard II, the king whose crown he took, ‘foretell[s] this same time’s condition,/ And the division of our amity’ (3.1.68,77–8). Throughout the trilogy, Shakespeare unfolds the relations between what has been, what is, and what will be, and between what is foretold and what indeed happens. But when Glendower is onstage we see something else: punctual events stripped of temporal reference and related to one another only ambiguously. The heavens explode in flame (or do they?), livestock bolts in panic (‘strangely’?), and what is signified by these occurrences is not at all clear. They may presage the uprising of a Welsh noble against an English king, but this comes down to the claims of the character you see before you, and you are being given every reason to believe he is a blowhard. Shakespeare expected his audiences to take prophecy in the Henriad very seriously, that much is clear. In Glendower, he gave them a respite. But does not this suggest exactly what it was that Shakespeare was offering them – a chance to ignore the preceding bulk of Welsh tradition that would otherwise have freighted this character? Behind Owen Glendower, irate coxcomb and prophet manqué, we glimpse someone else, a figure more truly portentous and ominous, slipping into the obscurity that, as historians remind us, Shakespeare so deftly consigned him. One of the most striking choices Shakespeare made concerning Owain Glyn Dwr was to kill him off. His death is announced in the third act of Henry IV, Part 2 (1600). The king cannot sleep, troubled by the sense that his governance is uncertain and his conscience is unclean (‘Uneasy lies the head …’ [3.1.31]). He harks back to the prophecy of Richard II and asks, ‘Are these things then necessities?’ He had heard that the ‘Bishop and Northumberland’ are advancing on them ‘fifty thousand strong’ (3.1.91, 94, 95). Trying to reassure his fretful king, the Earl of Warwick protests that ‘Rumour doth double, like the voice and echo,/ The numbers of the feared.’ ‘To comfort you the more’, he adds, ‘I have received/ A certain instance that Glyndwr is dead’ (3.1.96–7, 101–2).47 Shakespeare has moved the death of Glyn Dwr from 1409 to 1407, two years earlier than the year

46   Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, ed. Rene Weis (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998) 4.3.366–7. Further references to this play will be given parenthetically. 47   Unlike most editors, Weis adopts the Welsh spelling of this character’s name.

Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower


he found in his source.48 Even so, he misses the actual date of his death by about … but that’s the problem. We don’t know when Glyn Dwr died, and neither did Shakespeare. Throughout his rebellion, the English had found the Welshman an elusive foe. They had proclaimed him an outlaw, and he was in fact apt to slip away when the odds did not favour him. Early in the war, one pursuer had to confess that ‘where’ Glyn Dwr was ‘I do not certainly know at present’, although he had captured ‘some armour of the said Owain, some horses and lances, and a drape of cloth’.49 After the battle of Pwll Melyn, they thought they had him. ‘[A]mong the dead bodies was found one much like unto Owen, whom [the English] supposed, and gave out, to be Owen that was slain; but upon further inquiry, it was found that it was not Owen, but his brother Tudor, who very much resembled him, and was often taken for him being hardly distinguished asunder, only Owen had a little wart above one of his eyebrows, which Tudor had not.’50 In 1413, the authorities paid one pound to ‘a certain Welshman, coming to London, and there continuing for a certain time to give information respecting the conduct and designs of “Ewain Glendourdy”’.51 In the event, they did not get their money’s worth. Glyn Dwr was beyond their reach. Possibly, he found refuge with his daughter Alys, who ‘lived in the secluded manor of Monnigton Straddel in the Golden Valley’.52 There, ‘he was fain to go up and down’, some said, ‘disguised in a shepherd’s habit’.53 But various rumors circulated, then and later: he had died on his estate in Sycharth, he had slipped away in shame, knowing he was not the Owain of the bards’ prophecy, he had escaped to France, he had ‘fled into desart places without companie; where in caves he continued and finished his misserable life’.54 The Mirror for Magistrates has him, distracted by hunger, eating his own ‘dung, … fleshe, and blud’.55 Adam of Usk, who may have had an insider’s knowledge, claimed that Glyn Dwr was buried, and then buried again, ‘and where his body was bestowed no man may know’.56 Inevitably, there were those who said that he was not dead at all. He was in a cave, true enough, but waiting there with his warriors to rise again.57 ‘Very many say that he died’, a Welsh chronicler famously noted in 1415, ‘the seers maintain that he did not.’58   See Weis, introduction, Henry IV, Part 2, p. 20.   Quoted in Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 49. 50   Quoted in ibid., pp. 127–8. 51  An entry in the Issue Rolls of 1413, quoted in ibid., p. 155. 52   Williams, Owain Glyndwr, p. 56. 53   Quoted in Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 160. 54   Quoted in ibid., p. 161. 55   Mirror for Magistrates, p. 129. 56   Quoted in Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 157. 57   On the afterlife of Glyn Dwr’s reputation and the persistence of legends concerning him in Wales, see Henken, National Redeemer. 58   Quoted in Hodges, Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 157. 48


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By the time Glyn Dwr came to be represented on Shakespeare’s stage, moreover, his lineal history had cut back and forth across that of the ruling house, sometimes running with its grain, sometimes not. What, for instance, might an Elizabethan reader have made of the resonances of the name of Owain’s brother, Tudor (or Tudur), whose corpse so resembled him, but for a wart? The chiming of this name and that of the Tudors was no coincidence. The great-grandfather of Henry VIII, the present queen’s father, had been a Welshman, Owain ap Tudur ap Maredudd. He had married Catherine of Valois when Henry V left her widowed, and the Tudors had since made much of their origins in Wales, claiming for themselves an ancient British descent. But his grandfather, Maredudd ap Tudur, had been Owain Glyn Dwr’s cousin, and he had supported his revolt. His brother, Rhys, was executed for his part in it. Go back far enough, that is, and the Tudors were not the royal family of England; they were Welsh rebels in league with Owain Glyn Dwr. Here is yet another reason why London auditors may have found it harder to ignore the Welsh history implied by Glendower than we might suppose, but also a reason, perhaps, why his appearance in Shakespeare’s play was the occasion for certain elisions in ‘social memory’. Glyn Dwr presented a problem to English rule: he did not so much negate as double the rubrics (Welsh, English, loyalist, traitor) that might be applied to him. But this was also a problem of English rule. Those who bore the name ‘Tudor’ had their share in it. In the early fifteenth century as in the late sixteenth, Glyn Dwr was a marauding outsider – who figured internal subversion as well. As he began his depredations, Henry IV was briefed that ‘the Welsh scholars who have been living at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge have departed for their own country; and also the Welsh labourers, who have been living at various places in the Realm of England, have suddenly retreated from the said realm to their own land of Wales, and have provided themselves with armour, bows and swords’.59 At Oxford, 14 were indicted for treason. ‘Welsh students … were accused of holding secret meetings in the public toilets … to plot against the king, to spy out the street plan of the city, and to send reports back to Owain on the state of the king and the kingdom’.60 Holinshed has a story (which Shakespeare also read) of the king getting into bed, only to sense just in time the presence of a ‘caltrop’ (a snare or ball, spiked), ‘& … the weight of his bodie should come upon the bed, he should have beene thrust in with those pricks, and peradventure slaine’. ‘Oh what a suspected state therefore is that of a king holding his regiment with the hatred of his people’, the historian laments. ‘Could he confidentlie compose or setle himselfe to sleepe?’ ‘What pleasure or what felicitie could he take in his princelie pompe, which he knew by manifest and fearefull experience, to be envied and maligned to the verie death?’ And Glyn Dwr’s death – or rather, his vanishing act – only prolonged such disquiet, helping to make him the symbol of intractable Welsh resistance that he was when Shakespeare took him up at the turn of the seventeenth century. When he 59

  Quoted in ibid., p. 43.  Davies, Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, p. 175.


Glyn Dwr, Glendouer, Glendourdy and Glendower


set a terminus to the life of Owain Glyn Dwr, Shakespeare was imposing a distinct endpoint on what was in fact a confusing welter of events. Where he received a Welsh rebel whose death was but a continuation of the conundrums he had posed to English authority in life, he left a figure whose death is crisply announced as a piece of battlefield intelligence. By announcing his demise, Shakespeare is putting paid to the death-defying reputation of a man who had become as troubling in his conspicuous absence as he was in his defiant life. Or is he? ‘Glyndwr is dead’ is decisive enough, but we may wonder whether the implications of his revolt have subtly shifted elsewhere in the scene. The king Holinshed describes, casting about for rest as he thinks of ‘Owen Glendouer and his Welshmen’ (p. 181), who is this but the Henry IV of this play? ‘O sleep, O gentle sleep … why li’st thou with the vile/ In loathsome beds, and leav’st the kingly couch/ A watch-case, or a common ‘larum-bell?’ (3.1.5, 15–17). Vexed by prophecies and frightened by rumours, ‘Upon [whose] tongues continual slanders ride … Stuffing the ears of men with false reports’ (1.induction.6, 8), this Henry is wracked by just those fears that the historical Glyn Dwr provoked. Glendower may disappear from the Henriad at this point, but his presence is felt, I would say, in the terrors he summons up, terrors that must be explicitly denied: ‘To comfort you the more, I have received/ A certain instance…’. Even when Glendower is not on the London stage, when his death is asserted as proof that mere ‘rumour’ can be discounted, since it ‘doth double, like the voice and echo/ The numbers of the feared’, those fears persist and find their voice and echo in this drama. Owain Glyn Dwr may indeed have slipped away somewhere in Wales, a defeated rebel. But reports of his death, to borrow a line, were greatly exaggerated.

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Chapter 4

Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words Megan Lloyd

On 22 June 1402, Owain Glyndŵr captured Edmund Mortimer at Bryn Glas. With Hotspur and the rest of the Percies later defecting to Glyndŵr’s side, and Mortimer marrying into the Glyndŵr family, Glyndŵr’s revolt transformed from a rebellious border skirmish by foreign rascals into a full-fledged campaign organized by a unified Welsh/English force of formidable foes. This morale boost for the Welsh caused the English to reinforce both militarily and legislatively. The English amassed troops in Shrewsbury, Hereford and Chester, and Henry IV ordered nine more strict laws to complement his six coercive acts meant to break the Welsh spirit and put an end to the Welsh rebellion. One law in particular directed ‘Against Wasters, Minstrels, &c., in Wales’ who peddled their verses to instill riot, read, ‘Item, to eschew many diseases and mischiefs which have happened before this time in the Land of Wales by many Wasters, Rhymers, Minstrels and other Vagabonds; It is ordained and stablished that no Waster, Rhymer, Minstrel nor Vagabond be in any wie sustained in the Land of Wales to make Commorthies or gathering upon the Common people there.’  Henry IV recognized the power of the Welsh language. The Welsh verses of these so-called ‘wasters’ or ‘ballad-mongers’ posed a viable threat to Henry IV’s command as they rallied the Welsh in support of Glyndŵr. Shakespeare, too, understood the effect of Welsh words. Unlike other playwrights of his day who employed Welsh for comic purposes, and unlike his own treatment of foreign language in other plays, in I Henry IV he fashions his own rhymer, minstrel Lady Mortimer who reveals Welsh to be a vital, resilient, resistant force. Through Lady Mortimer’s use of Welsh and Welsh only, and Mortimer’s response to her behaviour, Shakespeare aurally and visually represents the formidable power of the Welsh language. To understand the use of Welsh on the early modern stage, we must first understand the status of the Welsh in society. With the Tudors on the throne, many Welshmen journeyed to London, enticed by profit, employment, education and adventure. While the court was one destination, others from Wales found opportunity in the law, the Church, the university; some sought    See Glanmor Williams, Owain Glyndŵr (Cardiff, 1993), pp. 31–2, for more on Bryn Glas and its aftermath.   Ivor Bowen (ed.), The Statutes of Wales (London, 1908), p. 34.

Shakespeare and Wales


educational opportunities at Oxford and Cambridge, others worked as merchants and tradesmen in London, while still others ended up in London’s slums. Given the numbers of Welsh in London, Shakespeare wrote to and performed for an audience that included some, if not a significant number of, Welshmen.  How fluent or far removed from their native tongue these Welshmen were is difficult to determine. Bartley and Richards believe that ‘Welsh was probably one of the foreign languages of which a smattering was fairly widespread, especially of course in London and westward’. They think, too, that a London audience included Welsh speakers and some who had picked up ‘a few words of Welsh, even though it had the reputation of being difficult’. Enough of a Welsh-speaking community lived in London for the English to laugh at Fluellen’s plosives on stage. Laughter would be an Englishman’s primary response to hearing Welsh. In their history of the Welsh language Geraint H. Jenkins, Richard Suggett and Eryn M. White observe that the English considered Welsh, ‘spoken in the main by penurious and ignorant mountain dwellers, … not in any way a suitable vehicle for political discourse, administrative matters, high culture or polite social life’. Self-conscious about their Welsh language and their Welsh accented English, some Welshmen cautioned their fellow countrymen to ‘speak no Welsh to any that can speak English, no, not to your bedfellows’. Others aware of their own inadequacies in English expressed regret about their ‘disability’ almost in the same way Mortimer apologizes for his. For example, Thomas Madryn, Captain for the Earl of Essex, apologized to him in 1598 saying, ‘If I have in any wise offended you, either in speaking false English or other wise in my simple manner of speech, I beseech you to consider that I am a Welshman.’ Apprehensive about speaking their native tongue, the Welsh were at the same time critical of those who, for prestige, preferment, or power, presumably ‘lost’ their Welsh, as Gruffydd Robert   Gareth E. Jones, Modern Wales: A Concise History, 2nd edn (Cambridge, 1994), p. 36.    For more on the Tudor Welsh in London, see Arthur E. Hughes, Shakespeare and His Welsh Characters (London, 1919); W.J. Hughes, Wales and the Welsh in English Literature (Wrexham, 1924); Emrys Jones, The Welsh in London 1500–2000 (Cardiff, 2001); Peter R. Roberts, ‘The Welsh Language, English Law and Tudor Legislation’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1989): 19–75; Glanmor Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales c. 1415–1642 (Oxford, 1987); Gwyn A. Williams, The Welsh in Their History (London, 1982); Penry Williams, ‘Tudor Gentry’ in A.J. Roderick (ed.), Wales Through the Ages (Llandybie, Carms, 1960), vol. 2, pp. 34–6.    J.O. Bartley and Melville Richards, ‘The Welsh Language in English Plays’, Welsh Review, 6/1 (1947): 40.    Geraint H. Jenkins, Richard Suggett and Eryn M. White, ‘The Welsh Language in Early Modern Wales’, in Geraint Jenkins (ed.), The Welsh Language Before the Industrial Revolution (Cardiff, 1997), p. 81.    Quoted in Williams, ‘Tudor Gentry’, p. 37.    Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation, p. 464. 

Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words


put it; ‘For you will find some people, who as soon as they see the Severn, or the bell-towers of Shrewsbury, and once hear an Englishman say “Good morrow”, they begin to let their Welsh fall away.’ Another grieved: The gentry and others neglect and ignore the Welsh language; for most of the gentry cannot read or write Welsh, which puts them to shame. This causes the English to suppose and claim that the language is feeble, poor and valueless, without reward … Also some of the Welsh are so tasteless and shameless, that after one year in English, they claim to have forgotten their Welsh before they have learnt English. This vanity and childishness in the Welsh causes the English to suppose the language worthless.10

Grammarian John David Rhys observed that the gentry chose to speak ‘English, French, and Italian or any other foreign language whatever it might be’ as long as it was not Welsh.11 In society and on stage the Welshman was at a disadvantage as soon as he opened his mouth. While many Welsh themselves found little worth in their tongue, playwrights realized the comic value it held. Surveying Celtic types on the early modern stage, J.O. Bartley lists over 30 plays that contain Welsh characters. That number far exceeds the numbers of Irish or Scots characters on the early modern stage, with Welsh characters reaching a height of popularity in the 1620s. What made them popular – an interest in superstition, an affinity for cheese, a problem pronouncing ‘b’, ‘d’ and ‘g’, – also made them more suitable for comic roles.12 The English theatre-going audience had a taste for ‘Welsh gibberish’13 and plenty of playwrights satisfied that desire. Quoted in Gerald Morgan, The Dragon’s Tongue (Narberth, Pembs, 1966), p. 14.   Quoted in ibid., p. 22. 11   Quoted. in W. Ogwen Williams, ‘The Survival of the Welsh Language after the Union of England and Wales’, Welsh History Review, 2 (1964–65): 80–81. 12   For more on the stereotypical stage traits of the Welshman, see J.O. Bartley, Teague, Shenkin and Sawney (Cork, 1954), pp. 48–77; Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation, p. 465, and Hughes, Wales and the Welsh, pp. 35–6. 13  Declaring that ‘the theater was no place for the Elizabethan enthusiasm for Welsh gibberish’, William Archer tried to persuade Beerbohm Tree to cut half of Act III scene i of his 1896 production of I Henry IV. See S.P. Zitner, ‘Staging the Occult in I Henry IV’, in J.C. Gray (ed.), Mirror Up To Shakespeare (Toronto, 1984), p. 138. Gibberish, in its strictest sense, refers to unintelligible speech or nonsense words but has become a term of disdain and disregard for a specific language, revealing more about the listener’s inability to understand and interpret that language than it does about the language itself. William Archer’s 1896 phrase which discounts the Welsh language as gibberish echoes Hotspur’s critique of Glendower’s language, that ‘no man speaks better Welsh’ (III.i.49). Hotspur, Archer, and most of the English in the early modern period, believed that a language unintelligible to them was thus a language of little use and no importance to anyone, thus gibberish. 



Shakespeare and Wales

Following the preferences of the times, Shakespeare himself mocks the Welsh language and Welsh-pronounced English, writing his own comic Welshmen in the form of Sir Hugh Evans in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Fluellen in Henry V, and some would add Owen Glendower from I Henry IV. However, in I Henry IV, Shakespeare presents something different. Few plays from the early modern period include any Welsh lines, and of those featuring Welsh, all but I Henry IV employ Welsh for laughs.14 Dekker, Haughton and Chettle’s The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissil, demonstrates the humorous effect of the Welsh language. As in Act III scene i of I Henry IV, Patient Grissil requires a Welsh-speaking couple, an actor to play the Welsh-speaking Sir Owen ap Meredith and a boy actor to play the Welsh-speaking widow Gwenllian. In the play, these two characters resembling Shakespeare’s Kate and Petruchio court and quarrel with each other in Welsh. Peppered with ‘Taw sôn’ or ‘Shut up’, their scenes must have been real crowd pleasers. With Act III scene i of I Henry IV calling for the same combination of Welsh-speaking talent –a Welsh-speaking boy actor to play Lady Mortimer and a Welsh-speaking man cast as Glendower – Shakespeare’s characters seem ripe with comic possibility. Yet his Lady Mortimer is not someone we laugh at. Thomas Middleton presents the comic version of Lady Mortimer’s character in his parody from A Chaste Maid in Cheapside. Act IV scene i of this play requires only a Welsh-speaking boy to play the nameless Welsh Gentlewoman who attempts to communicate with her fiancé in Welsh. Middleton’s Welsh lady speaks some Welsh but reverts to English upon her fiancé’s request, ending the scene in contrast to Lady Mortimer, not with a Welsh song but an English one. Shakespeare does not demean his Welsh Lady by having her abandon her Welsh for English. In contrast to the compliant Welsh Gentlewoman and the shouting Gwenllian, Lady Mortimer speaks and sings Welsh and only Welsh. Combining the Elizabethan fondness for Welsh gibberish with the character of a strong Welsh female, Shakespeare offers his audience the language they wanted to hear but perhaps not in the form they had in mind. Combining pure, unadulterated Welsh language, not Welsh English, as well as genuine Welsh song, through Lady Mortimer Shakespeare presents neither a quaint interlude, nor a respite from battle, but a forceful, oral reminder of Welsh resistance. Thus, he shows his audience the effect of the Welsh language, something Henry IV knew as his act against ‘rhymers’ reveals, and something Shakespeare’s audience, so accustomed to hearing comic Welsh on stage and sniggering at it in the streets, needed to be reminded of.

14  Thomas Dekker, Henry Chettle and William Haughton’s The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissil (1600), Thomas Dekker’s Northward Ho! (1607), Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1611) and Ben Jonson’s masque, For the Honour of Wales (1618), are the only extant plays to contain a substantial amount of Welsh. Bartley and Richards, ‘The Welsh Language in English Plays’, transcribes and translates Welsh found in 24 dramatic works from 1542 to 1796. However, most of these works contain only one Welsh word or phrase.

Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words


Lady Mortimer’s monolingualism reminds both Welsh and English that Welsh speakers should neither apologize for nor silence their native tongues but speak Welsh proudly. So proud of the Welsh language is Lady Mortimer, that within the 75 lines of text during which she appears on stage, she interjects her Welsh five times: first in response to Glendower’s own Welsh words, then three times to express herself and finally through her Welsh song.15 This woman wants her Welsh to be heard. Although she forfeits meaning in her commitment to Welsh, relying on her father’s translations so others may understand her, she sees no need ever to use English. It is Mortimer, not his wife, who mourns their linguistic state. The thought of learning some words to converse with Mortimer never crosses her mind. Indeed her view of language contrasts with other linguistically challenged couples Shakespeare creates. Katherine of France in Henry V attempts to learn some words of English, realizing she must converse with Henry; Lady Mortimer, however, speaks only Welsh. The strength of Lady Mortimer’s character, shown in her demand to head toward the wars (III.i.192–3, 196–7), complements her linguistic resolve. Not a meek, shy lady in contrast to her powerful English-speaking lord, self-possessed Lady Mortimer knows that her behaviour, following Mortimer and speaking Welsh, expresses her commitment to family and nation. We may perceive this monoglot Lady’s worldview as bewilderingly naïve or pleasantly enlightened. If she were just any monoglot Welsh female, her Welsh exclusivity would be harmless. However, she is not just any Welsh female. As Glendower’s daughter and wife to the presumed heir to the throne, her resoluteness poses a threat.16 If the rebels prove successful, Mortimer becomes king, bringing with him a queen proud of her single Welsh voice who dares to sacrifice meaning for Welsh expression itself. Lady Mortimer’s steadfast interest in speaking Welsh may merely be a byproduct of circumstances. W. Ogwen Williams writes that like the English, the Welsh provided few educational opportunities for their daughters, believing that running a household was all the instruction they needed.17 However, her father, the worldly Glendower, able to move from Welsh country home to English court and 15  The stage directions to cue the Welsh words begin after line 195 and read, ‘Glendower speaks to her in Welsh, and she answers him in the same’, ‘The lady speaks in Welsh’, ‘The lady again in Welsh’, ‘The lady speaks again in Welsh’ and ‘Here the lady sings a Welsh song.’ All references to Shakespeare’s plays are taken from, The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans, 2nd edn (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997). 16  In I Henry IV, Mortimer is ‘proclaim’d / By Richard that dead is, the next of blood’ (I.iii.145–6) and later referenced as ‘Edmund Mortimer / Heir to the crown’ (I.iii.156–7). Following Holinshed, Shakespeare confuses the nephew, Edmund Mortimer, the fifth Earl of March, with his uncle, Edmund Mortimer, who married Glyndŵr’s daughter. Richard II names Roger Mortimer, the fourth Earl of March, heir presumptive. Edmund Mortimer, the fifth Earl of March, was named heir to Richard after the death of his father, Roger. 17   Williams, ‘The Survival of the Welsh Language’: 83.


Shakespeare and Wales

back with ease, knows that language prowess and especially bilingual ability is not only essential for survival but valuable as a tool for power and change. Why, then, has he taught his daughter no English? Glendower’s own educational experience may provide an answer. In response to Hotspur’s gibe, ‘Let me not understand you, then; / Speak it in Welsh’ (III.i.117–18), Glendower retorts, I can speak English, lord, as well as you; For I was train’d up in the English court; Where being but young I framed to the harp Many an English ditty lovely well And gave the tongue a helpful ornament, A virtue that was never seen in you. (III.i.119–24, emphasis added)

Glendower’s line, ‘Where being but young I framed to the harp’ (III.i.121) requires the phrase ‘being but young’, to complete the meter, but this phrase discloses his reaction towards his English upbringing. ‘[B]eing but young’, interrupts the line and captures a sense of inexperience. In his youth the naïve Glendower tried to integrate Welsh and English; as Glendower’s words suggest, he filled the English language with poetry and music, adapting English music to the Welsh harp and embellishing the English language with Welsh nuance. Throughout the scene the audience hears for themselves the ornamental, poetic and musical attributes that have aided Glendower in improving the English he speaks. Now, the seasoned Glendower views England and English differently. Perhaps Glendower chose not to taint his daughter with bilingualism and kept her language pure, resisting the popular sentiment of Shakespeare’s day for children of the gentry to learn English and remove all traces of their Welshness.18 Thanks to his experience being ‘train’d up in the English court’ Glendower makes a formidable adversary, but in his daughter he preserves Welsh. Bilingual or monolingual, each of the Glendowers frightens the English linguistically. Glendower poses a threat because he ‘can speak English, lord, as well as you’ (III.i.119) and thus sound like any Englishman.19 Because she speaks no English and makes no attempt to learn any, Lady Mortimer poses a different threat. In a play in the midst of a tetralogy about how language sets people apart and how the command of another’s language unites or divides, she remains the

18   William Jones of Newport, Monmouthshire, arranged for his children to be educated in Bristol so they would be ‘browght up according to the maneres and condicionez of the norture of Inglonde’. Another gentleman living in Abergavenny sent his son to London to speak English as well as any Englishman, ‘without any corruption from his mother tongue, which doth commonly infect men of our country, that they cannot speak English but that they are discovered by their vitious pronounciation or idiotisms’. See G. Dyfnallt Owen, Elizabethan Wales (Cardiff, 1962), pp. 43, 93–4. 19   Michael Neill, Putting History to the Question (New York, 2000), pp. 354–5.

Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words


one pure, untainted native Welsh voice. 20 Lady Mortimer is still very foreign, outside, beyond, completely other. In fact, her transgressive sound on stage viably threatens the English audience, despite the Acts of Union. Henry VIII’s Acts of Union officially incorporated Wales, abolishing any legal distinctions between Wales and England, so that ‘in the eyes of the world, the Welsh would henceforth be English’.21 Most onerous to the Welsh was the ‘language’ clause from the first Act of Union (1536) which ultimately sought to create an English-speaking ruling class. 22 Although the language clause curbed the use of Welsh officially, some parts of Welsh life continued totally and unabashedly Welsh, in defiance of the language clause, following instead Welsh governmental policy for some time after Henry’s VIII’s Acts and in some cases indefinitely. Llinos Beverly Smith tells the story of a land dispute, the Llwyn Gwyn arbitration of 1540, well after Henry VIII’s language clause but ‘[w]ritten entirely in Welsh and made in accord with the precepts of native Welsh law’.23 Despite the Acts of Union, many officials, those who enforced English law and managed church and parish, remained monoglot Welsh.24 During Elizabeth I’s reign, the Council in the Marches of Wales read and published in Welsh instructions for justices on how to suppress felonies in Merionethshire. As late as 1603, Welsh was still being used officially. Bishop Morgan in Denbigh delivered in Welsh the proclamation to announce James I’s reign.25 Lady Mortimer exhibits this same Welsh defiance and disregard for English law as she speaks and sings only her native tongue. The freedom with which she uses Welsh before a bilingual audience and feels no shame or dishonor in doing so, makes her a living, theatrical symbol of yr iaith,26 a champion for the Welsh theater goers in London who were ridiculed for their language and Welsh ways, and a cautionary emblem 20

  Mowbray forfeits his language in exile. Mortimer cannot speak Welsh but yearns to do so; Glendower is bilingual; Hal/Henry V moves easily from tavern to court to camp speaking the appropriate words for the appropriate audience. He also speaks some French. Both Katherine of France and Alice speak broken English. Fluellen speaks English and little Welsh. 21   John Davies, The Making of Wales (Cardiff, 1996), p. 68. 22  The language clause read, ‘utterly to extirpe alle and singuler the sinister usages and customes differinge frome the same and to bring his said subiectes of this his Realme and of his said dominion of Wales to an amiable concorde’. Bowen, The Statutes of Wales, p. 76. 23  Llinos Beverly Smith, ‘The Welsh Language before 1536’, in Geraint Jenkins (ed.), The Welsh Language before the Industrial Revolution (Cardiff, 1997), p. 44. 24   Williams, ‘The Survival of the Welsh Language’: 73. 25   Morgan, The Dragon’s Tongue, pp. 41–2. 26   ‘Yr iaith’ is Welsh for ‘the language’ but connotes the language, i.e., Welsh. In the Middle Ages, language and history were united in the word iaith. The Welsh word anghyfaith, literally, ‘without the language’, denoted a stranger, while, cyfiaith, or ‘common language’, meant friend or fellow countryman. See Smith, ‘The Welsh Language before 1536’, p. 38.

Shakespeare and Wales


for the English in the audience who needed to see another side of Welshness, one proud of heritage, culture and language itself. On stage, Lady Mortimer, her self, her language and her song, represent the last pure, untouched remnants of Wales, untainted by English intrusion. Ironically, she marries the English Mortimer, but Shakespeare uses this incongruity to further champion the Welsh language. To prevent from forfeiting what they had gained with the Tudors on the throne, the Welsh gentry kept territory, money, and thus power and influence to themselves through ‘inter-regional’ marriages, uniting families of North and South Wales. G. Dyfnallt Owen writes that to produce a strongly rooted gentry, ‘the Stradlings of St. Donats, in Glamorgan, married the Griffiths of Penrhyun, in Caernarvonshire, and the Maurices of Clenennau … allied themselves with the Johns of Abermarlais, in Carmarthenshire’.27 The historical Catrin Glyndŵr/Edmund Mortimer marriage similarly consolidated power to achieve the same effect, a union of families, territories and, more importantly, political influence. For Glyndŵr, Mortimer was Welsh. Not only did he claim territory in Wales after his marriage, but he also had Welsh blood. The marriage of Edmund Mortimer and Catrin Glyndŵr reinforced the thirteenth-century union of Edmund Mortimer’s ancestor, Ralph Mortimer of Wigmore and Gwladus Ddu, daughter of Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, prince of Gwynedd.28 It should also be noted that, like the mixed ancestry of her husband, Catrin Mortimer was also a product of intermarriage, her parents the Welsh Owain Glyndŵr, and her mother the English Margaret Hanmer. Margaret Hanmer was the daughter of Sir David Hanmer, chief justice of the King’s bench whose family had settled north-east Wales during the time of Edward I. Well established in Wales for generations, the Hanmer family were considered as Glanmor Williams calls them, ‘as Welsh as the Welsh themselves’29 and most probably bilingual.30 Although the historical Edmund Mortimer and Catrin Glyndŵr each descended from a mix of Welsh and English blood, for Shakespeare’s dramatic purpose their marriage united England and Wales.31 With Edmund Mortimer the heir to the king of England and Catrin Glendower a daughter to the Prince of Wales, this theatrical

  Owen, Elizabethan Wales, p. 15.   For more discussion on this marriage and its ramifications for Owain Glyndŵr, see R.R. Davies, The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dŵr (Oxford, 1995), pp. 176–80. 29   Williams, Owain Glyndŵr, p. 17. 30   For more on Glyndŵr’s connection to the Hanmer family, see Davies, The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dŵr, pp. 136–7. 31  Historically, Mortimer’s rejection of the king who would not ransom him and his allegiance to Glyndŵr gave Glyndŵr access to Henry Percy, Mortimer’s brother-in-law, and son of the Earl of Northumberland, and perhaps more importantly, Mortimer’s nephew, the Earl of March, who had a better claim to the throne than Henry IV. Mortimer’s marriage to Catrin Glyndŵr simply sealed the alliance. 27


Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words


Glendower/Mortimer union created a formidable political and military power and viable challenge to Henry IV.32 Although the Glendower/Mortimer marriage may be considered an ‘interregional’ marriage typical of the time, it also resembles the English Welsh unions that were also occurring under the Tudors, as the fathers of Welsh daughters like Glendower himself sought to increase holdings and position by marrying into the English aristocracy.33 Welsh women marrying into English families needed some basic English.34 Thus, with this marriage between Welsh daughter and noble English son, the audience may expect Lady Mortimer to speak some English. However, Lady Mortimer’s devotion to her country, its language and culture, outweighs her strong love and commitment to Mortimer, and she will not submit, yield or surrender her language, and thus her very essence, even for the man she loves, at least in this farewell scene. Granted, Act III scene i comes on the eve of departure, and up until this point, the Mortimers have had little time to think about language acquisition. Like her foreign counterpart Katherine of France, Lady Mortimer may use Mortimer’s absence to learn some English even if she fails to speak any English now. However, this seems unlikely. Staunch Lady Mortimer will not alter her language for anyone, even her husband – he must learn hers. This defiant voice on stage may have astonished audiences since it ‘resists incorporation’ as Terence Hawkes notes.35 More astonishing, however, is Mortimer’s response. Historically, hearing the Welsh bards, many Welsh joined Glyndŵr to fight the English. In I Henry IV, listening to Lady Mortimer’s Welsh words, an Englishman not only accepts and defends Welsh but desires to speak this language of ignorant mountain dwellers. The Mortimer Shakespeare constructs is an optimistic listener. All words out of his mouth emphasize his desire to understand, support and accommodate others to produce harmony. Content with his fate, as unransomed prisoner of the rebel Glendower, the forward-looking Mortimer takes measures to survive, first by marrying Glendower’s daughter. In Mortimer, Glendower has found Catrin the perfect husband, tolerant and accommodating.36 The first words out of Mortimer’s 32

  The historical Glyndŵr declared himself Prince of Wales in 1400 and had legitimate claims to this title. See Davies, The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dŵr, pp. 129–32. 33   Jones, Modern Wales: A Concise History p. 47. 34   Williams, ‘The Survival of the Welsh Language’: 83. 35   Quoted in note to ‘From Act III, Scene I of Henry IV Part I: Prompt Copy Excerpts of Welsh Passages’, William Shakespeare, The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, ed. Barbara Hodgdon (Boston, 1997), p. 272, n. 2. 36   Glendower operates through accommodation. For example, he tolerates Hotspur no matter what he says. And he is willing to divide land, giving equal amounts of territory to the potential victors. ‘Come, you shall have Trent turned’ (III.i.134), he tells the maddened Hotspur. The Glendower/Mortimer marriage is also a union of accommodation. A fierce warrior and shrewd strategist, Glendower knows that this marriage will unite territories and peoples.


Shakespeare and Wales

mouth signal his positive outlook: ‘These promises are fair, the parties sure, / And our induction full of prosperous hope’ (III.i.1–2). Before his wife takes the stage, Mortimer functions as peacemaker and arbiter between Glendower and Hotspur and does what he must to mend their dispute. Twice he tries to stop their argument, and when Glendower leaves the stage, he reprimands Hotspur for taunting him. Later, when the map of the divided Britain arrives, Mortimer characteristically approves the division, with, ‘The Archdeacon hath divided it / Into three limits very equally’ (III.i.71–2), and although Hotspur complains, wanting ‘Trent turn’d’ (III.i.134), Mortimer cheerfully accepts his portion as is. Mortimer’s sympathetic, accommodating nature goes further with his wife. ‘With all my heart I’ll sit and hear her sing’ (III.i.220), Mortimer replies in response to Glendower’s translations of Lady Mortimer’s words. Mortimer ends the scene with the same phrase, ‘With all my heart’ (III.i.266) in response to Glendower’s request to leave. By having Mortimer repeat this heartfelt sentiment Shakespeare underscores this Englishman’s commitment to Wales and the Welsh language.37 That commitment especially centres on learning Welsh, as he knows the most effective way to ensure harmony is through common language. When his wife first appears on stage, Mortimer complains about their communication problems: ‘This is the deadly spite that angers me: / My wife can speak no English, I no Welsh’ (III. i.190–91). The problem-solving Mortimer cannot accept their predicament, so he works throughout the rest of the scene to rectify their language problem, choosing to change his ways but not alter hers. Mortimer is just as determined to learn Welsh and understand his wife as she is to speak Welsh only. Thus, he responds to all the Welsh she says to him, with each response centring on his resolve to comprehend. ‘I understand thy looks … / I understand thy kisses and thou mine, / And that’s a feeling disputation’ (III.i.196, 200–201), he replies, acknowledging that her looks and kisses will help him know her better. Yet, he also realizes that these are no substitute for knowing Welsh. ‘But I will never be a truant, love, / Till I have learned thy language’ (III.i.202–3), he declares, his goal, to understand her completely in her native tongue. His desire to learn Welsh may be dismissed as appropriate behaviour for the captive Mortimer. Writing about the dilemma monoglot Welsh speakers faced, William Gambold in his 1727 A Welsh Grammar acknowledges that ‘the Language of such, must as well give way to the Language of the Conquerors; as the Necks of the Inhabitants must truckle under the yokes of their Subduers’.38 As the subdued, Mortimer would want to learn Welsh. However, as Shakespeare has constructed him, Mortimer’s nature is to work for peace, and learning Welsh achieves that. If all goes well, Mortimer would become not only conquered but conqueror, king of England as Richard II’s designated heir. In fact, Lady Mortimer and Glendower foreshadow what may come if Glendower, Mortimer and the Percies 37   Mortimer sounds like an Arthur Kelton or other cambrophiles of his time. See Philip Schwyzer’s discussion of Welsh ‘ventriloquists’ in Chapter 2 of this volume. 38   Quoted. in Jenkins et al., ‘The Welsh Language in Early Modern Wales’, pp. 63–4.

Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words


are successful. According to Glendower’s translation, Lady Mortimer wants to ‘sing the song that pleaseth you / And on your eyelids crown the god of sleep’ (III. i.213–14). Her words charm and refresh Mortimer for his journey to Shrewsbury, most specifically by calling on the god of sleep to give him much needed rest. However, the crown reference, heard in Lady Mortimer’s Welsh and reiterated in Glendower’s translation, cannot be merely poetic coincidence. Mortimer may have another reason for his compliance. Knowing Welsh could make him a remarkable king. Welsh was the language of ‘the parlour and long gallery’ in Tudor Wales, the place ‘where ladies sat and talked’.39 To control the household during the period, one would need to speak Welsh. Thus, English wives of the Welsh gentry learned Welsh.40 Perhaps by association, Shakespeare’s tolerant Mortimer knows that to control the household of Britain, one must speak Welsh as well. While Mortimer’s intense feeling for his wife and her language makes him a good husband, this wish to learn Welsh and thus gain access to the Welsh-speaking world reveals his political acumen. Mortimer welcomes the foreign and his openness is refreshing especially in contrast to the closed mind of another, Henry V, who marries a foreigner for similar political and territorial reasons. Both men describe their ladies’ voices as being ‘musical’. Mortimer says his wife ‘Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties highly penn’d, / Sung by a fair queen in a summer’s bower, / With ravishing division, to her lute’ (III.i.206–8). Henry calls his soon to be betrothed’s voice ‘broken music; for thy voice is music and thy English broken’ (V.ii.243–4). Mortimer’s comparison uplifts and applauds his wife’s voice and language. In fact he values her monolingualism. Henry belittles and demeans Katherine’s linguistic ability. ‘Ravishing’ is an interesting word for Mortimer. Its use may suggest how besotted and captivated he is with his wife. This praise and compliance on Mortimer’s part define him as weak to many readers of the play,41 but he need not be played that way. What others have taken to be a mesmerizing effect, the enchantress luring Mortimer to do her will, we might also read as the powerful bardic poet Catrin Mortimer using her words to encourage action. For the audience on stage, as well as the theatre audience itself, Lady Mortimer’s words and song require response and inspire positive action, especially on the part of Mortimer who makes no demands 39

  Williams, ‘The Survival of the Welsh Language’: 84.  Penry Williams, ‘The Political and Administrative History of Glamorgan, 1536– 1642’, in Glanmor Williams (ed.), Glamorgan County History (Cardiff, 1974), vol. 4, p. 118. 41   See Christopher Highley, ‘Wales, Ireland and I Henry IV’, Renaissance Drama, 21 (1990): 91–114; Jean E. Howard and Phyllis Rackin, Engendering a Nation: A Feminist Account of Shakespeare’s English Histories (London, 1997), p. 170; Linda Austern, ‘“Sing Againe Syren”: Female Musicians and Sexual Enchantment in Elizabethan Life and Literature’, Renaissance Quarterly, 42 (1989): 397–419; and Linda Austern, ‘“Alluring the Auditorie to Effemincie”: Music and the Idea of the Feminine in Early Modern England’, Music and Letters, 74/3 (1993): 343–54. 40

Shakespeare and Wales


on his Welsh wife and wants desperately to understand her. This very open and accepting nature and willingness to learn Welsh on the part of an Englishman and potential heir to the throne may have disturbed many in Shakespeare’s audience. Mortimer resists anglicization for his wife but demands cymricization for himself, and this action is volatile. In the Mortimers, Shakespeare forms a powerful pro-Welsh couple. On stage, Lady Mortimer presents the Welsh language as a positive, compelling force, and Mortimer serves as an English spokesman for the Welsh, not only admiring the language but the people as well.42 For example, Mortimer describes a side of Glendower that contentious Hotspur overlooks. In doing so, his words also depict many Welshmen of Shakespeare’s day: In faith, he is a worthy gentleman, Exceedingly well read, and profited In strange concealments, valiant as a lion And wondrous affable and as bountiful As mines of India. Shall I tell you, cousin? He holds your temper in a high respect And curbs himself even of his natural scope When you come ’cross his humour; faith, he does: I warrant you, that man is not alive Might so have tempted him as you have done, Without the taste of danger and reproof. (III.i.163–73)

Not simply cheese-loving mountain dwellers, the Welsh are well read, generous, friendly, and, like Glendower who tolerates a great deal from Hotspur, the Welsh also endure much from the English. Although Shakespeare chooses to emphasize the Welsh language through Lady Mortimer’s words and song, he does not have to endorse the Welsh language through the voice of an Englishman. From playwrights to nobles to townspeople, few saw anything valuable in Welsh. By placing Mortimer, a Welsh sympathizer, on the stage, Shakespeare violates the traditional English treatment of the Welsh language and promotes an openness and accommodation for a language found comical and humorous at the very least, and often deemed barbarous or uncivilized,


 In fact, Mortimer is just the right kind of English reader for whom Welsh humanist William Salesbury wrote his A Briefe and a Playne Introduction, Teachyng How to Pronounce the Letters in the British Tong (1550). Through this book he hoped Englishmen would learn the Welsh language.

Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words


a language Henry IV feared, Elizabeth I reluctantly acknowledged43 and Henry VIII vowed ‘utterly to extirp’.44 Of course any arguments about the Welsh language in I Henry IV collapse when we realize that the text provides no notation of the Welsh Lady Mortimer or Glendower spoke in the play. While this lack of scripted Welsh raises questions – Was the text lost? Was the content too dangerous for print? Do we add to Shakespeare’s little Latin and less Greek, no Welsh? – its absence need not be an obstacle for interpretation.45 Shakespeare’s treatment of other languages may reveal why nothing is recorded for Lady Mortimer and Glendower to speak. In other plays, Shakespeare transcribes foreign language. Henry V contains substantial amounts of French. In Act III scene iv, Shakespeare pens a completely French scene in which Katharine of France learns English from her gentlewoman, Alice. In Act IV scene iv the Boy, a fluent French speaker, translates between Pistol and a Frenchman. The Constable and Orleance begin Act IV scene v with French, and in Act V scene ii Henry V and Katherine speak a smattering of French. Shakespeare even transcribes gibberish in All’s Well that Ends Well. In Act IV scene i and Act IV scene iii of that play French lords speak gibberish to Parolles but pretend to understand it. In all of these examples, Shakespeare employs foreign language for comic purposes. For the comedy to work, foreign words, even gibberish, must be transcribed for actors to communicate the jokes. In I Henry IV Shakespeare treats the Welsh language differently. Comedy surrounds the Welsh language in the play, but no laughs depend on foreign words themselves, as they do, for instance, in Act III scene iv of Henry V. Before Shakespeare’s audience hears pure Welsh on stage, Hotspur belittles Glendower’s words and their effect. His ‘no man speaks better Welsh’ (III. i.49) to Glendower’s boasts and his later retort, ‘Let me not understand you, then; /Speak it in Welsh’ (III.i.117–18), deflate the power of Glendower’s English and most likely produce a laugh among the English audience members all too familiar with Welsh pronunciations. Later, lacking any artistic sensibilities, Hotspur also complains, ‘I had rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish’ (III.i.236) when Lady Mortimer begins to sing. This line also produces a laugh but is not dependent on any specific Welsh words for its comedy. In fact, after hearing Lady Mortimer sing, the audience may judge Hotspur’s analysis. Critic of the ballad-mongers, Hotspur works to negate the effects of Welsh words, whatever they are, but to no avail, and his derision, coming from the mouth of Hotspur whose Northumbrian pronunciations themselves challenge the King’s English, provides the comedy. 43

 To help spread Protestantism, Elizabeth I allowed ‘The Act for Translating of the Bible and the Divine Service into the Welsh Tongue’. See Bowen, The Statutes of Wales, p. 151. 44  Ibid., p. 76. 45   The difficulty associated with performing Act III scene i, particularly the Welshlanguage portion, prevented half the scene from being staged for almost 150 years. See Zitner, ‘Staging the Occult in I Henry IV’, pp. 138–9.


Shakespeare and Wales

By recording French in Henry V Shakespeare demonstrates his bilingual writing abilities and also gives his actors access to the language; presumably they were not French speakers themselves. Like the French scene in Henry V, Act III scene i of I Henry IV requires not one but two foreign language speakers for the scene to work. Thus, in I Henry IV Shakespeare had at his disposal not one but two Welsh speakers capable and conversant enough for the scene to succeed. Certainly the names of actors suggest that some were Welsh. Henslowe’s Diary includes the names Robert Gough, Jack Jones and Richard Jones. Other possibly Welsh actors include John Jones, Daniel Jones, Samuel Daniel, Henry Evans, Richard Price and John Rice.46 Bilingual Welsh actors cast as Lady Mortimer and Glendower first simplify the rehearsal process, for no actor then must learn difficult, transcribed Welsh lines. Bilingual actors also eliminate Shakespeare’s need to transcribe any Welsh since the actors could speak Welsh to each other quite easily, in or out of character. Thus, this lack of scripted Welsh reveals a trust between the playwright Shakespeare and the boy actor playing Lady Mortimer. Shakespeare could rely on this actor to improvise and say the appropriate Welsh words that Glendower translates in the scene. Presumably, Glendower’s translations reveal the Welsh words Lady Mortimer speaks, so transcribing them in the script would have been redundant. The Welsh words could not have been gibberish as the Welsh audience members would have detected false Welsh. What Lady Mortimer says, whether Glendower’s translations are accurate renderings close to her original Welsh, poetic embellishments on his part, or incredible inventions appropriate for that moment, carries little weight for Shakespeare’s audience then or now. Thus, the lack of transcribed Welsh should be of little import. That she speaks Welsh is paramount, essential. In fact, other contributors to this volume consider the effect of her words. In Chapter 2, Philip Schwyzer asserts that the Welsh in I Henry IV was unlike the Welsh heard in other plays. Later in this volume, Huw Griffiths explores how the English received those words.47 Although Lady Mortimer remains textually silent to all throughout history, she still maintains a dignified status nonetheless, and her lines must be heard, no matter how unintelligible or difficult to express simply for the effect they create. Lady Mortimer’s Welsh words and mesmerizing if incomprehensible song recall the bardic verses that troubled Henry IV so much. Like the volatile words of these Welsh ‘rhymers, wasters and minstrels’, Lady Mortimer’s Welsh will not be quelled and will turn others, namely her husband, to the Welsh cause. 46   Henslowe’s Diary, ed. R.A. Foakes and R.T. Rickert (Cambridge, 1961), pp. 326– 33. See also Glanmor Williams, Religion, Language and Nationality in Wales (Cardiff, 1979), p. 189; Bartley, Teague, Shenkin and Sawney, p. 49; and Hughes, Shakespeare and His Welsh Characters, p. 19. 47   See Chapter 2, ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking Like a Welshman: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries’, especially p. 40, and Chapter 7, ‘“O, I am ignorance itself in this”: Listening to Welsh in Shakespeare and Armin’, especially pp.121–6.

Rhymer, Minstrel Lady Mortimer and the Power of Welsh Words


Welsh is not subordinate in I Henry IV. Not succumbing to the customary theatrical treatment of the Welsh, so often ridiculed, sullied, made comic for comedy’s sake, Shakespeare celebrates the language. Indeed, we must qualify this celebration; in a play overshadowed by Hal and Falstaff, not even scripted, the Welsh language occurs in one scene coming primarily out of the mouth of a female character, played by an unspecified boy actor. In spite of all that relegates Welsh to the margins of the play, Lady Mortimer’s unabashed proclamation of the Welsh language and her husband’s enthusiasm for it elevate its status for an audience expecting a more humorous treatment of it. Not quelled, subdued, belittled, devalued and taken for granted, rhymer, minstrel Lady Mortimer and her Welsh language remind Shakespeare’s audience of the force, resistance, resilience and resolve of the Welsh people. In Act III scene i of I Henry IV Shakespeare compels his audience to venture into a Welsh world where the English must listen, may acknowledge and might even welcome what is Welsh.

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Chapter 5

‘bastard Normans, Norman bastards’: Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift Christopher Ivic

... before 1536, the status of the Welsh in the kingdom of England had been anomalous … Thereafter, in the eyes of the law, the Welsh were English. Yet it would be equally valid to argue – as there was no longer any advantage in boasting of the condition of being English – that henceforth everyone living in Wales was Welsh, a principle which would be built upon over succeeding generations.

Although published in 1611–12, John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, the earliest comprehensive atlas of Britain and Ireland, sheds valuable light on late Elizabethan and early Jacobean English perspectives on Wales’s status as an awkward neighbour within the kingdom of England. Speed’s Theatre also invites further exploration of early modern concepts of national identity within the context of an expanding English or British state, a subject, as we shall see, that surfaces repeatedly in Shakespeare’s The Life of Henry the Fift. Subtitled An Exact Geography of the Kingdomes of England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Iles adioyning, Speed’s Theatre, by omitting Wales from the title page, ostensibly presents Wales as a principality thoroughly annexed to the kingdom of England. Within the folio sheets of Speed’s atlas, however, the subject of Wales’s incorporation is ambiguous. Speed’s Theatre consists, on the one hand, of cartographic images of kingdoms, provinces, counties and shires and, on the other, of chorographical descriptions of these respective geopolitical units. The Theatre is divided into four books that delineate and describe the kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland

  John Davies, A History of Wales (London, 1990), p. 233.   Speed’s Theatre was the culmination of many years of labour. According to R.A. Skelton, Speed compiled the atlas between 1596 and 1610, which is why I suggest that the Theatre can be categorized as a product of the Elizabethan as well as the Jacobean period. See R.A. Skelton, County Atlases of the British Isles, 1579–1850 (London, 1970). Thanks to that residual Elizabethan Fulke Greville, Queen Elizabeth appointed Speed in 1598 a customs waiter.  

Shakespeare and Wales


as well as the Principality of Wales. All four of these books open with a general map of the respective kingdom or principality: i.e., maps of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – in this order. Only on the maps of England (Figure 5.1), Ireland and Scotland, however, does Speed place in the margins images of figures in national dress. The map of Wales (Figure 5.2) contains vignettes of the 12 shire towns as well as vignettes of the cathedrals of Wales’s four diocesans. No national figures grace the map’s margins. Why is the map of Wales the only national map to exclude human figures? By omitting national figures from the map of Wales is Speed offering his early modern readers an image of a politically and culturally incorporated Wales? That is, does the absence of Welsh bodies on the map of Wales suggest that Speed viewed the people of Wales as English? If Speed did regard Wales as fully incorporated into the kingdom of England, then he would not have been alone in this regard. In fact, much of the literature on a potential union between the kingdoms of England and Scotland produced in the wake of King James’s accession to the English throne invoked Wales as an ideal model of political, legal, economic and cultural incorporation. ‘In the early seventeenth-century literature on Anglo-Scottish union,’ Brian Levack writes, ‘the Welsh were frequently referred to as having become one people with the English.’ John Thornborough’s Ioiefvll and Blessed Revniting the two mighty & famous kingdomes, England & Scotland into their ancient name of great Brittaine (1605), for example, speaks of ‘Our Countrie men, & neighbors of Wales’. For Thornborough, the Welsh are at once England’s fellow ‘Countrie men’ yet also ‘neighbors’ of the English: an awkward phrasing that suggests the Welsh are of England but still outside England or, perhaps, of England but not exactly English. In another pro-union pamphlet published in 1604, William Cornwallis offers the following brief narrative on Wales’s incorporation: Wales is Englished, a country whose riches did not woe vs, nor her power, nor the fertility of the soyle; but the discommodities that we might receiue by them whilest they were held as Aliens, beeing matter to feed discontented or ambitious plottes, this was the furthest and onely aduantage we expected, which since it 

 Compared to England, Ireland and Wales, Scotland is far from comprehensively represented.   The map of England includes ‘A Lady’, ‘A Gentleman’, ‘A Citizens wife’, ‘A Countryman’, etc.; the map of Ireland includes ‘The Gentleman of Ireland’, ‘The Civill Irish woman’, ‘The Wild Irish man’, etc. With its royal figures (King James, Queen Anna, the Princes Henry and Charles), the map of Scotland is somewhat anomalous.   Brian P. Levack, The Formation of the British State: England, Scotland, and the Union 1603–1707 (Oxford, 1987), p. 22.    John Thornborough, The Ioiefvll and Blessed Revniting the two mighty & famous kingdomes, England& Scotland into their ancient name of great Brittaine (Oxford, 1605), p. 43. A similar phrase is used by Richard Harvey, as discussed by Philip Schwyzer in this volume.

Fig. 5.1

Map of England and Wales, from John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (1611–12), by

Fig. 5.2

Map of Wales, from John Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, by permission of the

Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift


lay within the power of our incorporating to cure, and that nature had performed halfe the worke, with the alliance of countries so neerly knit together vpon one continent, wee performed.

Like many Englishmen, Cornwallis imagines England’s incorporation of Wales as an event that did both the English and the Welsh a favour. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries – a period when writers across Britain were advancing, contemplating, ridiculing and rejecting union questions – Wales occupied a central place in reflections on state formation: The very success of the Welsh union in integrating the Welsh and English economies, in spreading writ culture and English Protestantism throughout Wales, in integrating Welsh elites into the societies of the west of England, and in making Wales perhaps the least rebellious region in the whole archipelago, made unreflective Englishmen assume that it was just the kind of union England should have with Scotland.

Speed’s Theatre is a different text than the pro- and anti-union tracts and treatises that circulated in print and manuscript form between the years of 1603 and 1606, yet it is an invaluable text precisely because Speed’s map of Wales illustrates Wales’s anomalous post-1536 status. The absence of human figures on Speed’s map of Wales raises the following question: have the Welsh, in Speed’s eyes, been so effectively anglicized that representing them in national dress would be redundant? In other words, given that the map of the kingdom of England is a cartographical representation of both England and Wales, perhaps the figures on this map stand for all of the people living on the land depicted on the map: that is, English as well as Welsh subjects. ‘For the English,’ John Morrill suggests, ‘the Welsh were as English as the Cornish were.’ Perhaps Speed’s Theatre buttresses Morrill’s claim. As we shall see, many literary historians would suggest that Morrill could also call upon Shakespeare’s The Life of Henry the Fift for support, although Pistol would have us believe otherwise. One of the results of the so-called Acts of ‘Union’ (statutes enacted and enforced by the English parliament between 1536 and 1543) was that the ‘border

   William Cornwallis, The Miracvlovs and Happie Union of England and Scotland; by how admirable meanes it is effected; how profitable to both Nations, and how free of any inconuenience either past, present, or to be discerned (1604), sig. D4v-Er.    John Morrill, ‘The Fashioning of Britain’, in Steven G. Ellis and Sarah Barber (eds.), Conquest & Union: Fashioning a British State, 1485–1725 (London and New York, 1995), pp. 8–39, p. 18.    John Morrill, ‘The British Problem, c. 1534–1707’, in Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill (eds.), The British Problem, c. 1534–1708: State Formation in the Atlantic Archipelago (Macmillan, 1996), pp. 1–38, p. 6.

Shakespeare and Wales


between Wales and England was clearly drawn for the first time’.10 If this is true, then surely an early seventeenth-century atlas, more than any other cultural artifact, would bear witness to a clear and coherent demarcation. Speed’s map of the kingdom of England definitely delineates the boundary between England and Scotland: the parts of Scotland that Speed makes visible occupy a relatively blank space on the map. The same cannot be said of England’s other contiguous neighbour, for Wales, unlike Scotland, is not visibly demarcated from England on the general map of the kingdom of England. Of course, as one historian observes, one of the goals of incorporating Wales was to erase the border: ‘as the purpose of the statute [27 Henry VIII c.26] was to incorporate Wales into England, the location of the Welsh border was irrelevant to the purposes of it framers’.11 However, one map that, not surprisingly, indicates the border between Wales and England is the general map of Wales.12 But even this map seems to raise more questions than it answers. Consider, for example, Speed’s depiction and placement of Monmouthshire. Monmouthshire, which was administratively English but predominantly Welsh speaking, is included on the map of Wales.13 However, the town of Monmouth is excluded from the vignettes of Welsh shire towns. More confusion surrounds Speed’s account of Monmouthshire, for it is listed in the contents of the chorographical descriptions under ‘The First Booke’, which describes ‘the whole Kingdome in generall, with those Shires, Cities, and Shire-townes, which are properly accounted for English’.14 The reader finds the chorographical description of Monmouthshire not in the first book but rather in ‘The Second Booke. Containing the Counties of Wales’. In his general description of Wales, Speed writes: ‘Monmouth shire by Act of Parlament … was pluckt away wholly from Wales, and laid to England, one of whose Counties and Shires, it was from that time forward, and is at this present reckoned’.15 If this is the case,  Hugh Kearney, The British Isles: A History of Four Nations (Cambridge, 1995), p. 155. 11  Davies, A History of Wales, p. 233. 12  The border between England and Wales on the general map of Wales is especially demarcated in a rare, coloured copy of the Theatre held in the British Library (Maps C.7.c.20). 13   ‘Just how “Welsh” Monmouth was in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries is a matter of some debate … its separateness from Wales … is emphasized on a number of maps of the period … Today Monmouth has been incorporated into the Welsh county of Gwent.’ See Robert S. Babcock, ‘“For I Am Welsh, You Know”: Henry V, Fluellen, and the Place of Wales in the Sixteenth-Century English Nation’, in James V. Mehl (ed.), In Laudem Caroli: Renaissance and Reformation Studies for Charles G. Nauert (Kirksville, Missouri, 1998), pp. 189–99, p. 192, n. 26. 14   John Speed, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine (London, 1611–12), sig. v 1. 15  Ibid., p. 101. Whereas English counties were given two parliamentary representatives for each county, Welsh counties were given just one apiece. Monmouthshire, however, was granted two representatives. See Davies, A History of Wales, pp. 233–5. 10

Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift


then why is the cartographic and chorographic material on Monmouthshire to be found within the second book of the Theatre? Well after 1536, the status of Monmouthshire in the kingdom of England remained anomalous. Speed’s representation of Monmouthshire’s, indeed Wales’s, liminal status within the kingdom evinces the uncertainty and the complexities that accompanied nation building and state formation in and across Britain and Ireland in the early modern period. Recent work by historians – the so-called new British History – has begun to paint a fuller, more nuanced picture of this period’s and these Islands’s geopolitical complexities, and literary scholars are following suit. However, as Nicholas Canny argues, the ‘holistic approach’ that marks much of the new British history ‘results in a tendency to emphasise similarity at the expense of difference, and ignores the fundamental diversities that made it so difficult for the several peoples on the two islands to live within a single polity’.16 Canny’s forceful critique is directed at historians, not literary historians, and I would argue that much of the emergent new British history-inspired literary scholarship does exactly the kind of work for which Canny calls.17 Texts, such as Speed’s Theatre, so often viewed as cheering the emergence of a British Empire, are, in fact, ‘among the richest historical repositories that we possess – not because they often have much to tell us about the “facts” of history but because they are unfailingly sensitive registers of social attitudes and assumptions, fears and desires’.18 One text that has often been regarded as participating in the ideological and cultural work of early modern English/British state formation is Shakespeare’s Life of Henry the Fift.19 In what follows, I will argue that this play gives voice to a complex and contradictory discourse on the various political and cultural incorporations that were unfolding in and around the time of the play’s composition and performance.  Nicholas Canny, ‘Irish, Scottish and Welsh Responses to Centralisation, c. 1530– c.1640: A Comparative Perspective’, in Alexander Grant and Keith J. Stringer (eds.), Uniting the Kingdom?: The Making of British History (London and New York, 1995), pp. 147–69, p. 148. With essays by Robin Frame, Jenny Wormald, Conrad Russell, John Morrill and J.G.A. Pocock, the volume in which Canny’s essay appears is representative of the new British History. 17   See, for example, David J. Baker and Willy Maley (eds), British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge, 2002) and Kate Chedgzoy, Women’s Writing in the British Atlantic World: Memory, Place and History, 1550–1700 (Cambridge, 2007). Chedgzoy works with not only English-language texts but also Welsh- and Gaelic-language texts. 18   Michael Neill, Putting History to the Question: Power, Politics and Society in English Renaissance Drama (New York, 2000), p. 3. 19  Consider, for example, Stephen Greenblatt’s pronouncement: ‘By yoking together diverse peoples – represented in the play by the Welshman Fluellen, the Irishman Macmorris, and the Scotsman Jamy, who fight at Agincourt alongside the loyal Englishman – Hal symbolically tames the last wild areas in the British Isles.’ See Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England (Berkeley, 1988), p. 56. 16


Shakespeare and Wales

Like Speed’s Theatre, Shakespeare’s history play presents an uncertain union of England and Wales, at once anxiously embracing and steadfastly refusing Welsh otherness/sameness. Recent work on nationhood and national identities in Shakespeare’s history plays has shifted attention away from the ‘internal’ power struggles of ‘civil war’ to a wider British and Irish framework. The history plays, especially the second tetralogy, have been examined as deep reflections on both England’s past relations with its Irish, Scottish and Welsh neighbours as well as the dynamics of state formation across the Atlantic archipelago in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.20 Although it depicts a fifteenth-century battle between England and France, Shakespeare’s The Life of Henry the Fift, a text produced around the time of the end of one monarch’s reign and the beginning of another’s, is remarkably sensitive to England’s relations with its Irish, Scottish and Welsh neighbours, especially as the status of those relations were in limbo while the issue of succession remained unresolved. Most of the play’s editors date the composition and performance of Henry V – as the composite text has come to be known – to 1599.21 Following Warren Smith and Richard Dutton, I believe that evidence exists in the First Folio (F1) version of the play that suggests a later date of composition. We know that a version of the play was performed at court in 1605, and, of course, F1’s The Life of Henry the Fift first appeared in print in 1623, 23 years after the publication of the much shorter first quarto (which has received less scholarly attention in part because it has been labelled a memorial reconstruction of F1 or a ‘bad quarto’). I have little desire to contest or establish a specific date for the composition and performance of The Life of Henry the Fift. 20   ‘The dramatic domestication of Ireland, Scotland and Wales’, according to Willy Maley, ‘prefigures their political domestication. The histories are prophesies.’ See Willy Maley, ‘“This Sceptred Isle”: Shakespeare and the British Problem’, in John Joughin (ed.), Shakespeare and National Culture (Manchester, 1997), pp. 83–108, p. 98. 21   See, for example, the introductions to the editions by Gary Taylor (Oxford, 1982) and Andrew Gurr (Cambridge, 1992). Crucial to the 1599 dating of the Folio version of the play is the Chorus’s reference to ‘the Generall of our gracious Empresse … from Ireland coming’ (TLN 2880–1). Both Taylor and Gurr, and most critics, believe that this line refers to Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, whom Queen Elizabeth sent to Ireland on 29 March 1599 only to return infamously on 28 September 1599. Departing from standard editorial practice, Mowat and Werstine’s edition of the play (New York, 1995) follows Warren D. Smith’s suggestions that the Chorus could be referring to Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy, who took over from Essex as the commander-in-chief in Ireland and who eventually led the English defeat of the Irish. See Warren D. Smith, ‘The Henry V Choruses in the First Folio’, Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 53 (1954): 38–57. For a thoughtful and rigorous examination of the dating of the Folio text that posits a 1602 dating, see Richard Dutton, ‘“Methinks the truth should live from age to age”: The Dating and Contexts of Henry V’, Huntington Library Quarterly, 68 (2005): 173–203. All references to The Life of Henry the Fift are taken from William Shakespeare, The First Folio of Shakespeare, ed. Charlton Hinman (New York, 1968).

Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift


If we accept Dutton’s 1602 dating of the F1 version of the play, then we can view this play as a reflection on not only where England stands at a signal moment in its history but also where England, gripped by the fear of an uncertain succession, is headed, nationally as well as dynastically. One of the central concerns of The Life of Henry the Fift, as we shall see, is the fate of a nation that finds itself in the hands of a supranational monarch. ‘The words England, English, and Englishman appear more often in Henry V than in any other of Shakespeare’s plays.’22 The frequency, if not the emotive power, of these words in the play has played a major role in its critical reception as a patriotic and nationalistic tour de force. Not all critics read the play in this manner. In recent years, the appearance of the word ‘Ireland’ in this history play has led critics to view it as a text at odds with the English state’s political and military agenda. For Christopher Highley, the play registers ‘Shakespeare’s disillusioned ambivalence about the reasons behind and the consequences of English empirebuilding’. Moreover, the play produces ‘a sceptical counter-discourse about English expansionism within the British Isles’.23 Ireland has figured centrally in recent attempts to divest this play of any simple and straightforward nationalism.24 I want to argue that The Life of Henry the Fift’s complex and contradictory representation of Wales and Welshness provides another powerful example of the play’s uneven account of the English monarch’s ever-expanding realm. For the English at the turn of the century, Ireland, no doubt, was the most unruly of the Celtic nations. The fact that this play was composed and performed at the height of the Nine Years’ War should not be overlooked. Of England’s island neighbours, Scotland poses the great threat in the play. Many Elizabethans and Jacobeans, as we have seen, considered Wales to be a mild, compliant neighbour. Numerous critics believe that this is precisely how Wales, especially as embodied in the figure of Fluellen, is presented in the play. For Highley, ‘Fluellen figures the colonial subject who has internalized English values and subordinated his own provincial loyalties to service to the English nation-state.’25 To be sure, The Life of Henry the Fift can be seen as disseminating an idealized (indeed fictionalized) Anglo-Welsh alliance. But Wales and Welshness also serve as disturbing examples of various forms of proximity – geographical, political, national, cultural – and the play’s   Michael Neill, ‘Henry V: A Modern Perspective’, in Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine (eds.), The Life of Henry V (New York, 1995), pp. 253–78, p. 269. 23  Christopher Highley, Shakespeare, Spenser, and the Crisis in Ireland (Cambridge, 1997), p. 136. 24   See, for example, Christopher Ivic, ‘“Our inland”: Henry V and the Celtic Fringe’, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, 30/1 (1999): 85–103. 25  Highley, Shakespeare, Spenser, and the Crisis in Ireland, p. 147. According to Dutton, Fluellen ‘represents the already assimilated Celt, verbose, pedantic, and passionate, but proud to recognize his kinship with a fellow Welshman, Harry of Monmouth’. See Dutton, ‘The Dating and Contexts of Henry V’: 194. While I agree with Dutton’s 1602 dating of the play, I differ with him on the play’s representation of the Welsh captain. 22


Shakespeare and Wales

inscriptions of these forms of proximity unsettle notions of England, English and Englishness. In many ways, the opening half of The Life of Henry Fift includes forceful articulations of English national identity: the stuff of nationalist epic. Not until the latter half of the play is this strong sense of Englishness fragmented. Crucially, the introduction of the Welsh captain Fluellen marks a key moment in the shift to a destabilizing of the play’s discourse on Englishness. The decisive scene in which Henry decides to go to war against France is underpinned by a rhetoric of nationalism: namely, references to not only the nation but also blood, forefathers, history, masculinity and memory. But in the midst of preparations for war against France, Henry reminds his audience of an ‘internal’ threat: ‘We must not onely arme t’inuade the French, / But lay downe our proportions, to defend / Against the Scot, who will make roade vpon vs’ (TLN 283–5). The Bishop of Canterbury’s response is telling: ‘They of those Marches, gracious Soueraign, / Shall be a Wall sufficient to defend / Our in-land from the pilfering Borderers’ (TLN 286–8). A far cry from John of Gaunt’s ‘this sceptred Isle’ (TLN 681), Canterbury’s ‘Our in-land’ imagines an entrenched England in relation, indeed opposition, to its ‘remote or outlying wild parts’.26 In this instance, Scotland is clearly the threat, but geographical reality also draws our attention to Wales. The play’s numerous references to walls, locks and breaches foregrounds a deep anxiety about the fluidity of England’s borders and, I would add, English identity. In reality, in 1599 or even in 1602, Ireland posed a much graver danger to England than Scotland or Wales. In terms of the play’s rhetoric of national identity, however, England’s more proximate neighbours surface as a prime threat to English identity. When Canterbury makes reference to ‘our Nation’ (TLN 366) it is clear that this nation is ‘England’, to which Canterbury has referred just five lines earlier. In his oration to his troops before Harfleur, King Henry waxes eloquent on England, referring to ‘our English dead’, ‘you Noblish English’; moreover, he describes the limbs of his army’s yeoman as ‘made in England’. This oration ends famously with Henry’s cry: ‘God for Harry, England, and S. George’ (TLN 1085, 1100, 1117). Until this point in the play, the audience would not be mistaken in taking Henry at his word: that his army is indeed English. But within 100 lines the audience is introduced to an army that contains not only an English but also an Irish, a Scottish and a Welsh captain. A number of critics regard this scene with the four captains as a late addition to the play; some have even argued that it was added to please England’s future or current Scottish king. I do not think that this scene necessarily smacks of a late addition; as we shall see, this scene resonates with the play’s uneven representation of national identity. The scene that has come to be known as the ‘four captains’ scene’ has received ample attention from critics in recent years. In a rather crude division of the critical commentary, we could say that some critics view this scene as 26   See the second entry in the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ‘inland’ (the OED cites Canterbury’s line from the play).

Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift


comic and as patriotic, though as an expression of British as opposed to English patriotism. ‘The co-captains of the all-British Isles team which King Henry fields at Agincourt’, David Quint writes, ‘include the Welshman Fluellen, the Scot Jamy, the Irishman MacMorris, and the Englishman Gower. This collection of nationalities underscores the patriotic theme of Henry V, and provides intermittent comic relief from the battle carnage in the form of ethnic humor.’27 Other critics, informed by postcolonial theory, have come to view this scene in more disquieting terms. Centring on the Irish captain’s reiteration of the question ‘What ish my nation?’ (TLN 1240, 1241–2), critics have detected in this ideologically charged moment a radical undoing of the binary logic that sustains the play’s nationalism.28 Often overlooked in discussions of this scene’s ethnic stereotyping is the material text itself. In F1, the text marks Fluellen’s first entry with ‘Enter Fluellen’ (TLN 1136) and in the next line with the speech prefix ‘Flu.’ He remains ‘Flu.’ in the next speech prefix, but from TLN 1186 through to TLN 1255 the speech prefix used to designate his character is ‘Welch.’29 The Irish and Scottish captains – variously termed ‘Makmorrice’ and ‘Mackmorrice’ and ‘Iamy’ and ‘Iames’ – are given the speech prefixes ‘Irish.’ and ‘Scot.’ respectively. The English captain, Gower, it is important to note, is never given the speech prefix ‘English.’: Gower remains ‘Gower.’ throughout this scene. In one of the few, if not only, sustained discussions of the speech prefixes in this scene, Andrew Murphy writes: ‘[t]he three Celtic figures, though individualized in being assigned names within the text, are simultaneously produced as ethnic ciphers and, as such, they are distinguished from their English counterpart, who consistently appears as a unified, individuated character’.30 This is the Irish and Scottish captains’ only appearance in the text, so perhaps we should ask why Fluellen, who will make more appearances, often in the presence of Captain Gower, is in this precise moment reduced to an ‘ethnic cipher’? Interestingly, ‘Flu.’ becomes ‘Welch.’ immediately after the English captain, Gower, makes reference to ‘an Irish man’ (TLN 1184–5). In a  David Quint, ‘“Alexander the Pig”: Shakespeare on History and Poetry’, Boundary 2, 10/3 (1982): 49–67, p. 51. ‘A Captain MacMorris’, according to Dutton, ‘fighting for Henry is a fine expression of proto-British nationalism.’ See Dutton, The Dating and Contexts of Henry V’, p. 303. At the risk of misrepresenting Quint’s excellent article, I would like to add that he sees in Fluellen a disruptive presence: ‘One of the play’s running jokes’, Quint writes (p. 51), ‘is Fluellen’s inability to pronounce the letter B. The joke, it turns out, is to be taken seriously’. 28  David Baker, for example, writes: ‘the voicing of an English nationalism gives way to a discursive heterogeneity, interrogates itself, and finds itself unable to sustain the distinctions on which it rests’. See David J. Baker, Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, and the Question of Britain (Stanford, 1997), p. 37. 29   ‘Welch.’ occurs eight times in this part of the text. 30  Andrew Murphy, ‘“Tish ill done”: Henry the Fift and the Politics of Editing’, in Mark Thornton Burnett and Ramona Wray (eds.), Shakespeare and Ireland: History, Politics, Culture (London, 1997), pp. 213–34, p. 224. 27


Shakespeare and Wales

scene that threatens to blow over, a scene in which Gower warns against internal strife, it is significant that the non-Englishness of the captains is, at least in the material text, highlighted. Before there is any mention of an ‘Irish man’, however, and subsequent to this scene, Gower and Fluellen seem to represent an AngloWelsh alliance. Indeed, it is Gower who near the play’s conclusion chastises the xenophobic Pistol with the lines ‘let a Welsh correction, teach you a good English condition’ (TLN 2972–3). Murphy’s statement that Gower ‘consistently appears as a unified, individuated character’ is true in terms of the material text: that is, the character Gower remains ‘Gower.’ throughout the play. King Henry’s speech prefix throughout the play is ‘King.’; however, it could easily at times be ‘English.’, ‘French.’, ‘Welch.’ and ‘Irish.’ Indeed, King Henry’s fluid associations with nation surface throughout the latter half of the play. The French king calls Henry ‘Harry England’ (TLN 1427). Henry (mis)represents himself to Pistol as ‘Harry le Roy’ (TLN 1896). In the play’s final act, the French king greets Henry as ‘brother England’ (TLN 2997), while the French queen calls him ‘brother Ireland’ (TLN 2999). Lamenting the French defeat at Crécy, the King of France evokes the ‘black Name, Edward, black Prince of Wales’, and he concludes by referring to Henry as ‘a Stem / Of that Victorious Stock’ (TLN 946, 952–3). When Pistol mistakes a disguised Henry for one of ‘Cornish Crew’ (TLN 1897), the king declares ‘No, I am a Welchman’ (TLN 1898). Misinforming Pistol that he is Fluellen’s ‘Kinsman’ (TLN 1906), Henry stakes a claim to a blood or familial relation to the character formerly known as ‘Welch.’. Of course, this is not the king’s only claim to Welshness in the play. After the battle at Agincourt, the king informs Fluellen ‘I am Welch you know good Countriman’, to which Fluellen responds ‘All the water in the Wye, cannot wash your Maiesties Welsh plod out of your body’ (TLN 2635, 2636–7). The historical Henry V, as Philip Schwyzer notes, ‘had no Welsh ancestry whatsoever’.31 Speed’s map of Monmouthshire includes a vignette of King Henry V, not because he was Welsh but simply because he was, to quote Fluellen, ‘porne at Monmouth’ (TLN 2536). That Shakespeare’s ‘Harry Monmouth’ (TLN 2531) promotes his Welshness is not odd or even unhistorical, for much cultural, ideological, political work went into heralding the Welsh origins of Tudor monarchs.32 But unlike the yeoman in his army, Henry was not ‘made in England’. What are the cultural and ideological implications of the play’s representation of a hybrid monarch? Is it simply the case that Shakespeare’s Henry V mimics the historical Tudor monarchs whose claims of Welsh blood played a part in their consolidation of sovereign power? Before taking up this question, perhaps we should add to the equation the fact that on the eve of the battle of Agincourt the monarch (still in disguise) is roundly critiqued by one of his soldiers, Michael

31  Philip Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism, and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge, 2004), p. 127. 32   See ibid.

Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift


Williams, who, as one critic has pointed out, has a common Welsh surname.33 Whereas Henry’s soliloquy at the close of this scene reveals a care for the self, Williams’s lines reveal a deep and profound concern for the nation. Fluellen’s comparison of Henry to ‘Alexander the pig’ (TLN 2498) marks another disturbing account of the king.34 More than simply an anxiety about hybridity, this play’s portrait of a supranational monarch reveals the pressures inherent in the uneasy formation of a British nation-state at the turn of the century. In his brilliant manipulation of national identities in this play, Henry is reminiscent of the historical monarchs who, according to Perry Anderson, sought to manipulate in order to contain ‘proto-nationalism’.35 But Henry’s manipulation of national identities in this play, in particular Englishness and Welshness, is not easily reconciled. At various moments in this play, Shakespeare’s London audiences would have been reminded that one of the outcomes of dynastic politics was a degeneration – to use a word popular in the period – of the national character. It is the French camp, of course, who most forcefully proclaim the hybridity of the English, while simultaneously establishing a genealogical link between the two warring nations. Like Speed’s map of Wales, the border separating one nation from another in this play is not easily drawn. In the wake of the English victory at Harfleur, the Dolphin, referring to the Norman invasion of 1066, asks Shall a few Sprayes of vs, The emptying of our Fathers Luxurie, Our Syens, put in wilde and sauage Stock, Spirit vp so suddenly into the Clouds, And ouer looke their Grafters? (TLN 1384–8)

The character who is introduced in F1’s stage direction as the duke of ‘Britaine’ (TLN 919), but to whom modern editors assign the speech prefix ‘Brittany’ (New Folger edn) or ‘Bourbon’ (Oxford edn), responds to the Dolphin’s questions by saying ‘Normans, but bastard Normans, Norman bastards’ (TLN 1389). Exactly to whom this line refers is unclear; however, it appears that the English, the subject of the preceding lines, are being labeled ‘bastard Normans, Norman bastards.’36 If we consider this line in its full material context, its significance is more pronounced. As it appears in F1 along with the speech prefix, the line reads: ‘Brit. Normans, but bastard Normans, Norman bastards’. Given Welsh claims to a pure, 33

  See Joan Rees, ‘Shakespeare’s Welshmen’, in Vincent Newey and Ann Thompson (eds.), Literature and Nationalism (Liverpool, 1991), pp. 22–40, p. 31. 34   See Quint, ‘Shakespeare on History and Poetry’. 35   See the opening chapter of Perry Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State (London, 1996); see especially pp. 38–9. 36  As Taylor notes in his Oxford edition of the play, the disjunctive sense of ‘but’ is possible: that is, ‘They are Normans – but bastard ones …’. See Gary Taylor (ed.), Henry V (Oxford, 1982), p. 181, n. 10.

Shakespeare and Wales


originary Britishness in the period, it is possible to read this line as another ‘Welch correction’, in this instance pointing out a hybrid, degenerate ‘English condition’. ‘Shakespeare’, Alan Powers observes, ‘relies upon ethnic humour, namely dialect jokes, in his comic stereotyping in Henry V. As in his comedy composed in the same years, The Merry Wives of Windsor, the principal butts of humor are the French and Welsh accents; indeed, much of the Henriad can be seen as an elaborate Welsh joke.’37 It seems that the joke, an elaborate British joke, is on the English, or, more specifically, England’s mongrel supranational monarchy. On a leaf of a verse miscellany held in the British Library dating from roughly the 1630s exists a startling juxtaposition of poems. At the bottom of the leaf is Ben Jonson’s ‘On the Vnion’, which first appeared in print in Jonson’s 1616 folio Workes. The printed version of the poem reads as follows WHen was there contract better driuen by Fate? Or celebrated with more truth of state? The world the temple was, the priest a king, The spoused paire two realmes, the sea the ring.38

Jonson’s editors agree that the immediate context for this poem was a speech delivered by King James VI and I. On 19 March 1604, the opening of Parliament, James delivered a speech that sought to legitimate in the eyes of his subjects his vision of a perfect Union. In his speech, James compared the Union of England and Scotland to a marriage: ‘What God hath conioyned then, let no man separate. I am the Husband, and all the whole Isle is my lawfull Wife.’39 Since this speech was published immediately after its delivery, Jonson would have had easy access to it; it seems most likely, therefore, that ‘On the Vnion’, which employs a similar marriage conceit, was written shortly after James’s speech. In fact, the poem has been described by one of Jonson’s biographers as a ‘coda’ to James’s speech.40 Like many handwritten poems, the British Library manuscript copy of Jonson’s ‘On the Vnion’ is not an exact copy of the printed poem. For one, it has a different title: ‘In Vnionem Angliæ & Scotiæ’. For some reason the poem appears to be attributed to Thomas Walkington. There are also slight textual variants. The manuscript copy reads as follows: Was euer Contract better drawne by Fate? 37

 Alan W. Powers, ‘“Gallia and Gaul, French and Welsh”: Comic Ethnic Slander in the Gallia War’, in Frances Teague (ed.), Acting Funny: Comic Theory and Practice in Shakespeare’s Plays (London and Toronto, 1994), pp. 109–22, p. 120. 38  Benjamin Jonson, The Workes of Beniamin Jonson (London, 1616), p. 770. 39   James VI and I, The Kings Maiesties Speech, as it was deliuered by him in the vpper house of the Parliament, to the Lords Spirituall and Temporall, and to the Knights, Citizens, and Burgesses there assembled (London, 1604), sig. B2r. 40  David Riggs, Ben Jonson: A Life (Cambridge, Mass., 1989), p. 197.

Anomalous Identities in The Life of Henry the Fift


Or celebrated with more truth of state? The World, the Temple is, the Priest the King, The married payre two Nations, the Sea the ring.41

The differences that exist between the print and manuscript poems could easily be chalked up to the vagaries of scribal transmission. However, we should not be too quick to dismiss significant variations. The signal difference between the printed and handwritten poem is the latter’s use of ‘Nations’ instead of ‘realms’, which results in an arguably less monarchic imagining of union. The 1603 Union of the Crowns was, of course, solely dynastic. It was not a national or cultural union. In fact, the strongest forces opposing union ideas had their origins in nation and culture if not national and cultural stereotypes. Another poem, written at the top of the same leaf and in the same scribal hand, bears witness to early modern cultural stereotypes and in doing so presents a less complimentary image of England’s relations with its island neighbours. It is not the Scots, however, who are the subjects of this poem; rather, it is the Welsh. Entitled ‘I Cambro=Britannum’, this poem provides a stark contrast to Jonson’s ostensibly pro-union poem: The way to make a Welchman thirst for his blisse And dayly lay his praises on his knees, Is to perswade him, that most certaine ’tis The Moone is made of nothing, but greene cheese. Then heele desire of God noe greater boone, Then place in heauen to feed upon the Moone.42

That these two poems appear on the same leaf in a verse miscellany may be pure chance. Nevertheless, the fact that these two poems are inscribed on the same leaf must have reminded the miscellany’s early modern readers of the complex inter-island relations that King James’s accession to the English throne brought about. While some critics may view Jonson’s epigram and Shakespeare’s The Life of Henry Fift as ideologically harmonious, I am arguing that Shakespeare’s play has much more in common with this verse miscellany’s awkward juxtaposition of poems. The early modern stage put numerous Welsh characters on display before its London audiences. We have little way of knowing how audience members responded to these ventriloquized Welsh men and women. How, for example, was the exchange in Welsh between Glendower and his daughter, not to mention the daughter’s Welsh song, received by those present at performances of Shakespeare’s 41

 British Library, Additional MS 15227, f. 8v.   Ibid. Apparently this was a popular poem in the first half of the seventeenth century. Other manuscript copies exist in the Bodleian, Huntington and Folger libraries. I owe this information to Steven May. 42


Shakespeare and Wales

The First part of King Henry the fourth? Of course, the surviving texts of this play do not supply the Welsh dialogue or song. The F1 text, for instance, gives us ‘Glendower speakes to her in Welsh, and she answeres him in the same’, and ‘Heere the Lady sings a Welsh Song’ (TLN 1732–3, 1790). Critics have not shied away from taking meaning from these silences or absences in Shakespeare’s playtext.43 I believe that we can also take meaning from the absence of figures on the map of Wales in Speed’s Theatre. Earlier in this essay, I suggested that the lack of Welsh bodies on Speed’s map can be interpreted as another sign of an oft-voiced belief in England’s political and cultural assimilation of Wales. The disruptive presence of Wales and Welshness (not only Fluellen’s but also King Henry’s) in The Life of Henry the Fift invites us to return to and to reread the absence of bodies on Speed’s map otherwise. Perhaps Speed’s map of Wales does more than simply assert Anglo-Welsh sameness. Perhaps it foregoes representing Welsh bodies because, for many English writers, Welshness was viewed as more ancient, true and unmixed than Englishness.44

43   See, for example, Matthew Greenfield, ‘1 Henry IV: Metatheatrical Britain’, in David J. Baker and Willy Maley (eds.), British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 71–80, pp. 75–6. 44   See, for instance, Thornborough, The Ioiefvll and Blessed Revniting, pp. 43–4.

Chapter 6

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’ Margaret Tudeau-Clayton

Who are the Welsh? If self-evident for native English speakers who inhabit the territory of England the equivalent question ‘wer sind die Welsche?’ is ambivalent for German speakers in Switzerland where ‘die Welsche’ designates not only or not even primarily those who inhabit a linguistic and geographic place on the other (West) side of the English, but those French-speaking Swiss who, like the Welsh, inhabit a place on the other (West) side of a defining boundary that is cultural and linguistic as well as geographical. The Merry Wives of Windsor, Shakespeare’s one comedy set in England and particularly concerned with the identity of the English, remembers that French and Welsh speakers share at once a past, and a present ideological, if not territorial, ground as those ‘others’, or ‘welsch men’ – a generic label pointedly recalled by John Cheke as we shall see – through whose exclusion this identity constitutes itself. Directed not only towards reconciliation of the French and Welsh but also towards English accommodation of its constitutive ‘others’, the memory is summoned by a figure resonant, I shall argue, with cultural memories – the Host of the Inn of the Garter – in a mediation between the antagonists of the subplot that are precisely a Welshman (the parson Hugh Evans) and a Frenchman (Dr Caius). Specifically, the memory is summoned through a pair of names, ‘Gallia and Gaul’, which editors have considered mere confusion, indicative only of the Host’s pretentious ignorance. What I want to propose instead is that we consider the confusion as meaningful in relation to collective memory rather as Jonathan Baldo has suggested that we consider another geographical ‘confusion’ in Henry V. Specifically, through sound as well as the shared past they evoke, ‘Gallia and Gaul’ blur the lines of division drawn by the more familiar ‘moderne    The Merry Wives of Windsor, ed. Walter Cohen in The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. (New York, 1997), 3.1.81. All references to the Shakespearean texts will be to this edition unless otherwise stated.    William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, ed. Giorgio Melchiori (London, 2000), p. 206. Editors are confused because where ‘Gallia’ is used in the Shakespearean corpus it is always used of ‘France’ while ‘Gaul’, which they assume must refer to ‘France’, is not used anywhere else.    Jonathan Baldo, ‘Wars of Memory in Henry V’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 47/2 (1996): 132–59 (p. 135).


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names’ which follow: ‘French and Welsh’. To these juxtaposed sets of names the Host adds a telling description of the respective professions of the antagonists – ‘soul-curer and body-curer’ – which, like the summoned memory, is directed towards reconciliation (‘curing’). It is a reconciliation that, I shall argue, acquires religious overtones at once catholic (in the sense of universal) and specifically preReformation, through the Host’s own title as well as this description: ‘Peace, I say, Gallia and Gaul, French and Welsh, soul-curer and body-curer’ (3.1.87–8). Joining their hands the Host proceeds to perform a mock marriage ceremony prefiguring the union with which, true to the genre of romantic comedy to which it belongs, the subplot ends: Ann Page, the citizen’s daughter over whom the Frenchman and the Welshman have quarreled, finally marries the man of her choice against her parents’ wishes – the English gentleman and courtier Master Fenton. Likewise directed towards reconciliation, this union too traverses a defining line of division, here between the social estates of courtier and citizen within a putative national totality of the English. In this the subplot counters the thrust of the main plot, which rather confirms the division through the citizens’ rejection and humiliation of Sir John Falstaff who fails in his mock wooing of the wives as his young counterpart Fenton succeeds in his serious wooing of the daughter. The subplot thus furnishes a crucial, if neglected, counter-narrative to the main plot which, I want to suggest, dramatizes a post-Reformation (i.e. Protestant), citizen or bourgeois ideology of the English which casts (out) the elite male courtier as another constitutive ‘other’ or ‘welsch man’, like the Welsh and French. This is done primarily through the categorization of linguistic and sartorial habits as ‘foreign’, outside the pale of the normative centre that this ideology seeks to appropriate for native, citizen ‘plainness’. Instrumental to this appropriation is the trope of ‘the King’s English’, a trope that Shakespeare evokes here and only here in this his one citizen play (Merry Wives, 1.4.5). First explicitly introduced by Thomas Wilson in 1553, the trope is invariably used in early instances not descriptively, as scholars have assumed, but, as in this instance, performatively in negative exclusions to produce as an effect of exclusion the centre it represents. Significantly, the non-English speakers of which   The phrase ‘moderne names’ is taken from Richard Verstegan’s discussion of the identities of nations, especially of the English, which he seeks to recover in part through the (lost) memories carried by names. Richard Verstegan, A restitution of decayed intelligence: In antiquities (London, 1605) (p. 97). As we shall see, the Host’s ‘confusion’ echoes what Verstegan has to say on the name ‘Welsh’, which suggests that, far from ignorant, the Host may be something of an antiquarian scholar.   The assumption hampers the otherwise valuable work of Paula Blank who, though recognizing that ‘the precise nature of the King’s English had yet to be articulated’, consistently regards it as an elite variety of English that was actually practised at court and in the city of London, which she tends, moreover, to conflate not recognizing the crucial ideological, and political, difference between court and city. Paula Blank, Broken English: Dialects and the Politics of Language in Renaissance Writings (New York and London,

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’


it is thus used in early instances are a Frenchman (twice including the instance in Merry Wives), a Welshman (once) and a ‘Dutch-man’ (once), while the English speakers of which it is used in the two most culturally prominent instances (Robert Cawdrey’s first English-English dictionary (1604) as well as Thomas Wilson’s The Art of Rhetoric) are those who practise ‘outlandish’ Latinate and romance (French and Italian) forms. These include ‘far-journeyed gentlemen’ whose foreign linguistic as well as sartorial habits exclude them from the normative centre of ‘the King’s English’ that is occupied rather by citizen ‘plainness’. Embodied in the figure of Emulo in Thomas Dekker’s Patient Grisil (1603), who is excluded like and with the figure of a Welshman, as we shall see, Wilson’s far-journeyed gentleman bears comparison with Shakespeare’s Falstaff, notably in a scene of wooing when in extravagant language he offers to dress Mrs Ford in extravagant foreign court fashions which the citizen wife stoutly rejects preferring her own ‘plain’ style (3.3). Falstaff is, moreover, explicitly assimilated to the category of the resented foreigner by the other wife, Mrs Page, who likens him, if admittedly in anger, to a Fleming. Citizen rejection of the nomadic courtier as ‘foreigner’ is then staged in the main plot, the exclusionary thrust of which is thwarted by the ‘mixed’ marriage of the subplot. Indeed, the point is made by Falstaff himself when he comments that the ‘arrow’ directed against him has been turned from its object by the marriage (5.5.211–12). Like and with the imagined union of Frenchman 1996), p. 16; cf. Paula Blank, ‘The Babel of Renaissance English’ in Lynda Mugglestone (ed.), The Oxford History of English (Oxford, 2006), pp. 212–39. Comments by other scholars, whether linguists or literary specialists, have rarely been more precise. Richard Bailey, for instance, merely notes that the kings and queens of England have never been considered exemplars of the norm the trope represents. Richard W. Bailey, Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language (Cambridge, 1991), p. 3. The same point is made, and extended to the ‘highest class of speakers’ in relation to early (if not the earliest) uses of the phrase, in Merja Kytö and Suzaine Romaine, ‘Adjective Comparison and Standardisation processes in American and British English from 1620 to the Present’, in Laura Wright (ed.), The Development of Standard English 1300–1800. Theories, Descriptions, Conflicts (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 171–94 (p. 189). Thomas Wilson’s use of the trope to promote a centralized vernacular is pointed out in Cathy Shrank, Writing the Nation in Reformation England 1530–1580 (Oxford, 2004), pp. 192–5. A systematic study of instances before 1620 has yet to be attempted. In what follows I draw on research done using the available electronic databases, which I discuss more fully in a forthcoming study, Shakespeare’s Englishes: Shakespeare and the Ideology of Linguistic Practices in Early Modern England. Except in my citation of Wilson I use the modern possessive form throughout, though it is never used in the earliest instances which antedate the establishment of this as a regular form in the late seventeenth century. (My thanks to Andrew McIntyre for this point.)    2.1.20–21. Like the French, Fleming immigrants were a traditional object of citizen xenophobia in London as well as in other towns where they settled. In 1593 an anonymous fly-sheet addressed ‘Flemings and Frenchmen’ who were advised to leave the country or ‘apprentices and journeymen will down with the Flemings and strangers’. As quoted in C.W. Chitty, ‘Aliens in England in the Sixteenth Century’, Race, 8 (1966–67): 129–45 (p. 142).

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and Welshman that prefigures it, this marriage of courtier and citizen implies an inclusionary alternative to the exclusionary bourgeois ideology of the (King’s) English which appropriates for citizen plainness the normative centre through performative exclusions of its ‘welsch men’: the French, the Welsh, the Dutch and nomadic ‘foreignised’ English gentlemen. It is an ideology reproduced, as we shall see, by Thomas Dekker who not only associates the figure of the nomadic courtier with the Welshman, both objects of exclusionary derision, but who also engages in a corrective, intertextual relation with Merry Wives in the citizen comedy which revisits it: Westward Ho (performed ?1604; published 1607). The trope for the inclusionary alternative, which Dekker recalls only to reject, is the culinary trope of the ‘gallymafrey’ that Falstaff is said to love. The trope is, moreover, used precisely of the social mix of ‘high’ and ‘low’ that he seeks in his wooing practices and that is achieved in the marriage: ‘he woos both high and low, …/ …/ He loves the gallimaufry’ (2.1.100–103). As I have shown elsewhere, this trope is used from the outset figuratively (and usually negatively) of generic and stylistic mixes, which the plays of the second tetralogy as well as Merry Wives exemplify, and, above all, of the linguistic mix produced by those who practise Latinate and romance neologisms – ‘English Gallimafries’ as Dekker calls them – notably in translation and theatre which in this respect constituted analogous cultural sites. Merry Wives sets the trope of the ‘gallymafrey’ in dialogic opposition to the trope of ‘the King’s English’ as it sets the romance subplot in dialogic opposition to the main plot. Correspondingly, it sets the figures of the Host and Falstaff, who promote and celebrate the ‘gallymafrey’, in opposition to the tellingly named George Page, the figure of the English male citizen who is something of a self-appointed linguistic policeman, as we shall see, though, crucially, not the figure who invokes ‘the King’s English’. The locations inhabited by these respective figures are, moreover, emblematic: the Host’s inn, where the nomadic courtier Falstaff resides, is a place of temporal and temporary passage, emblematic of the accommodation of strangers by an inclusive, changing and expanding gallymafrey of ‘our English’, while the citizen’s house is a place of private property constituted through exclusion, emblematic of the ideology of ‘the King’s English’ which constitutes citizen plainness as the fixed ‘property’,   The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, ed. Fredson Bowers, repr. 4 vols. (Cambridge, 1964), vol. 2, pp. 311–403. All references to Dekker will be to this edition.    Margaret Tudeau-Clayton, ‘Richard Carew, William Shakespeare, and the Politics of Translating Virgil in Early Modern England and Scotland’, International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 5/4 (1999): 507–27 (pp. 524–6); ‘Scenes of Translation in Jonson and Shakespeare: Poetaster, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Translation and Literature, 11/1 (2002): 1–23.   In its use of dual, dialogically related, emblematic locations Merry Wives resembles the romantic comedies. This has gone unnoticed because of the critical tendency to treat the play as Shakespeare’s essay in the more ‘realistic’ mode of citizen comedy in which location is primarily mimetic. 

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’


or defining character of (the) English through exclusion of those it designates as ‘welsch men’. In the exclusion staged by its main plot Merry Wives reiterates in comic mode even as it draws out the ideological implications of the banishment of Falstaff staged in the second tetralogy.10 Falstaff’s character as ‘welsch man’ is, moreover, pointed up by his association in the tetralogy with the two Welsh figures – not only Owen Glendower in 1 Henry IV, as Terence Hawkes has pointed out, but also Captain Fluellen in Henry V, as I will consider shortly.11 First, however, it is worth taking up the point discussed by Stephen Mullaney that the banishment of Falstaff is represented specifically in linguistic terms as a ‘cast [ing] off’ of the ‘gross terms’ of a ‘strange tongue’ in a turn by prince Hal on his accession to the throne that is described as a ‘reformation’, first by Hal himself in 1 Henry IV and then by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Henry V.12 The seemingly anachronistic resonances of the word ‘reformation’ here signal the continuity between the Protestant bourgeois – ‘reformation’ – ideology of the ‘King’s English’ and the putative origins of the trope in the decisive pre-Reformation linguistic turn made by the historical Henry V.13 For Henry chose to replace French/Latin with English as the language of government administration. This turn to English as the ‘common idiom (setting aside others)’, notably the other tongue that was French, was explicitly welcomed by London citizens who habitually used English.14 Indeed, 10

 In a suggestive passing comment Stephen Mullaney gestures towards the (Marxist) idea of history repeated as farce, but does not develop the point. Stephen Mullaney, The Place of the Stage (Chicago and London, 1988), p. 87. The critical emphasis has invariably been on discontinuities, not only between Merry Wives and the history plays, but also between (and within) the Quarto and Folio versions of the play. See Merry Wives, ed. Melchiori, ‘Introduction’, pp. 43–80. 11  Terence Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’, in Ania Loomba and Martin Orkin (eds.), Postcolonial Shakespeares (London, 1998), pp. 117–40 (pp. 127–29). Hawkes sees the association of Falstaff and Glendower as confirming (not contesting) a gender inflected construction of a ‘manly’ British state; he does not consider class inflections. 12   2 Henry IV, 4.3.67–78; 1 Henry IV, 1.2.191; Henry V, 1.1.34; Mullaney, The Place of the Stage, pp. 76–85. Mullaney’s focus is on the proverbial, popular forms of the Eastcheap scenes which, he suggests, are as inaccessible to present audiences as Glendower’s Welsh was to Elizabethan audiences. Though my focus is different, I share Mullaney’s crucial point that Shakespeare stages the loss of local linguistic forms, whether of region or estate, a loss of linguistic diversity destined to come about with the historical drive to a normative centre (a King’s English). 13  Paula Blank notes that ‘the phrase is attributed to the reign of Henry V’ without however giving either specific reasons or sources. Blank, ‘The Babel’, p. 212; Broken English, p. 173, n. 38; cf. too Mullaney, The Place of the Stage, p. 80. 14   See M. Benskin, ‘Some New Perspectives on the Origins of Standard Written English’, in J.A. Van Leuvensteijn and J.B. Berns (eds.), Dialect and Standard Language in the English, Dutch, German and Norwegian Language Areas (Amsterdam, 1992), pp. 71–105. The quotation is from a fulsome praise of Henry by William Portland clerk to


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the turn, which was crucial to the standardization of English, was motivated by an internal political imperative to make concessions to the wealthy – and xenophobic – citizens who were financing Henry’s war effort and who were as hostile to (the) Welsh as they were to (the) French.15 The trope may well originate then with a politically motivated pre-reformation conceding of the linguistic centre to citizens’ preferred vernacular in a move of exclusionary differentiation from the preferred vernacular of the court: King’s French gives way to King’s English. It is subsequently explicitly introduced to confirm the centre for citizen practice, specified as an English ‘plainness’ to be produced through performative exclusions of the Latinate and romance (Italianate and French) forms practiced by nomadic gentlemen, in large part descended from the Norman French. The exclusion of elite male practices called for by the centripetal imperative to this homogenous citizen ‘plainness’ is, moreover, couched specifically in terms of banishment in one of the two most culturally prominent instances of the trope, in the preface to the first English–English dictionary (1604) by Robert Cawdrey, who was perhaps thinking of Falstaff when he wrote that in order to achieve ‘altogether one maner of language’ it is necessary that ‘we … banish all affected Rhetorique’.16 This context of the putative origin and first uses of the trope lends significance not only to the exclusion of Falstaff but also to the one Shakespearean instance of the trope in Merry Wives (1.4.5.) where it is used in a performative exclusion precisely of the English of a Frenchman, Dr Caius, who has court connections, as he discloses in French later in the same scene: ‘Je m’en vais à la cour. La grande affaire’ (1.4.44–5). As we shall see, the exclusionary thrust of the trope is immediately ironized by the linguistic ‘mistaking’ of the low born, female native speaker, Mrs Quickly, who invokes it, and who is herself thus cast as an outsider to the norm it represents, like and with the Frenchman and Welshman with whom she is associated. Drawing attention to the arbitrary character of the boundaries of the (any) linguistic norm, this specifically calls into question the crucial defining boundary between (the) French and (the) English on which ‘the King’s English’ is founded. This boundary is called into question too in Henry V, the play with which the sequence of the second tetralogy ends. For if, as critics have remarked, the second tetralogy sets a centrifugal heterogeneity – a gallymafrey – of languages the London Craft of Brewers in 1422 (p. 80). See too John H. Fisher, The Emergence of Standard English (Lexington, 1996), pp. 63–4; and Malcolm Richardson, ‘Henry V, the English Chancery, and Chancery English’, Speculum, 55/4 (1980): 726–50. 15   ‘The use of English … would seem a patriotic gesture to the middle class, who largely paid for the war’ and who ‘had little love of anything foreign’, ‘there was continued agitation to expel foreigners (including the Welsh) from English soil’. Richardson, ‘Henry V’, pp. 740–41. 16  Robert Cawdrey, A Table Alphabeticall (London, 1604), quoted in Blank, ‘The Babel of Renaissance English’, p. 232. The passage in which the trope is used is lifted almost verbatim, as Shrank notes, from Thomas Wilson’s passage on plainness where it is first used. Shrank, Writing the Nation, p. 190.

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in dialogical counterpoint to the centripetal aspiration to a single homogenous identity of ‘our English’ – language and people17 – Henry V in particular closes with a mixed marriage which traverses specifically the divide between French and English, just as the comedy closes with a mixed marriage which traverses the divide between courtier and citizen with which this national difference was tied up. As in the comedy, if less overtly, the mixed marriage stands in ironic counterpoint to the ‘reformation’ plot of exclusion – an irony that is pointed up by Henry’s use of language evocative, as Terence Hawkes has observed, of the marriage ceremony.18 As in the comedy’s scene of reconciliation – the ‘marriage’ of the Frenchman and the Welshman – the memory of a past is summoned which at once recalls and undercuts the defining differences on which Protestant bourgeois (‘Reformation’) ideology would found the identity of the English, notably the difference between the English and the French, who are shown to share a past of shifting territorial boundaries with an attendant ‘mingling’ – of blood as of language. This is foregrounded by the description of the anticipated offspring of the mixed marriage as a hybrid, ‘a boy, half-French half-English’, that Henry and the French princess Kate will ‘compound’ in an intermediary cultural space ‘between Saint Denis and Saint George’ (Henry V, 5.2.194–5). This space has, moreover, a linguistic analogue in the earlier scene of the English lesson when Kate produces hybrid compounds of half-French half-English words (3.4). It is to this in-between linguistic/cultural space that the Host’s ‘Gallia and Gaul’ belong. What I want to suggest is that they are hybrid formations which traverse linguistically the division between French and English even as they summon the memory of the shared past of French and Welsh speakers. Both comedy and history plays then summon collective memory to resist the exclusionary ideology of the (King’s) English that at the same time they stage as an ideology which designates the nomadic English courtier together with the French and the Welsh as constitutive others – ‘outlandish’ ‘welsch men’. As I have mentioned, this is pointed up in the history plays by the association of the figure of Falstaff with the two Welsh men – Owen Glendower in 1 Henry IV and Captain Fluellen in Henry V who, in addition, voices the most overt critique of Henry’s rejection of Falstaff. The figures never actually meet, but, like the Welshman and Frenchman in Merry Wives, they are joined through names, though here it is a forgetting of names rather than a summoning of memory through alternative names. In 1 Henry IV Falstaff forgets the name of Owen Glendower – ‘what a plague call you him?’ – even as he remembers his flamboyant speech style (2.5.308–10), while in Henry V – in what is surely a recollection of the earlier 17

 This contradictory tension is now a commonplace of criticism; see, for instances, Matthew Greenfield, ‘1 Henry IV: Metatheatrical Britain’ in David J. Baker and Willy Maley (eds.), British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 71–80; Paola Pugliatti, ‘The Strange Tongues of Henry V’, The Yearbook of English Studies, 23 (1993): 235–53. 18  Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’, p. 129.


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moment – Captain Fluellen forgets the name of Falstaff – ‘I have forgot his name’ – even as he remembers his ‘jests and gipes and knaveries and mocks’ (4.7.40– 42).19 Like the Host’s summoning of memory through the alternative names of ‘Gallia and Gaul’ this forgetting of names – in the first case the patronym which, for purist patriots, carried the specificity of Welsh memory and identity20 – serves to erase a line of division between figures and expose a common ground. Here this ground consists not only in a common past (as I consider below) but also in present linguistic practices. Indeed, if Owen Glendower speaks Welsh – confronting an English audience with its radical strangeness as Hawkes remarks21 – he also prides himself on an English acquired ‘in the English court’ that he equates with eloquence and poetry (1 Henry IV, 3.1.118–23). It is an English that is rejected as affected and effeminate (‘mincing’) by Hotspur (line 130), a figure who, if not a citizen – there are no citizens in the second tetralogy – shares the citizen’s antipathy to the ‘holiday and lady terms’ practiced at the English court (1.3.45; contrast the Host’s approval of Fenton who ‘speaks holiday’ (Merry Wives, 3.2.58)).22 Indeed, 19   Gary Taylor suggests this alludes to the change of Falstaff’s original name from Oldcastle, which had to be erased because of complaints by descendants of the Oldcastle family. Gary Taylor, ‘The fortunes of Oldcastle’, Shakespeare Survey, 38 (1985): 85–100 (p. 96). Certainly, as Baldo comments, ‘Oldcastle’ was a ‘focal point of contested memory’ (Baldo, ‘Wars of Memory’, p. 138) which pointed up the freight of meaning carried by the proper name. 20  Philip Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism, and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge, 2004), pp. 87–9. 21  Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’, pp. 126–7. Hawkes asserts that the ‘status of Welsh … was completely different’ from the status of ‘Romance Languages or Latin’, being as ‘opaque to English ears as any African or Indian tongue’. Contrast the assertion by the purist Richard Verstegan that ‘as wel may we fetch woords from the Ethiopians, or East or West Indians, … as those which we … take from the Latin, or languages thereon depending: …’. Verstegan, A restitution, p. 204. 22   The affinity between Hotspur and London citizens is actually suggested at the end of the scene when Hotspur introduces ‘Sunday citizens’ through description even as he points up differences that he represents again in terms of linguistic and sartorial habits (lines 243–52). Altogether this scene epitomizes the centrifugal effect of Shakespeare’s representation of ‘the English’ as a hybrid mix, an effect that is discussed though without consideration of its affirmation in Greenfield, ‘1 Henry IV. Metatheatrical Britain’. The other point to be made about Hotspur’s rejection of English court forms is his gendering of them as feminine. Here too his perspective joins with that of Protestant bourgeois ideology which casts the courtier not only as foreign but as feminine, like and with the other ‘others’ that are the French and the Welsh. This mapping of gender difference over differences of nation and of estate serves of course to point up their shared ideological ground as constitutive others. Falstaff’s ‘effeminate’ character has often been noted, though not in this relation. See, for instance, Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’ (citing Alan Sinfield), p. 128; more specifically pertinent is Patricia Parker’s suggestion that the ‘fat’ of Falstaff is associated with a ‘feminine’ linguistic copiousness. Patricia Parker, Literary Fat Ladies: Rhetoric, Gender, Property (London and New York, 1987), pp. 21–2.

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the word ‘Welsh’ is used by Hotspur not only of Glendower’s native Welsh but of his English – ‘I think there’s no man speaketh better Welsh’ (3.1.48) – in an instance of the generic sense of ‘Welsh’ as a ‘strange tongue’ that antedates by half a century the first instance in the OED. For the nobleman from the north as for the London citizen the ‘affected rhetoric’ (Cawdrey) practised at the English court is so much Welsh.23 For Glendower and Falstaff language is indeed not primarily a ‘plain’ instrument for ‘plain’ communication, as it is for the northerner and the citizen, but rather a pleasureful (‘holiday’) ‘ornament’ (1 Henry IV, 3.2.122) for display. This pleasure in language as ‘ornament’ is shared by Captain Fluellen whose common linguistic ground with Falstaff is still more specific. For when he forgets Falstaff’s name but remembers his ‘jests and gipes and knaveries and mocks’ he remembers by reproducing one of Falstaff’s habitual linguistic practices. Called ‘Sinonimia or the Figure of store’ by George Puttenham, who recommends it for its added value of beauty,24 the practice is self consciously evoked by the Welsh captain in another instance earlier in the scene which at the same time, significantly, introduces his overt critique of Henry’s rejection of Falstaff: ‘Why I pray you, is not “pig” great? The pig or the great or the mighty or the huge or the magnanimous are all one reckonings, save the phrase is a little variations’ (4.7.13–15). A practice cultivated by Renaissance humanist education ‘sinonimia’ or varying (cf. ‘variations’) translates diachronic change as synchronic range – the ‘copia’, or ‘gallymafrey’, of ‘Englishes’ that the Welshman Fluellen evidently loves as much as the nomadic English courtier Falstaff and that is a function of what he calls in another earlier, similarly self conscious instance, the ‘turning and inconstant and mutability and variation’ of Fortune (3.6.29–30), the fluidity, we might say, of historically contingent linguistic as well as territorial boundaries.25 Foregrounded by the practice of synonymy, the ‘fatal diversity of human language’, as Benedict Anderson calls it, is celebrated by Merry Wives as a synchronic gallymafrey and by the second tetralogy, especially Henry V, precisely as a necessary, or fatal, 23

 In associating the linguistic practice of the man from the north with Protestant bourgeois ideology, Shakespeare may have remembered Puttenham’s point that the English spoken beyond the river Trent ‘is the purer English Saxon at this day’, i.e. closer to the original ideal invoked by the purists. George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, ed. G.D. Willcock and A.Walker, repr. (Cambridge, 1970) p. 145. Compare too the anecdote told by Verstegan to bolster his critique of the court practice of Latinate/romance forms: a ‘principal courtier’ ‘wryting from London’ used the word ‘equip’ in a letter to a ‘personage of authoritie in the north partes’, who was at a loss to understand it. Verstegan, A restitution, p. 205. 24  Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, pp. 214–15 (‘store … doeth much beautifie’). 25  Compare Albert C. Baugh and Thomas Cable, A History of the English Language, 5th edn (London, 2002), p. 187: ‘the richness of English in synonyms is largely due to the happy mingling of Latin, French and native elements’.

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function of history.26 An obstacle to the Protestant bourgeois ideal of ‘plainness’ such centrifugal diversity is indeed fatal to the centripetal exigencies of the aspiration to the normative, stable standard that ‘plain’ ‘King’s English’ represents. For Anderson the ‘King’s English’ is an example of what he calls ‘languages-ofpower’ – vernacular language varieties privileged as standards by the development of bourgeois print capitalism in coalition with the Reformation (to which the new technology was crucial), both, as he points out, requiring as they tended to produce the curtailment of this diversity.27 Summoning memory against the exclusionary Protestant bourgeois ideology of the (King’s) English – and its attendant will to power28 – both the comedy and the histories then celebrate and promote diversity. Specifically, those excluded by this ideology as ‘welsch men’ are set against it, mobilized, we might say, against the imminent triumph of George Page. *** As Terence Hawkes amongst others has noted, the word ‘welsh’ derives from the Old English for ‘foreigner’.29 For the Protestant linguistic and cultural reformer John Cheke it constituted a specifically resonant instance of a people’s self-definition through exclusion of those named as its others: The Jues called al men beside themselves sumtime grecians, but comunli heathen. Even as the aegyptian and the grecian called everi contree … beside theer own barbarous. The romans called all other externos. The germans and our old Saxons called the lijk welsch men. We now call them strangers and outborns, and outlandisch.30

Seeking to affirm continuity of the present English speech community –‘we now call’ – with the past community of ‘our old Saxons’ Cheke here evokes the exclusion of those ‘Welsh-Britans’ and ‘French-Britans’, as William Camden calls them, expelled by the invasion of ‘the Angles, Englishman or Saxons … out

 Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, rev. Edn (London and New York, 2006), pp. 37–46 (p. 46). 27  Ibid. p. 45. 28  Cf. Milan Kundera’s well known aphorism – ‘la lutte de l’homme contre le pouvoir est la lutte de la mémoire contre l’oubli’ – in its (usually forgotten) context of an imposed, total ideological regime. Milan Kundera, Le livre du rire et de l’oubli, trans. François Kérel, rev. edn (Paris, 1985), p. 14. 29  Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’, p. 118. 30   John Cheeke, The Gospel according to Saint Matthew and Part of the First Chapter according to Saint Mark, ed. James Goodwin (London, 1843), p. 48 (emphasis mine; contracted forms normalized). This is the only extant edition of the translation which Goodwin suggests dates from around 1550. 26

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’


of Germanie’.31 He seeks, moreover, to reiterate this exclusion linguistically by avoiding Latin and romance words in his translation of St Matthew’s gospel to which this is a gloss.32 It is then with one of Cheke’s modern synonyms for ‘welsch men’ – ‘outlandish’ – that Thomas Wilson, Cheke’s disciple and associate, seeks to banish the linguistic practices of those he excludes from the normative centre that the ‘King’s English’ represents.33 Introduced in his elaboration of ‘plaines [ie. plainness] what it is’ (marginal gloss), the trope is defined by Wilson, like and with the ideal norm with which it is equated, through exclusion of what it is not. Thus he begins with clerks that with their ‘outlandishe’ Latinate forms might be charged with ‘counterfeiting the kinges English’, then goes on to place in the same category ‘farre journeid gentlemen’ who, ‘like as they love to go in forrein apparell, so they wil powder their talke with oversea language’, notably ‘Frenche English’ and ‘Angleso Italiano’. If, as I have suggested and as I discuss further below, Falstaff belongs in this category of far-journeyed gentlemen, the Host’s ‘Gallia and Gaul’ belong in the category of the ‘Frenche English’ that they bring home from their travels. For with these names the Host moves into a space of translation between the two languages to invent ‘English’ equivalents for ‘gallois’ and ‘gaulois’, French terms then as now for Welsh and French respectively,34 even as he recalls the shared past of French and Welsh as ‘Britans’ expelled by the English. More specifically, he anticipates the point made by the antiquarian Richard Verstegan that ‘the Britaines were originally a people of the Gaules’, an identity that Verstegan argues is signalled by the name Welsh which he claims derives from ‘the manner of speech’ of the Saxons who pronounced ‘Wallish’ ‘instead of … Gallish’ so that ‘Wallish and Gallish, otherwise Gaules and … welsh, is all one’, a common identity that, he adds, is confirmed by ‘french authors’ who ‘call our Wales/Galles’.35 It is to the effect of ‘all one’ – what editors call confusion – that the Host aspires with the names ‘Gallia and Gaul’. For these blur not only the boundary between French and Welsh, but also the boundary between French and English. In this they epitomise the breaches in defining linguistic boundaries which are performed throughout the second tetralogy as well as the comedy, whether   William Camden, Remains Concerning Britain, edited by R.D. Dunn (Toronto, 1984), pp. 14–15. 32  Cheke, The Gospel according to Saint Matthew, p. 15. 33  Thomas Wilson, The Arte of Rhetorique (1553) repr. (Amsterdam, 1969), fols 86r86v (contracted forms, i/j u/v spellings normalized). It is the use of the word ‘outlandish’ in such contexts that turns it from its first, neutral sense of ‘foreign’ (OED A1) to the ideologically loaded ‘extended sense’ (OED 2): ‘going beyond what is considered normal or acceptable; outrageous, extravagant’. 34   See Trèsor de la Langue Française. Dictionnaire de la langue du XIXe au XXe siècle, Tome IX (Paris, 1981), pp. 46, 130. 35   Verstegan, A restitution, pp. 152–3. In the Brittania (1586) William Camden too ‘inclined to the opinion that the ancient Britons were of the same stock as the Gauls’. Hugh A. MacDougall, Racial Myth in English History (Montreal, 1982), p. 21. 31


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through neologism or ‘mistaking’ – as in this instance not so easy to distinguish as editors often assume36 – and which tend to the production of ‘our English’ (3.1.65) as an expanding, inclusive ‘gallymafrey’. It is as a ‘gallimaufrie of language’ (2.1.96) that the figure of Emulo, the ‘foolish gallant visiting Italy’ (the ‘persons of the play’) is introduced by Thomas Dekker in Patient Grisil (1603). Emulo indeed embodies Wilson’s far-journeyed gentleman, expressing the aspiration advertised in his name through a display at once of foreign dress (notably Spanish boots) and of ‘outlandish phrases’ (2.1.62) – polysyllabic Latinate forms such as ‘disconsolation’ ‘oblivionize’ (lines 111–12), ‘vapulating’ (3.2.43, first used here).37 Banished by exclusionary derision to the (out)land of ‘welsch men’ Emulo is coupled with figures of the other ‘others’ that are the Welsh through a romance subplot in which he woos a Welsh widow only to be challenged by the Welsh knight Sir Owen ap Meredith. Entirely without the eloquence and poetry of Shakespeare’s Owen Glendower, Dekker’s Owen speaks a ‘Welsh’ English that is as unambiguously an object of exclusionary derision as the nomadic courtier’s ‘outlandish phrases’. Joined through exchanges between the two figures the two ‘languages’ are then brought together in an ironic praise of Welsh as ‘finer’ than the ‘greeke tongue’ – earlier evoked in a description of the courtier’s Latinate language as ‘greeke to him’ (2.1.24; the first instance of the generic sense given in the OED) – and of ‘a bakte Neates tongue’ as ‘finer then both’ (2.1.172–3). A play on the senses of neat (ox/smartly dressed gallant) this condemns even as it associates the language of English nomadic gentlemen such as Emulo with the types of ‘foreign’ unintelligible language that are Greek and Welsh.38 36  This important point has been made by Norman Blake and Sylvia Adamson, as I discuss in Tudeau-Clayton, ‘Shakespeare’s Extravagancy’, Shakespeare, 1/2 (2005): 143–4. The linguistic breaches in Henry V, as well as in Merry Wives, which she treats as a play about translation in a variety of senses, have been brilliantly explored by Patricia Parker, though she does not consider their ideological implications in relation to definitions of national identities. Patricia Parker, Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context (Chicago, 1996), pp. 116–48; ‘Uncertain Unions: Welsh Leeks in Henry V’, in Baker and Maley, British Identities and English Renaissance Literature, pp. 81–100. 37  The ideology of the play’s sartorial codes, which promote native, russet dress is explored, though without discussion of the linguistic analogy, in Ann Rosalind Jones and Peter Stallybrass, Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 228–32. 38   This cultural configuration is taken up in a very bizarre – and very bad – play attributed to Thomas Dekker, The Welsh Embassador (Works IV, pp. 301–402), which probably dates from the early 1620s. Set at an indeterminate moment of imaginary ‘British/ English’ history and directed principally at correction of monarchical excess this features the figure of Penda, son of the duke of Cornwall, who assumes the disguise of a Welsh ambassador to the English court and who praises Welsh as a ‘lofty tongue’ (3.2.117; later called a ‘lofty brittish tongue’ 4.3.17), but claims too that there are no universities in Wales to produce ‘uplandish greekes and lattins’ and ‘rethoriques’, the ‘pig, high stiles’ of the English court (3.2.44–7; echoes of Fluellen?), a difference that is then confirmed by this

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’


The play on ‘neat’ is used again to the same ideological end in a passage in Westward Ho that has as its particular object of correction the linguistic ideology of the ‘gallymafrey’ in the Shakespearean citizen play that it revisits: Merry Wives.39 The figure of the English bourgeois merchant Mr Honeysuckle responds to a Latin greeting with this dismissal: No more Plurimums if you love me, lattin whole-meates are now minc’d, and servde in for English Gallimafries: Let us therefore cut out our uplandish Neates tongues, and talk like regenerate Brittains.40

Using the territorial term employed by Cheke and Wilson (uplandish/outlandish) Dekker calls for the violent excision (with hints at castration) of the latinate forms practised by elite male gallants in order to constitute a purified, homogeneous national language, here not of England but of a unified Britain – the politically correct, if linguistically problematic, option under James. The violence of this linguistic imperative finds an exact parallel in the plot in which a ‘cogging’ Earl who seeks to seduce a bourgeois wife is defeated, beaten up and driven out by a self-congratulatory citizen community. The specific Shakespearean object here is pointed up by the Earl’s attempt to seduce the citizen wife, Mrs Justiniano, as Falstaff seeks to seduce Mrs Ford, with foreign fashions: a ‘French gowne, Scotch fals … and Italian head-tire’ (2.2.36–8). Mrs Justiniano rejects as a moral as well as social transgression what she describes as a ‘piecing out my wings / With borrowed feathers’ that goes ‘beyond the bounds / Of modesty’ (lines 101–2), ‘Player-like’ ‘[n]ot fitting mine estate’ (lines 109–10). Her refusal to borrow habits that are foreign to her estate as well as to her nation recalls Mrs Ford’s vigorous rejection of the foreign fashions proposed by Falstaff even as it underscores the critique of the transgressions between high and low estates as well as between nations performed by this figure who loves the gallymafrey, like his creator, the poet-player who liberally practised Latinate and romance neologisms and who was famously known – as Dekker may recall – as an ‘upstart’ ‘beautified’ with ‘feathers’ not his own.41 ‘welsh man’s’ dismal attempt at verse (4.1.81–123). Here the condemnation of English court rhetoric as ‘outlandish’ is reproduced through the speaker of a ‘broken english’ (3.1.128) that is again itself located in the same ideological place; presumably this was perceived as a linguistic/cultural instance of the kettle calling the pot black. 39  Dekker, Works, vol. 2, pp. 311–403. The revisiting of Merry Wives has been noted, for example by Cyrus Hoy: ‘The witty triumph of the wives over importunate lovers and jealous husbands follows the example of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor.’ C. Hoy, Introduction, Notes and Commentaries to Texts in ‘The Dramatic works of Thomas Dekker’ edited by F. Bowers (Cambridge, 1980), vol. 2, p. 162. 40   2.1.24–7. 41  In Robert Greene’s well known lines (quoted in Norton Shakespeare, pp. 3321–2). On the ‘generous liberalism’ of Shakespeare’s practice of neologisms see Brian A. Garner, ‘Shakespeare’s Latinate Neologisms’, Shakespeare Studies, 15 (1982): 149–70 (p. 151).


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Falstaff is himself, of course, ‘player-like’ and nowhere more so than in the scene to which Dekker alludes when Falstaff woos Mrs Ford. Claiming he cannot ‘cog’ or ‘prate’ (3.3.39; cf. Dekker’s ‘cogging’ Earl) – a claim immediately belied by what follows – Falstaff then seeks to seduce her through praise of her beauty invoking the foreign (French and Italian) models preferred by Wilson’s far-journeyed gentlemen. ‘I would make thee my lady’ he begins: ‘Let the court

Fig. 6.1

Venetian bride in a gondola by Giacomo Franco (1556–1620), by permission of the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia.

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’


of France show me such another … Thou hast the right arched beauty of the brow that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance’ (lines 41–2, 45, 46–8; cf. Dekker’s ‘Italian head-tire’). Rejecting foreign attire as vigorously as Thomas Wilson Mrs Ford expresses her preference for her ‘plain kerchief’ (line 49) in a correspondingly plain language. This anticipates the triumph of the citizens over the nomadic courtier, thwarted, as I have argued, by the mixed marriage of the subplot. Ann Page would not perhaps have objected to being dressed as a Venetian bride (Figure 6.1). In a linguistic equivalent to the Venetian bride’s headgear that he describes, Falstaff combines neologism with his habitual tendency to what Richard Carew calls ‘synonymising’ in a celebration of the ‘Copiousnes of our Languadge (sic)’ that, as I have shown elsewhere, is echoed earlier by Falstaff’s self-conscious staging of one of Carew’s instances of the practice.42 Illustrated, as I pointed out above, by the Welsh captain Fluellen in Henry V, the practice is shared by Falstaff in Merry Wives with the figure of the Host of the Inn, who surely invites us to relish the contradiction he performs when, for instance, he synonymizes the imperative he issues to Slender’s servant: ‘Speak, breathe, discuss. Brief, short, quick, snap’ (4.5.1–2). Like the ‘our’ of Carew’s ‘our Languadge’, the constituency of the Host’s ‘our’ in ‘our English tongue’ is broad and inclusive with a capacity for the accommodation of ‘strangers’ that, as I have suggested, is emblematized in his Inn as it is illustrated by the practice of hybrid forms like ‘Gallia and Gaul’. Such forms tend to the expansion of the boundaries of ‘our English’ as an inclusive, mobile unity of heterogeneous multiplicity – the gallymafrey Falstaff loves – which is set against the exclusive, fixed unity of ‘one maner of language’ – the homogeneous plainness of the ‘King’s English’. The inclusive unity the Host represents acquires specifically religious overtones through his title as ‘host’ – a word used of the bread of the eucharist ‘regarded as the body of Christ’ (OED) – as well as through the language he uses when in the scene of reconciliation he joins the ‘hand terrestrial’ and ‘hand celestial’ of the ‘soul-curer and body-curer’ as he calls the Welsh priest and the French doctor (3.1.88, 89, 81–2).43 Together with his title, this language evokes what Claire McEachern has finely described as a ‘christological poetics in which … differences


 Tudeau-Clayton, ‘Richard Carew, William Shakespeare’, pp. 523–4. The importance of Carew’s celebration of the varieties of English as equal is pointed out in Bailey, Images of English, pp. 44–5. 43   Note that the mediation of the Host backfires since, once reconciled, the Welsh priest and French doctor join forces against him; this is perhaps a glance at history, specifically the occasional alliance of the French and Welsh against the English as at Agincourt when, as the editors point out in their introduction, Welshmen fought alongside the French. In 2 Henry IV the English rebels, in their assessment of Henry’s position, describe ‘the French and Welsh / Baying him at the heels’ (1.3.79–80).


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are suspended,’44 whether differences between heaven and earth, ‘terrestrial’ body and ‘celestial’ soul, or between individuals within communities. These differences are suspended or ‘cured’ through the mediating atonement or making at one of the eucharist. Shared, as McEachern indicates, by opposed parties of the traumatic divide that was the Reformation, this poetics itself carried a healing potential like and with the function of social reconciliation which remained central to the eucharist despite the shift of emphasis from the Mass to the Word.45 If, however, the scene of the Host’s mediation evokes these healing continuities it also suggests discontinuities, notably the disappearance of the word ‘host’ which appears to have been dropped from the English sacred lexicon at the Reformation, presumably because of its connection to the (repudiated) idea of sacrifice.46 In his office as reconciliatory mediator between antagonistic figures, in particular of antagonistic nations, the Host then summons the memory of a catholic (in the sense of universal) religious community – founded on a unifying, reconciliatory poetics of the eucharist – as well as its institutional instantiation prior to the internal as well as national divisions brought by the Reformation, in England in particular by the identification of the church with the sovereign and the nation. This memory of a pre-Reformation inclusiveness is bolstered by what is surely a literary memory of the genial authorial figure who is likewise a figure of inclusive, reconciliatory mediation in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Indeed, this narrative itself offers a model of an inclusive, heterogeneous community, like the socio-religious practice of the pilgrimage it fictionalizes which for Anderson exemplifies the premodern religious model of community displaced by the ‘modern’ idea of a nation.47 This inclusiveness is, moreover, reflected formally both in the generic range of the tales and in the varieties of English they exemplify which, as Paula Blank notes, are treated as equal.48 Chaucer was, in addition, as Verstegan comments with distaste, a ‘great mingler of English with French’, which, for Verstegan, disqualifies the poet for the widely recognized status of founding 44  Claire McEachern, The Poetics of English Nationhood (Cambridge, 1996), p. 61. Patricia Parker is the only critic who has picked up this religious significance to the figure of the Host though she considers it as ironic only. Parker, Shakespeare from the Margins, pp. 135–7. 45   See Arnold Hunt, ‘The Lord’s Supper in Early Modern England’, Past and Present, 161 (November 1998): 39–83. 46   ‘The very word, Host, hostia, translated the “bread”… into the context of sacrificial death and crucifixion … In the Host were concentrated so many different meanings of the Mass: transubstantiation, real presence, sacrifice.’ Lee Palmer Wandel, The Eucharist in The Reformation (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 33, 37. For the repudiation of the idea of sacrifice by the Reformers see, for example, pp. 100, 106, 109. My thanks to Andrew March for this reference. The specific point about the word ‘host’ does not appear to have been made before. 47  Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 53–6. 48  Blank, Broken English, p. 172, n. 38.

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’


father of a national literature and language – ‘the Loadestarre of our Language’ as ‘EK’ famously puts it.49 This literary memory mobilizes then Chaucerian cultural authority on behalf of the inclusive linguistic ideology of the ‘gallymafrey’ that the Host and Falstaff represent and that is set against the exclusionary linguistic ideology of the ‘King’s English’. This ideology is represented by the figure of the male citizen, George Page. Coupled with the name of England’s patron saint, the name ‘Page’ evokes the print capitalism that in coalition with Protestantism worked towards the curtailment of linguistic diversity and the production of languages of power such as the King’s English.50 Implied in his habitual practice of a sober restrained prose, a ‘plain straightforwardness’ which one critic at least has taken as the play’s linguistic norm,51 his will to linguistic curtailment is also expressed explicitly in occasional judgements on the speech of other figures, including the Host, who is described as ‘ranting’ (2.1.167), and Nim, one of Falstaff’s retinue, whose obsessively repetitive idiolect is dismissed with: ‘Here’s a fellow frights English out of his wits’ (lines 123–4). It is, however, crucially not George Page who invokes the trope, but, as we have seen, Mrs Quickly, a low-born female native speaker whose use of it in an exclusionary performative of her employer, the Frenchman Dr Caius, is immediately ironized by her own ‘mistaking’ of polysyllabic words. It is an irony unwittingly pointed up by H.J. Oliver who groups Mrs Quickly with the French doctor and the Welsh priest as ‘yet another enemy of the English language’.52 When she announces the ‘abusing of … the King’s English’ (1.4.5) that we are about to hear from Dr Caius, only to fall into ‘mistaking’ which identifies her as a fellow abuser, we are asked to reflect on where the boundaries of such a norm (any norm) are to be drawn (and who will draw them). Low-born females without education are as likely to be excluded from the normative centre of a King’s English as elite males with their ‘affected’ rhetoric. Mrs Quickly, in short, is shown to belong with Falstaff in the linguistic ‘outland’ of ‘welsch men’, a place that, as we have seen (footnote 22), was gendered as feminine. The irony of her mistaking also draws attention to the problem of what (as well as who) is to be included/excluded by such a norm. For the words Mrs Quickly mistakes in this scene are specifically ‘words of art’, that is, words from   Verstegan, A restitution, p. 203; ‘EK’ in Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith, 2 vols. Repr. (Oxford, 1971), vol. 1, p. 127. Chaucer’s use of the phrase ‘lord of this language’ of Richard II in his Treatise of the Astrolabe (1392) has sometimes been taken as the origin of the ‘King’s English’, a suggestion first made in Fisher, The Emergence of Standard English, p. 60. Cf. Shrank, Writing the Nation, p. 192. If, however, performative, like ‘the King’s English’, Chaucer’s phrase is perfomatively inclusive not exclusive. 50  Anderson, Imagined Communities, pp. 40, 45. 51  R.S. White, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester, 1991), pp. 51–3. 52   ‘Introduction’ in William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, ed. H.J. Oliver (London and New York, 1971), p. lxxiv. 49

Shakespeare and Wales


the technical lexicon of a professional discourse, here the discourse of medicine with which, again ironically, her employer (from whom no doubt they have been picked up) would be more familiar: ‘phlegmatic’ mistaken for ‘choleric’ (66), ‘allicholy’ for ‘melancholy’ (134). If, as Paula Blank comments, medical discourse was particularly notorious for its ‘hard words’ (like theological discourse – the professional field of the other foreigner, the Welshman Hugh Evans), professional vocabularies have always posed problems for those who would draw the boundaries of a normative national language (and Thomas Wilson expressly excludes professional discourses – of lawyers and accountants – from ‘the King’s English’). As this case suggests, the speech community constituted by a professional discourse cuts across the divisions of national language communities even as it draws divisions within them. This is underscored by the French doctor’s family name (a Latinized form of the English name Keys), which he shares with a figure that was perhaps the most prominent member of this community in Tudor England – John Caius (1510–73), eminent royal physician and co-founder of Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge.53 Shakespeare then chooses to make the object of the exclusionary performative of the ‘King’s English’ a Frenchman who belongs to two speech communities within England: the court and the professional community of physicians. Like and with the ‘mistakings’ of the figure who invokes the trope, this permits ironic interrogation of the project to the ‘one maner’ of ‘plain’ language that is the King’s English. It is an irony that is directed in particular, as I have indicated, at the differential division between (the) French and (the) English on which the ideology of the King’s English is founded. As we have seen, this division is an object of irony too in Henry V which closes with a mixed marriage and an anticipation of a half-French half-English offspring that finds an analogue in the hybrid ‘mistaking’ compounds produced in the scene of the language lesson (3.4). Significantly, this scene immediately follows the scene of the breaching of the walls of Harfleur (3.3), a juxtaposition which draws attention to the inevitable, or ‘fatal’, ‘mingling’ of language as of blood attendant on a shared history of shifting territorial boundaries. It is this ‘fatal’ mixing that the ironic coupling of Mrs Quickly and her French employer Dr Caius as effectively two ‘welsch (wo)men’ points up. Mrs Quickly is also coupled with the other ‘welsch man’ that is the figure of the Welsh priest and schoolmaster Hugh Evans, in the comedy’s scene of a language lesson (4.1). Here, too, the defining boundaries between English and not-English/Welsh are breached. This is done again through ‘mistaking’, whether the ‘mistaking’ sounds of the Welsh speaker or the ‘mistaking’ words of the native English speaker, Mrs Quickly, whose hybrid formations of Latin and English are comparable to Kate’s hybrid formations of French and English. The boundaries  His professional eminence is described as ‘unrivalled’ in the Dictionary of National Biography; having studied medicine in Padua Caius’ career also demonstrates the international character of the professional community. He published extensively on medical and other topics in Latin as well as English. 53

Shakespeare’s ‘welsch men’ and the ‘King’s English’


between Latin/Welsh and English are breached too in the first, self-consciously metalinguistic exchange between the figure of the Welshman and John Falstaff who are also joined by linguistic practices. Flourishing his Latin (like Fluellen he likes to display his learning) Evans calls upon Falstaff to exercise verbal restraint with the formula ‘Pauca verba’ (1.1.102), which he then ‘mistakes’ in translating as ‘good worts’, giving occasion to Falstaff to swerve into a conscious ‘mistaking’ synonymy: ‘Good worts? Good cabbage!’ (103). Announcing the ‘feast of fritters’ that is to come,54 the moment epitomises the generation of linguistic forms that the recurrent breaching of the boundary between English and not English/Welsh in the second tetralogy as in the comedy produces and that opposes itself to the exclusionary ideology of the King’s English. Foregrounded in the tetralogy as a fatal function of history and celebrated in the citizen comedy as the gallymafrey that Falstaff loves, the consequent linguistic mix is displayed in the practice shared by Falstaff with the Welsh captain Fluellen in Henry V and with the Host in Merry Wives: ‘Sinonimia’, a verbal figure for the inclusive unity of the gallymafrey – the Many in the one – that opposes itself to the exclusive unity of the one manner of language that the King’s English represents.55 Falstaff, the lover of the gallymafrey, is then as much an enemy to ‘good language’ – the King’s English – as Mrs Quickly and the Welshman and the Frenchman with which they are both associated. It is consequently fitting that it is Mrs Quickly who imagines an afterlife for Falstaff when she describes the scene of his death in Henry V (2.3). This afterlife is, moreover, located in the telling place of ‘Arthur’s bosom’ (2.3.9). For the Norton editor a cultural ‘mistake’, this might be taken rather as a meaningful exchange of the biblical figure of Abraham for the figure of resistance to Anglo-Saxon expulsion of ‘Welsh-Britans’ and ‘FrenchBritans’, ‘the worthy King of the Brittaines’ (Francis Bacon), who then becomes the hero of a ‘composite people, uniting Britons, Saxons and Normans’,56 a broadly constituted, inclusive and finally indeterminate community that traverses the precise boundaries marked by the ‘modern’ names of French, Welsh and English as well as the more imprecise boundaries evoked by the alternative names 54  Katherine Duncan-Jones, ‘England’s Feast of Fritters’, Times Literary Supplement, 5 January 2007, pp. 16–17. The title alludes to Falstaff’s apparent dismissal of Evans’ speech as ‘fritters of English’ (5.5.135), a dismissal belied by the trope’s culinary character which suggests rather an appetite for the Welshman’s contribution to the gallymafrey. As DuncanJones points out, the play’s verbal feast was enjoyed to the full by those who produced the recent musical version which, moreover, responded to the Shakespearean play with a ‘joyous jumble of visual, cultural and musical styles’. As this instance suggests, Shakespearean cultural and linguistic practice, on the threshold of the modern era, resonates with practices in our own, post modern, moment, as I argue further in Shakespeare’s Englishes. 55  Cf. Puttenham on ‘Sinonimia’: ‘Ye see that all these words … are in sence but all one’. The Arte of English Poesie, p. 215. 56   MacDougall, Racial Myth in English History, pp. 16, 13 (citing G.H. Gerould, ‘King Arthur and Politics’, Speculum, II (January 1927): 33–51).

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of Gallia and Gaul.57 This is indeed a community that is constituted not through a common language or shared territory but through the circulation of a remembered corpus or body of stories, a secular analogue perhaps to the remembered sacred body evoked through the figure of the Host. Mrs Quickly thus foretells the fertile cultural afterlife that will be enjoyed by the far-journeyed fat body of the ‘welsh’ English gentleman, Sir John Falstaff.


 Citing Michelle Warren, Catherine Batt points out that ‘Arthurian texts … speak from and to “border” interests, and across different constituencies, historiographical and political’. Catherine Batt, Malory’s Morte Darthur: Remaking Arthurian Tradition (New York and Basingstoke, 2002), p. 3.

Chapter 7

‘O, I am ignorance itself in this!’: Listening to Welsh in Shakespeare and Armin Huw Griffiths

So far as I know, no historian has ever listened to history, that is, listened to those who were listening, in contradistinction to those who were not, in an attempt to deduce what might have been happening or about to happen as a result of the claireaudience of some and the deafness of others. That is not to imply that listeners have always had an upper hand over non-listeners. Often the situation is reversed, as it seems to be at the present time, when the deaf increasingly rules us. 

In his 1962 book, Elizabethan Wales: The Social Scene, Geraint Dyfnallt Owen is optimistic about the extent of integration experienced by Welsh migrants to Shakespeare’s London: In the febrile world of commerce and trade, there was hardly one sphere of activity into which Welshmen did not penetrate. The various guilds of merchant tailors, drapers, glovers, coopers, dyers, haberdashers and others, contained a strong Welsh element, which made its presence felt in the animated life of the city and became an integrated part of the community barely distinguishable except perhaps by its accent.

This rather rosy view is given the lie, though, by Owen’s sole anecdote about an individual Welsh emigrant to London. A young boy, Charles Jones, who had moved from his home in Wrexham, is apprenticed to a London merchant and badly mistreated. He is tied up, whipped, accused of theft and then, once he is expelled from his master’s house, the merchant uses his influence to ensure that he is signed up to join the Elizabethan wars in Ireland. Whilst serving a term in Ireland may

   Murray Schafer, ‘Open Ears’, in M. Bull and L. Back (eds.), The Auditory Culture Reader (Oxford, 2003), p. 25.    Geraint Dyfnallt Owen, Elizabethan Wales: The Social Scene (Cardiff, 1962), p. 62.   Ibid., p. 69.


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not have been a certain death sentence, his odds of surviving during the late 1590s, or of returning to a fruitful life and career, were surely not good. Any Elizabethan apprentice may have been subject to similar abuse in a system that had few protections built into it for these indentured workers. What is interesting, though, about Owen’s contradictory account of the reception that the Welsh community may have received in London is his little caveat – ‘except perhaps by its accent’. How did Londoners in the late sixteenth century hear Welsh? And how does this relate to the cultural and political relationship between England and its apparently peculiar-sounding neighbour? In the anecdote about Charles Jones, we get a picture of London in the 1590s, intersected not just by economic developments but also by questions of colonialism, imperialism and national belonging. A young Welsh boy goes to London and finds himself fighting an English colonial war in Ireland on the eve of the Essex rebellion which, itself, drew some of its strength from Welsh support and much of its impetus from the failures of the English imperium fully to enclose its Celtic neighbours. How might listening to his accent enable us to think about the complex questions of national exclusion and imperial inclusion that are implied in this story? This may seem like a question to which there is no answer, in that historical sounds are notoriously difficult still to ‘hear’. Leigh Eric Schmidt argues that ‘The voices of the past are especially lost to us’ and that ‘The world of unrecorded sound is irreclaimable, so the disjunction that separates our ears from what people heard in the past are doubly profound.’ However, with the early modern stage, we do have a recording of people’s voices, albeit a much mediated one, in the form of the printed texts of the plays. These texts functioned, not so much as scripts-to-beperformed, but as records of performances already past. One thing ‘recorded’ by these printed texts was the purportedly comic ‘foreign’ accents that the players imitated. French and Dutch accents are reasonably common in plays of this period, a reflection of the particular immigrant communities then forming in sixteenth-century London. Peculiar Welsh sounds were also evident on the London stage in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. From    For an account of the experiences and poor outlook of the English and Irish soldiers during the Nine Years’ War and its aftermath, see John McGurk, The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland (Manchester, 1997).   In her account of the developing ‘subaltern subject position’ of the apprentice through early modern drama (an argument that I also indicate I find suggestive for the situation of Welsh in the drama of the period) Mihoko Suzuki demonstrates the suspicion with which all apprentices were held and their subsequent vulnerability to violent attack. She quotes from a 1595 mayoral declaration, directing ‘“apprentices to have open punishment for their lewd offences” and “every householder to have sufficient weapon at his dore for preservation of her Maiesties peace.”’ Mihoko Suzuki, Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation and Literary Form in England 1588–1688 (Aldershot, 2003), p. 29.   Leigh Eric Schmidt, ‘Hearing Loss’, in Bull and Back, The Auditory Culture Reader, p. 41.

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the early 1590s onwards, Welsh characters on the London stage were increasingly differentiated by the particular sounds that they made – by their language (at times Welsh itself, but more often English spoken with a comic Welsh accent) or by their affiliation with music and song. Some of the more familiar characters include Captain Fluellen from Shakespeare’s Henry V and Sir Hugh Evans from The Merry Wives of Windsor. However, other plays, some less well known, also represent Welshness either through the mispronunciations of ‘Welsh’ characters or by a particular affinity between Welshness, music and poetry; these include George Peele’s Edward I (1593), Thomas Dekker’s The Welsh Ambassador (1597) and The Patient Grissill (1600), the anonymous Sir John Oldcastle (c.1599), Robert Armin’s Two Maids of More-Clacke (c.1606) and Thomas Middleton’s A Chaste Maid in Cheapside (1613). Questions of inclusion and/or exclusion within an Anglocentric culture are highlighted by having these sounds echo around the public theatres of early modern London. These sounds are more than simply local colour but can become ways of thinking about the emergence of different national contiguities in the complex formations of early modern England and/or early modern ‘Britain’. David Baker’s valuable way of thinking about emergent national identities and institutions in this period as being ‘between nations’ can be seen at work here. Baker writes about ‘Britain’ as ‘an ontological predicament, a knot of conundrums entangling the several peoples’ inhabiting Pocock’s ‘north Atlantic archipelago’. Such ontological conundrums around the status of ‘Britain’ are played out on stage in some of these plays as the sounds of Welshness are either listened to, not heard or dismissed as nonsensical. It is worth asking questions over how the sounds of Welshness were heard on the London stage because, as is well understood, eloquent speech and the ability

   Gary Taylor’s assertion in his edition of Henry V that ‘Shakespeare was the first Elizabethan dramatist to attempt a Welsh accent’ (p.161, n. 19) is not borne out, either by the sheer amount of texts that use this cod-Welsh accent for comic, or semi-comic, effect (Taylor also mentions Dekker’s Satiromastix (1601) and Northward Ho (1605)), or by the collaborative nature of its initial production. The dating of The Merry Wives of Windsor is far from settled and it may be that, if we are to assume Armin’s involvement in that play, then we will have to move the usual dating of that play at 1597 forward a couple of years. These interactions between author, company, performance and performer are difficult to sort out, though, and what I believe to be more arguable is that the stage is collaboratively responsible for developing this particular accent, with Shakespeare’s company and his clown, Robert Armin, central to its popularity, if not its sole originators. Amongst the other essays in this volume, Philip Schwyzer and Megan Lloyd also discuss the presence of various forms of Welsh language in a range of plays on the early modern stage.   David Baker, Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell and the Question of Britain (Stanford, 1997), p. 8. See also J.G.A. Pocock, ‘British History: A Plea for a New Subject’, Journal of Modern History, 47/4 (1975): 601–21.

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to command an audience were of real importance in early modern England. Welsh people, though, are routinely staged as having a particularly difficult relationship with eloquence – Fluellen from Henry V and Sir Hugh Evans from The Merry Wives of Windsor are both learned, but pointlessly and loquaciously so. In the humanist, and predominantly Ciceronian, education programmes of early modern England, a high value is placed on making yourself understood in public and connections are made between proper uses of eloquence and assumptions of intellect. Given the importance placed on the maintenance of political influence through persuasive language, the performance of the Welsh accent as comically inarticulate, heard only for its sound rather than listened to for its sense, is an exclusionary move on the part of the English stage. The three Shakespeare plays that I pay particular attention to in this chapter all actively put this process up for debate. The Welsh scene in 1 Henry IV contains an explicit discussion of the relationship between language, nationality, translation and civility. The comic Welsh characters developed in The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry V are both humanist scholars, albeit of different sorts (Fluellen is a military historian and Evans a clergyman and tutor) and, as such, they embody contemporary debates over the relationship between language, translation and civility. The plays of Shakespeare and the performances of Robert Armin, the clown in the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, are integral to the developing tradition of stereotypical ‘stage Welsh’ in the period. However, when some of Shakespeare’s versions of Welshness are examined, a more complicated picture of the relationship between Wales and England is revealed, one which stages England’s stubborn refusal to listen as much as Wales’s inability to speak properly. We are, at times, invited to distrust an English unwillingness to listen almost as much as to ridicule the absurd speech patterns of the Welsh. Or rather, within the act of cultural differentiation brought about by the performance of Welsh as nonsensical, an emergent subject position – Welsh – demands to be heard, if not by the English characters on stage, then by the audience, or some members of it. As Mihoko Suzuki has argued, ‘the early modern stage can be considered a nascent public sphere, where interventions by subalterns are marked by their rhetorical and political disability’.10 She claims that both apprentices and women are marked out by their lack of access to effective communication. At the same time, she argues that these ‘subordinate subjects’ also become potential ‘subject positions’ from which dominant ideologies may be challenged. In these Shakespeare plays, whilst Welshness is staged in such a way as to differentiate and, in part, exclude it from an English civility, a resistance to this process can also be heard. In this way, we might then be able to approach what Schafer calls for in the epigraph to this chapter – ‘to listen to those who were   See Neil Rhodes, The Power of Eloquence and English Renaissance Literature (London, 1992). Ronald Knowles writes, more recently, that ‘The Renaissance enthronement of eloquence has long been something of a cliché’. Ronald Knowles, Shakespeare’s Arguments with History (Basingstoke, 2002), p. 14. 10   Suzuki, Subordinate Subjects, p. 5. 

‘O, I am ignorance itself in this!’: Listening to Welsh in Shakespeare and Armin 115

listening, in contradistinction to those who were not’. How were Shakespeare’s audience listening to the ‘Welsh’ that they heard, and how was that modelled for them by English auditors on stage? Performing Welsh accents The characters of Sir Hugh Evans and Fluellen are marked out as Welsh by their recognizable speech patterns – pointless repetitions, supernumerary plurals and confusion between ‘p’s and ‘b’s being only the most prominent. In the 1590s, these speech patterns are developed, primarily by Shakespeare and his company’s clown, Robert Armin, as a particular version of stage Welsh that proves remarkably enduring.11 That it is no more than a stereotyped performance of Welshness rather than an attempt at a real Anglo-Welsh accent is attested to in Armin’s inventive re-cycling of it as a disguise in his own play, The Two Maids of Moore-clacke, just a few years later. In that play, Tutch (played by Armin) is a servant who disguises himself, ‘like a welch knight’ in order to help his master, Filbon, in his courtship. Filbon assumes the role of the Welsh knight’s servant. Armin lays it on thick and the accent, as it is recorded in the printed text, is ridiculously and gloriously overdone: Tutch. Where is Tailer? dudge me, will knog his pad, What is chirken with cold button done, say you. Filbon. Excellent, this is welch indeede, O my honest Tutch.12

If the character that Tutch performs would have brought back memories of Armin’s previous incarnation as Fluellen in Shakespeare’s Henry V, then he makes sure that any audience member with a decent memory does not miss the point and there are clear references to the dialogue and action of the earlier play. Assuming the role of master, he instructs Filbon in his duties, warning him to perform them properly, ‘lest I leaue talking welch, and crack your pate in English’.13 This is an echo of Gower admonishing Pistol in Henry V, after the latter has been made to eat a leek by Fluellen: ‘And henceforth let a Welsh correction teach you a good English condition’ (5.1.71–2). Armin’s irresistibly anarchic use of the Welsh stereotype in Two Maids draws attention to the performative nature of these ‘Welsh’ stage ‘characters’. The performative nature of Armin’s Welsh ‘character’ is an important reminder that  It is still audible in Croft and Perry’s racist and homophobic sitcom, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum (1974–81), featuring a British army concert troop stationed in Burma at the close of the Second World War. Sergeant Major Williams, played by Windsor Davies, is a direct descendant of Shakespeare and Armin’s Fluellen. 12  Robert Armin, The Two Maids of Moore-clacke (London, 1609), sig.F1r. 13  Ibid., sig.F1r. 11


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what is happening in the earlier Shakespeare plays is also a performance. That Welsh people are singled out by early modern English stage practice as having amusing accents, or as particularly musical, is not an accurate representation but a cultural imposition whereby Welsh people are produced as audibly outside of the mainstream of an Anglocentric Tudor nation. Bruce Smith identifies ‘unisonance’, a term he takes from Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, as an important experience forming part of a community’s processes of self-identification, whether on a local or on a national level.14 That is, having the same experience of sound is something which helps imagine a community into existence. In rendering Welsh, or Welsh-accented English, as something bordering on nonsense, the theatre of early modern England is effectively beating the bounds of the kingdom, indicating what sounds are, and what sounds are not, ‘English’. The particular form that these plays take, with multiple voices and multiple listening positions, results, however, in an idea of nationhood founded not on ‘unisonance’ at all, but on different forms of heterosonance. These plays involve a complex process of negotiation both onstage and off, over what might constitute the properly civilized sounds of English nationhood. What is significant in this airing of accents is whether people are willing to listen – just as much as what sounds it is that they hear. Welsh translations and British roots A feature of the Welshness that is produced in each one of these plays is a selfconsciousness about language and translation. This is again picked up on, with comic effect, in Armin’s Two Maids. Tabitha, the object of Filbon’s affection, eventually marries him and the disguises are dispensed with, but the language games continue in an exchange that again echoes the ‘Welsh correction’ speech from Henry V, but also, this time, a moment from The Merry Wives of Windsor: Tabith. And I acknowledge both this in my Lord, my head, my husband, at whose bed I am obedient: all in all, I am the wife of Filbon, whose rough Welch, hath got a constering English, parse it boy, Nounes, Pronounes, Verbs, Aduerbs, and God giue thee ioy. Tutch. With vocative ô, your father heares it. Tabitha. And ablative caret, takes his daughter.15

This echoes a scene in The Merry Wives of Windsor in which Sir Hugh Evans instructs young William Page in his Latin, unwittingly creating bawdy humour for Mistress Quickly: 14  Bruce Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the ‘O’ Factor (Chicago, 1999), p. 38. 15  Armin, The Two Maids of Moore-clacke, sig.G4v.

‘O, I am ignorance itself in this!’: Listening to Welsh in Shakespeare and Armin 117 EVANS. That is good William. What is he, William, that does lend articles? WILLIAM. Articles are borrowed of the pronoun, and by this declines: Singulariter nominative hic, haec, hoc. EVANS. Nominativo hig, haeg, hog, pray you mark. Genitive huius. Well, what is your accusative case? WILLIAM. Accusativo hinc – EVANS. I pray you have your rememberance, child: accusative hing, hang, hog. MISTRESS QUICKLY. ‘Hang-hog’ is Latin for bacon, I warrant you. EVANS. Leave your prabbles, ’oman. – What is the focative case, William? WILLIAM. O – vocativo – O – EVANS. Remember, William; focative is caret. QUICKLY. And that’s a good root. (4.1.33–47)

Mistress Quickly hears Welsh as rude, and rude in two senses – both bawdy and uncultivated. This is not corrected by Mistress Page who, though reacting differently from Quickly (she wants Evans to stop whereas Quickly joins in what she sees as a game of puns), nevertheless still only hears Evans for the sounds he makes, rather than the intended sense. These bawdy puns, where ‘constering’ (an old form for ‘construing’, with the stress on ‘con’) puns on ‘cunt’ and ‘caret’ (heard as ‘carrot’) is slang for penis, are linked together in Quickly’s climactic ‘root’, which can either be another word for penis, or ‘fuck’.16 ‘Root’ also brings pertinent questions of etymology together with ideas of ethnicity and heredity. In addition, related ideas of cultivation, of planting, or rooting things out, are also available.17 Shakespeare’s Welsh roots extend beyond Evans’ carrot to include Fluellen’s leek in Henry V and Innogen’s cooking in Cymbeline. In that play, in a scene in Wales which foregrounds the complicated relationships between cultivation and origins, Shakespeare again returns to ‘roots’. Innogen, disguised as Fidele, makes soup for Guiderius and Arviragus, unaware that they are her brothers. In this soup she cuts their ‘roots in characters’, making a kind of ‘alphabet soup’, as the editor of the Oxford edition points out.18 Just a few lines later, Shakespeare returns to ‘roots’ as the two brothers discuss their new friend, in terms of breeding and education: GUIDERIUS. I do note That grief and patience, rooted in him both,  I am making some use, here, of Eric Partridge, Shakespeare’s Bawdy (London, 1947). See the entries for ‘root’ and for ‘carrot’. ‘Constering’ is my own identification and seems supported by Shakespeare’s use of it in the schoolroom scene from The Taming of the Shrew (5.1.30). 17  I am grateful to Willy Maley for indicating the relevance of these puns for the argument I am attempting to make. 18   William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, ed. Roger Warren (Oxford, 1998), 4.2.51. 16

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Mingle their spurs together. ARVIRAGUS Grow patience, And let the stinking elder, grief, untwine His perishing root with the increasing vine. (4.2.58–62)

Guiderius and Arviragus, as the long-lost but nevertheless heroic sons of Cymbeline, can be taken as the play’s demonstration of the innate quality of nobility: birth will out. But here, in their discussion of Fidele (Innogen), they entertain the idea that cultivation, a training process, might be more important than birth and that some indigenous traits need to be ‘rooted’ out.19 Whilst these matters extend beyond the immediate concerns of this chapter, they indicate that even in scenes like these from Two Maids and Merry Wives, where Welshness is, on one level, being produced merely as ridiculous, there are also indications of wider anxieties relating to the origins of Britishness, and particularly of the complex roots, both ethnological and linguistic, that might serve to reveal apparent Anglocentric unisonance as inhabited by other sounds and other modes of listening. Even in the schoolroom, a place where it may be presumed that dominant cultural paradigms are enforced, an irreverent cultural hybridity is being brought into play. Welsh roots serve to confuse any ‘constering’ of the Anglo-Latin culture of the schoolroom as singular, univocal or unisonant. Translations between Latin, Welsh and English had been of particular interest earlier in the sixteenth century, in a major work of Welsh humanism. In the 1560s, political pressure emerged to translate the Bible into Welsh for use in church. The work was primarily undertaken by William Salesbury and Richard Davies. Salesbury had already written books on Anglo-Welsh translation – an AngloWelsh dictionary and a guide to the pronunciation of Welsh. These provide an implicitly biased account of the relationships between the English and Welsh languages. Although Salesbury harbours an evident wish to promote Welsh culture and the Welsh language, this exists alongside an acknowledgement that he is writing under the auspices of an English Tudor imperium. The title-page  This is a use of the word, ‘root’ that is also available in John Davies’ Discovery of the True causes why Ireland was never entirely Subdued (London, 1612). Discussing Ulster, he writes of King James VI and I that, ‘his Majesty did not utterly exclude the Natives out of this plantation, with a purpose to roote them out, as the Irish wer excluded out of the first English Colonies; but made a mixt plantation of Brittish & Irish, that they may grow up together in one Nation: Only, the Irish were in some places transplanted from the Woods & Mountaines, into the Plaines & open Countries, that being removed (like wild fruit trees) they might grow the milder, and beare the better & sweeter fruit’ (281–2). Michael Neill also quotes this passage in his extensive discussion of Davies as a way of thinking about Anglo-Irish relations in Shakespeare’s histories plays. Michael Neill, ‘Broken English and Broken Irish: Nation, Language and the Optic of Power in Shakespeare’s Histories’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 45 (1994): 18. 19

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of Salesbury’s 1547 Dictionary in Englyshe and Welshe, claims that this book is ‘moche necssary to all suche Welshemen as wil spedly learne the englyshe to[n]gue thought unto the kynges maiestie very mete to be sette forthe to the use of his graces subiectes in Wales’.20 Under the imperial rule of King Henry VIII, the King who had overseen the first Act of Union in 1536 which prohibited Welsh from being used as an official language in the courts and in the administration of government, Salesbury’s book can only include Welsh as a language that will be superseded by English. Salesbury’s national sympathies emerge more strongly in his other book, A playne and a familiar Introductiō[n], the title of which announces its purpose to teach ‘how to pronounce the letters in the Brytishe tongue, now commonly called Welshe, whereby an Englysh man shall … wyth ease reade the sayde tonge rightly’.21 Yet within the text itself, such noble endeavours to improve the Welsh of the English inhabitants of the Marcher lands are contained within the same Anglocentric imperium. In his closing remarks, Salesbury addresses Richard Collingbourne, the book’s dedicatee: For I meane nothyng lesse than to go about to enduce any Englishman to learne Welsh (but for hope to attayne so muche Englysh of such, in permutation thereof) but contrarily I would faine with all industry endeuour my selfe to helpe & further all Welsh men, to come to the knowledge of Englysh as a language most expedient, and most worthiest to be learned, studied and enhaunced of all them that be subiectes, and under the obeysaunce of the imperial diadem and triumphant Scepter of England.22

Whilst he goes on to insist that Welsh is not the barbarous language people imagine it to be, it is clear which is the more valued language and which is the one presumed to be on its way out; within the emergent Tudor nation, English is the language ‘most worthiest to be learned’. Felicity Heal claims that Salesbury, despite becoming ‘one of the greatest protectors of his own vernacular’, nevertheless finds himself writing ‘the most remarkable statement of linguistic imperialism’ in the period.23 Salesbury aims, in part at least, to promote Welsh language and culture, but his attempts are caught up within literary, religious and legislative systems that work against this aim. The counterworkings of these systems are recorded in   William Salesbury, A Dictionary in Englyshe and Welshe (London, 1547).   William Salesbury, A Playne and Familiar Introduction (London, 1557). This is an extended second edition of the previous A Briefe and Playne Introduction (London, 1550). 22   Salesbury, A Playne and Familiar Introduction, sig.F4r. 23   Felicity Heal, ‘Mediating the Word: Language and Dialects in the British and Irish Reformations’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 56 (2005): 265. In her article on the sometimes contradictory impulses of various early modern projects of translating scripture and liturgy into the several different languages and dialects of Britain and Ireland, Heal makes the point that, ‘the political environment in which Protestant translation flourished was that of growing centralism’ (p. 264). 20 21

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the mixed motives that he is forced into avowing, whereby English is said to be the senior partner in a relationship that is only theoretically reciprocal. Salesbury constantly hedges his bets. A further example of this can be seen in the narrative that he provides of a break in contemporary Welsh access to traditions of culture, literature and history. He gives an account of Welsh nobles, imprisoned in the Tower of London, calling for ‘such bokes of their tonge as they most delited in’.24 Once held in London, these repositories of Welsh culture were burned by the English at the time of Glendower’s rebellion, so that these ‘reliques and monuments’ were ‘destroyed and utterly devastat’.25 It is not, of course, that Salesbury intends anyone to recover this scholarship and learn Welsh now – but of Welsh learning, he says, ‘if I were learned I might say somewhat of it.’26 As it is, this ‘silence’ speaks volumes. This consciousness of the equivocal status of the Welsh language might be seen as peculiar to Salesbury if it were not the case that it is enshrined in the legal structures surrounding the translation of the bible into Welsh. Parliament passed an Act in 1563 providing for the translation to be undertaken, but the original Act was pointedly amended by the House of Lords, who stipulated that English bibles and prayer books were to be placed next to the Welsh versions, so that people, ‘may by conferring both tongues together the sooner attain to the knowledge of the English tongue’.27 The function of the translation is not the promotion of a specifically Welsh language and culture. On the contrary, it is seen as an efficacious measure in bringing the Welsh speaking population within the body of the Church of England wherein, eventually, Welsh will become unnecessary. It is a stop-gap, a response to the need of the Elizabethan Church to centralize forms of worship, and a further step in the Tudor project of national unity under an Anglocentric imperium. This could not be brought about in Wales without the Welsh language, as very few Welsh people would have spoken English, and yet Welsh remains the undesirable element in these translation exercises.28 However much Welsh is spoken or read it appears to some, even those purporting to promote its use, that it is caught within an inevitable progress towards silence. The excessive noise that Fluellen and Sir Hugh Evans make on stage is an English excuse to eradicate the sounds of Welshness from the English   Salesbury, A Playne and Familiar Introduction, sig.G1r.  Ibid., sig.G1v. 26  Ibid., sig.G2r. 27   Quoted in J. Gwynfor Jones, Wales and the Tudor State (Cardiff, 1989), p. 95. For an account of what he calls this ‘piece of English chauvinism’, see also G.R. Elton, ‘Wales in Parliament 1542–1581’. in R.R. Davies et al. (eds.). Welsh Society and Nationhood: Historical Essays Presented to Glanmor Williams (Cardiff, 1984), pp. 109–21. 28   J. Gwynfor Jones, Early Modern Wales, c.1525–1640 (London, 1994), p.150. I am indebted both to Gwynfor Jones’ book, and to Glanmor Williams, Recovery, Reorientation and Reformation: Wales c.1415–1642 (Oxford, 1987) for my understanding here of the events, processes and politics of reformation in early modern Wales. 24 25

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imperium, a stepping-stone to the dominance of English in the soundscape of the Atlantic archipelago. At the same time, though, the plays demonstrate a lack of patience with some English characters who are not prepared to listen to their Welsh neighbours. Pistol exemplifies this English cymrophobia in both Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor. In Henry V, of course, he is the subject of Fluellen’s ‘Welsh correction’, a lesson in recognizing the merits of the Welsh. If the same actor played Pistol in the comedy as in the history plays, then audience members may have remembered the contempt in which he held Sir Hugh Evans in the earlier play, calling him a ‘mountain foreigner’ (1.1.145). Although Pistol is the only person to suggest that Sir Hugh is a foreigner – that, as a Welshman, he does not belong in Windsor – his xenophobia is catching. Despite Sir Hugh’s importance within the several intertwined plots of the play, other characters fall easily into an anti-Welsh way of speaking. Mistress Ford refers to him as ‘the Welsh devil Hugh’ (5.3.12), and Falstaff, at the very moment that he is tormented by almost every member of the cast, and set upon by children and adults disguised as fairies, singles out Sir Hugh Evans for particular abuse, crying, ‘Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy, lest he transform me to a piece of cheese!’ (5.5.80–81). Falstaff does not know that this is Sir Hugh, but he somehow recognizes that this ‘fairy’ is Welsh and backs up his outrage with a stereotypical association of the Welsh with cheese. Notwithstanding the low-level prejudice that constantly subtends the portrayal of Sir Hugh as a comic character – comic because he is Welsh – the association of this cymrophobia with Pistol holds it up as a potentially inappropriate reaction to Welsh difference. The Ladie speaks in Welsh Pistol represents a belated and rather basic investigation into English deafness. In Shakespeare’s earlier history play, 1 Henry IV, the role of the English xenophobe, short of hearing and long of speech, is taken by Hotspur. In a scene set in the home of Glendower, Shakespeare develops his most thorough investigation into questions of imperial inclusion and national exclusion as they are played out in the sounds of Welsh and in English responses. Some of the stage directions during the Welsh scene in 1 Henry IV are fascinating. ‘Glendower speaks to her [his daughter] in Welsh and she answeres in the same’ is followed by, ‘The Ladie speaks in Welsh’ and then, ‘The Ladie speakes againe in Welsh.’ Later, when she comes to sing, there is the deceptively straightforward stage direction, ‘Here the Ladie sings a welsh song’ (Q1, F3r-v). It is not clear how the young boy, playing this enchanting daughter to a great Welsh prince, articulated ‘Welsh’. We can have no idea whether he knew some Welsh and spoke it, or whether he just spoke some gibberish that would have approximated ‘Welsh’ to the ears of a sixteenth-century Londoner. In her essay in this collection, Megan Lloyd assumes that the young boy would have been either Welsh or a


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competent Welsh-speaker. Whilst not ruling this out, I am less optimistic about this necessarily being the case. It is highly probable, growing up in Stratford, not far from the English-Welsh border, that Shakespeare would have encountered Welsh being spoken on a regular basis – enough perhaps even to string a few words together himself – but how this could have been translated by a Londonbased actor is wholly uncertain. Because of increased mobility between England and Wales in the late sixteenth century, it is to be assumed that it was possible then, as it is now, to hear Welsh being spoken in London but that can hardly mean, then as now, that anybody in the audience would be expected to understand Welsh.29 However, what was spoken and whether it was comprehensible is only one half of the equation – how it was listened to is the other, and perhaps more important, half.30 By the time that these stage directions occur, ‘Welsh’ has already become synonymous with ‘nonsense’ for at least one man in the play. Hotspur refuses to listen to the demands of the Welsh prince, Glendower, and dismisses him: ‘I think there’s no man speaks better Welsh. / I’ll to dinner.’ (3.1.48–9). Later, Hotspur wants to alter the share of the land he is to be given, in the event that their rebellion against Henry IV proves successful. When Glendower refuses to let him, Hotspur reacts with a response which resembles something like a bad-tempered child sticking his fingers in his ears and refusing to listen: ‘Let me not understand you, then; speak it in Welsh.’ To this, Glendower replies: I can speak English, lord, as well as you; For I was trained up in the English court, 29   Other plays from the period contain examples of Welsh, albeit somewhat garbled. Dekker, Haughton and Chettle’s The Patient Grissil (1603) has three characters who speak Welsh – Sir Owen, Rice (his servant) and Gwenthian (a Welsh widow). The incomprehensibility of their conversation is made a joke of by Ferneze, an Italian: ‘Manage Thlawen, oh my good widow, gabble that we may understand you, and have at you.’ We are not, I think, meant to take seriously Sir Owen’s rejoinder: ‘Welshe tongue is finer as greeke tongue’ (II.i.170–74). Attempts were made to link Welsh and Gaelic with several ancient languages, so that Salesbury compares Welsh to Greek (A Playne and Familiar Introduction, sig. B2r) and to Hebrew (sig. G2r-v) and Spenser, in A View of the State of Ireland, ed. Andrew Hadfield and Willy Maley (Oxford, 1997), suggests a convoluted route for the Irish use of letters that ultimately derives from the Greek (p. 48). It seems likely that, in a Reformation context, these attempts are, as Heal argues, a means to ‘subvert the hegemony of the Latin Vulgate’ (‘Mediating the Word’: 272) and to field the possiblity that local vernaculars might more readily represent the original langauge of the Bible than Latin. Such antiquarian endeavours may well be the target of satire in Sir Owen’s ungrammatical Welsh patriotism. 30  The scene is omitted from the Dering manuscript version of the play, a version prepared by Sir Edward Dering (1598–1644) for private performance at Surrenden Hall, Kent. Presumably, the Welsh would have been just too difficult to approximate. See the ‘Introduction’ to the Folger Fascimile edition, pp. vii-xi.

‘O, I am ignorance itself in this!’: Listening to Welsh in Shakespeare and Armin 123 Where, being but young, I framèd to the harp Many an English ditty lovely well, And gave the tongue a helpful ornament – A virtue that was never seen in you. (3.1.112–22)

As opposed to Hotspur’s refusal to admit that Welsh could make sense, Glendower sees being able to move between the two languages as a mark of civility. He pointedly refers to Hotspur’s lack of similar linguistic talent – ‘A virtue that was never seen in you.’ His scorn is warranted by Hotspur’s impolitic tendency to speak out of place, evident in every scene in which he appears. What Hotspur is really about in this scene is refusing to entertain Glendower’s particular understanding of how the three rebels – Hotspur, Glendower and Mortimer – are to divide up the land after they have deposed Henry. Hotspur’s anti-Welsh position is partly motivated by his demands for more territory at the expense of Mortimer, his cymrophile relative. Behind Glendower’s commentary on Hotspur’s linguistic ineptitude is an implied criticism of his hypocritical politics, an hypocrisy that emerges as cymrophobia and that receives its final answer when the Welsh desert the rebellion. In this scene, a dual attitude towards Welsh is developed. This is prepared for early in the scene with conflicting attitudes to claims that Glendower is a magician. Hotspur expresses his irritation with Welsh magic vividly and English xenophobia has never been so effusive in its refusal to listen: He held me last night at least nine hours In reckoning up the several devils’ names That were his lackeys. I cried ‘hum’, and ‘Well, go to’, But marked him not a word. O he is as tedious As a tirèd horse, a railing wife, Worse than a smoky house. I had rather live With cheese and garlic in a windmill, far, Than feed on cates and have him talk to me In any summer-house in Christendom. (3.1.151–9)

(There’s that cheese again!) But Mortimer understands things very differently and continues as if Hotspur has said nothing, marking him not a word: In faith, he is a worthy gentleman, Exceedingly well read, and profited In strange concealments, valiant as a lion And wondrous affable, and as bountiful As mines in India. (3.1.160–4)

These different attitudes could simply be explained by the fact that Mortimer has married Glendower’s daughter or by Hotspur’s characteristic impatience with anything that appears to get in the way of his mindlessly single-minded purposes


Shakespeare and Wales

throughout the play. However, their differences are also part of a question over English responses to the sounds of Welsh – trying to listen or refusing to hear. Despite Mortimer’s attempts to listen attentively to Welsh and to acknowledge the processes of translation between English and Welsh, there is enfolded at the heart of this scene, a significant silence – the incomprehensible ‘Welsh’ of Mortimer’s young wife. The audience are prepared by these prior discussions to think about how they can listen to something that they are likely to find incomprehensible. Do they model themselves on Hotspur’s deafness, or on Mortimer’s courteousness? In the section where the princess speaks Welsh, Glendower tells his daughter that her new husband, Mortimer, has to go off and fight in the rebellion against the King. She starts to cry: MORTIMER. I understand thy looks. That pretty Welsh Which thou pourest down from these swelling heavens I am too perfect in; and, but for shame, In such a parley should I answer thee. The Lady speaks again in Welsh. I understand thy kisses and thou mine, And that’s a feeling disputation. And I will never be a truant, love, Till I have learned thy language; for thy tongue Makes Welsh as sweet as ditties highly penned, Sung by a fair queen in a summer’s bow’r, With ravishing division, to her lute. GLENDOWER. Nay, if you melt, then she will run mad. The Lady speaks again in Welsh. MORTIMER. O, I am ignorance itself in this! (3.1.187–207)

It is possible to read this moment as analogous to other scenes in Shakespeare where a woman’s body is translated for her into the language of a male authority figure. I am thinking of the scene from Titus Andronicus, in which Titus claims to be able to understand the ‘parling looks’ of his tongue-less daughter, Lavinia, and also scenes from Henry V in which the French princess, Katharine, has her French tongue translated into the eroticized body of an English Queen. However, Mortimer’s attempts at translation could also be read as offering an alternative model for listening to Welsh than that provided by Hotspur. Mortimer wants to learn to speak Welsh and uses some of the same language to describe the Welsh language as Glendower has used to describe his own civilized ventures into courtly English – the ‘ditties highly penned’ that the lady speaks match the ‘many an English ditty’ that her father ‘played to the harp’ ‘lovely well’. In describing her ‘divisions’, a term that can refer both to ‘melodies’ and to the arrangement of an argument, as ‘ravishing’ there is a hint of menace in its reference to the intoxicating power of rhetoric and music, but it is also the case that Mortimer

‘O, I am ignorance itself in this!’: Listening to Welsh in Shakespeare and Armin 125

is attempting to make rational sense of this enravishment. In these interactions there is, despite the enclosed incomprehensibility of the Welsh language, or even because of it, a sense that civility might not be located in the English language itself, but in the opportunity for translations between English and Welsh. Civility does not depend on unisonance at all, but on heterosonance, not on being articulate but on being able to listen. An attempt to decipher the ‘noise’ associated with Welshness becomes the mark of a civility that is in marked contrast to Hotspur’s violent intolerance. 1 Henry IV briefly offers a revision of British civility through the medium of Welsh. Once Armin gets his voice around Shakespeare’s Welsh characters, something is lost, notwithstanding the joyously performative nature of his characterization; Welshness is reduced to a joke and its noises become an excuse for a projected, though ultimately unsuccessful, eradication. In a poem from nearly half a century later, the death of Welsh as a viable language is prematurely announced by Katherine Philips who, herself, lived in Wales: If Honour to an ancient Name be due, Or Riches challenge it for one that’s new, The British Language claims in either sense, Both for its Age, and for its Opulence. But all great things must be from us remov’d, To be with higher reverence belov’d. (1–6)31

Welsh is aestheticized as Philips compares its recession into the past with the beauty of ‘Lantskips’ in which the ‘prospects’ (7) are all the more attractive for lying in the distance, and also to Troy which is ‘to one dark ruine hurl’d’ (9). Her subsequent insistence on Welsh as a language of ancient wisdom spoken by bards and by Merlin, and as an heroic language spoken by Boadicea and King Arthur, is summarized in the final words of the poem, which relate the story of Caractacus: This [i.e. Welsh] spoke Caractacus, who was so brave, That to the Roman Fortune check he gave: And when their Yoke he could decline no more, He it so decently and nobly wore, That Rome her self with blushes did believe, A Britain would the Law of Honour give; And hastily his chains away she threw, Lest her own Captive else should her subdue. (41–8)

31  Katherine Philips, ‘On the Welch Language’, in Patrick Thomas (ed.), The Collected Works of Katherine Philips, the Matchless Orinda. Vol 1: The Poems (Stump Cross, 1990), pp. 202–3.


Shakespeare and Wales

Whilst credit is given to Caractacus’ heroic rhetoric, he remains Rome’s ‘own Captive’ and the Welsh language remains safely contained, receding into the distance, and the overall effect of Philips’ poem being a denial of its continuing relevance. Welsh as receding into a landscape of ruins; books held hostage to Welsh obedience in the Tower of London, then burned in response to the threat of Glendower; and a London boy on stage, singing a Welsh song, the words for which never make it into print: these are three moments in which the Welsh language is shown as threatened with extinction, seemingly caught up in the inevitable and overwhelming embraces of an Anglocentric imperialism. However, I hope I have outlined the possibilities for this not having been the case, even when Welsh seems at its most contained. In the midst of the Irish colonial wars and in the aftermath of England’s linguistic colonization of Wales, the current relevance of Welsh might have been fleetingly available for Shakespeare’s audience in the 1590s. That is, if they attempted to make some sense of a young London actor singing in Welsh, even if they were ‘ignorance itself in this’.32

32  Although I have not been discussing the political aims of English dominance in Wales, but rather its cultural manifestations on the London stage, my understanding of the politics of Anglo-Welsh relations is informed by R.R. Davies’ 1974 article, ‘Colonial Wales’ (Past and Present, 65 (Nov. 1975): 3–23), in which he makes a case for understanding medieval English assaults on Wales and Welsh customs as an early form of colonialism. It is, I think, not surprising that, in the 1590s, Shakespeare would want to return to this period of earlier colonialism as England attempts its further colonization of Ireland.

Chapter 8

Contextualizing 1610: Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales Marisa R. Cull

Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and R.A.’s The Valiant Welshman are, in many ways, remarkably similar plays. The backdrop for both is a Roman invasion of Britain, and both take as their title characters ancient British kings who were, according to contemporary sources, bound by a tributary relationship with Rome. Both plays also follow history’s diktat and conclude with submission to Rome. These similarities have not, of course, gone unnoticed by critics, who have often grouped Cymbeline and The Valiant Welshman into a wider canon of early seventeenthcentury plays that depict the Roman invasion of Britain; this thematic trend is often read as a side effect of a period in which Rome and Britain uneasily coexisted as symbols for the Jacobean empire. Yet there is another, more specific grouping that demands attention for these two plays: both were staged in the immediate aftermath of the 1610 investiture of Henry Frederick as Prince of Wales, an event that raised the profile of Wales and invited new theatrical explorations of Wales and its relationship to the ancient British past. The investiture – the first of its kind since Arthur Tudor’s formal investiture in 1489 – invited much celebration in Henry’s honour, and much of that celebration was designed to appeal to Henry’s own inclinations toward militarism and chivalry. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Richard Dutton, Alan Farmer, Willy Maley, Philip Schwyzer and Elizabeth Zimmerman, who, at various points in the development of this chapter, offered valuable insights and commentary.    On the symbolism of Rome and Britain in the early Jacobean era, see Jonathan Goldberg, James I and the Politics of Literature: Jonson, Shakespeare, Donne, and Their Contemporaries (Baltimore, 1983), esp. pp. 33–54. Coppélia Kahn also provides a detailed analysis of the Rome-Britain connection in her study, Roman Shakespeare: Warriors, Wounds, and Women (London, 1997), esp. pp. 1–26. For a recent study that links The Valiant Welshman and Cymbeline along the lines of ‘Romans and Britain’ plays, see John E. Curran, Jr, Roman Invasions: The British History, Protestant Anti-Romanism, and the Historical Imagination in England, 1530–1660 (Newark, 2002).   The history of the princedom of Wales and its use as an instrument of the English monarchy is extraordinarily complex, and cannot be treated in full detail here. What is important about Henry Frederick’s investiture for the purposes of this essay is that it signalled a re-invigoration of a title that had remained dormant during a long period of dynastic uncertainty. The first chapter of my dissertation, ‘Staging Cambria: Shakespeare,


Shakespeare and Wales

As Roy Strong’s biography has shown, the prince was deeply invested in presenting himself as a paragon of martial strength; his most enduring preoccupations were soldierly ones, and he surrounded himself with like-minded compatriots who would contribute to the growing cult of personality that surrounded the young prince. It is unsurprising, then, that much of the symbolism deployed for the investiture was directly related to heroism. It is also unsurprising that celebrations for Henry Frederick focused on a particular brand of heroism that had long survived in the English cultural imagination: that of the ancient Britons. Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones’s Prince Henry’s Barriers, staged in January 1610 in anticipation of the June investiture, made particular use of the ancient British mythology for its introductory speeches, calling on Arthur of Britain as well as the prophet Merlin as the ancestors of the new prince who was sent to, as Arthur puts it, ‘claim my sceptre and my style’. Here was a prince set to reclaim an ancient past, to ‘restore ruined seats of virtue’. The use of an ancient British past to marshal support for a contemporary British nation was not, in 1610, a new trend. There had been, of course, a long literary tradition of connecting England to ancient Britain, most especially in the works of Edmund Spenser, whose Faerie Queene frequently invoked the ancient British past as a means of exploring the imperial inheritance of his greatest heroes and heroines. Moreover, James’s own fascination with the project of British union – derived in part from his own status as king of both England and Scotland – had compelled him on more than one occasion to claim that his project was one of restoration, a re-unification of nations that had once been, simply, ‘Britain’. These uses of the ancient British past are careful to equate the British past with the the Welsh, and the Early Modern English Theater, 1590–1615’, considers the princedom of Wales and its cultural importance in detail.   Roy Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance (London, 1986).   Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones, Prince Henry’s Barriers, in Inigo Jones: The Theatre of the Stuart Court, 2 vols., ed. Stephen Orgel and Roy Strong (Berkeley, 1973), 1:160 (l. 78).    Barriers, 160 (l. 86).   This is especially important in Book III, when, in the third canto, Britomart learns of her British ancestry from the prophet Merlin, an Arthurian figure who tells Britomart that those of Briton blood stand ready to reclaim ‘roiall maiesty and soueraine name’. See The Faerie Queene, ed. A.C. Hamilton (London, 2001), III.iii.48.   A most telling example of James’s interest in the idea of Britain is his own 1604 proclamation declaring himself ‘King of Great Britain’ (Jenny Wormald, ‘One King, Two Kingdoms’, in Uniting the Kingdom? The Making of British History, ed. Alexander Grant and Keith J. Stringer [London, 1995], 123–32, esp. 123–24). The literary community capitalized on this interest as well; when Anthony Munday set out, in 1605, to write a Lord Mayor’s pageant that would attract James’s favor, he chose British union as his theme. The triumphes of re-united Britania featured Brute’s awakening from a long sleep; his first order of business is to restore his divided kingdom to its natural, unified, and peaceful state.

Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales


Anglo-Scottish present, implying a straightforward line of descent from glorious Briton kings like Arthur to the contemporary monarchy. Philip Schwyzer’s recent work has shown us, however, that the English use of the ancient British tradition – from Brute to Arthur, from Trojans to Tudors – was in fact an opportunistic use of a tradition that is most readily identified with the Welsh and their ancestors. The founding of the British Isles by the Trojan Brute, the prophecy of Merlin and the glorious Arthurian court were histories that the English knew through the work of a Welsh monk, Geoffrey of Monmouth. Geoffrey’s history posited that the Welsh, who fled to their western territory during invasions by both the Romans and the Saxons, were the last descendants of the pure Briton bloodline. This history of Welsh ancestry persisted in the historiographies of both Holinshed and Camden; Holinshed claimed that the Welsh were ‘the verie Britains in deed’, while Camden asserted that, following invasion, ‘The residue of Britans … withdrew themselves into the westerne parts of the Iland’.10 Thus the presence of ancient Britain in the early modern English cultural imagination was always, however distantly, accompanied by the presence of Wales. The 1610 investiture invited a full-scale collision of this dual presence: Henry Frederick’s new title as ‘prince of Wales’, coupled with a public image that was highly amenable to invocations of ancient British heroism, provided a locus for exploration of the relationship between Britain and Wales. The investiture and the cultural response to it demonstrate that Wales could be usefully invoked as a site of latent British glory, one that would symbolically ‘house’ the young Henry during his tenure as prince of Wales. Moreover, the history of the ancient Britons – the ancestors of the Welsh – was here called upon as a means for exploring a particular type of heroism that proved especially well-disposed to the prince’s tastes as well as to his current title. The Welsh were, according to Camden, ‘a verie warlike nation’,11 a people ‘fierce, valiant, given to war, and impatient of servitude’, a characterization that endured despite the increasing scepticism about this heroic British past.12 In celebrations for the 1610 investiture, then, British heroism is – both explicitly and implicitly – tied to Welsh heroism.   See Philip Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism, and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge, 2004), esp. pp. 6–7.   Raphael Holinshed, The first and second volumes of Chronicles (London, 1587), 90 (sig. h3v). 10   William Camden, Britain: or, A chorographicall description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and the Ilands adioyning, out of the depth of Antiquitie: Beautified with Mappes of the several shires of England, trans. Philemon Holland (London, 1610), 113 (sig. K1r). This quotation (and all subsequent quotations cited in this essay) from Camden also appears in Britannia’s Latin editions, published in 1586 and 1590. 11   Britain, 113 (sig. K1r). 12   Britain, 615 (sig. Eee 6v). This quotation from Camden refers to a specific tribe of Welshmen, the Silures, who populated southern Wales, and who were the supposed tribe 


Shakespeare and Wales

Heroism was not, however, an unproblematic symbol for the investiture. The celebration of militarism and chivalry was bound by the values of the venue in which it was staged: whatever Henry’s preference, mediation trumped militarism in James’s court. This is, perhaps, why the Barriers glorify martial heroism and also qualify it, providing a gentle warning to the young prince to appreciate the accomplishments of great British kings while still maintaining a position of defensive aggression only: ‘make t’invite / Your valour upon need, but not t’incite / Your neighbor princes’.13 The investiture would be marked with such tension. While Henry Frederick was drawn to the symbolism of an ancient race known for its valour, Scottish James was eager to exploit the princedom of Wales for its amenability to an image of a pure, peaceful, and unified Britain. While the Barriers focused on Arthurian heroism, Samuel Daniel’s masque, Tethys Festival (performed on the day of the investiture itself), focused on Anglo-Welsh unification. The masque stages the discovery of a young prince at Milford Haven, ‘The happy Port of Union’ that made the first ‘blest conjunction’ between England and Wales.14 While court performances needed to accommodate such tension with gestures to both James and Henry Frederick, the public theatre of 1610 demonstrates that this tension could be staged in more divisive ways. The rising profile of Henry Frederick provided the culture at large with a realistic alternative to their pacifist king, whose via media policies had attracted the disdain of those who favoured more aggressive plans for past enemies like Spain.15 Both Cymbeline and The Valiant Welshman exploit some of the most prominent symbolism of the investiture in their representation of Wales and its ties to British heroism. Yet they do so in ways that are strikingly different, demonstrating that the ideological divide between James and his bold and aggressive heir could be usefully explored through disparate representations of Wales and its ancient history. These representations become even more pronounced when considered alongside their theatrical provenance: Cymbeline was staged at the Globe, by the King’s Men, while The Valiant Welshman was performed at the Fortune, by Prince Henry’s Men. What I examine here is how Cymbeline and The Valiant Welshman – each working to accommodate of Caractacus, the hero of The Valiant Welshman. The disposition of the ancient Britons, including their propensity toward war, has also been considered by Mary Floyd-Wilson in her study of British ethnology; she also considers the historiographical shift that dulled the prominence of the ancient Britons. See Mary Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama (Cambridge, 2003), esp. p. 52. 13   Barriers, 162 (ll. 323–25). 14   Samuel Daniel, Tethys Festival (London: 1610), sig. E4r. 15   As Roy Strong points out, many of the critics of James’s pacifism were members of the Elizabethan war party, who saw James as ‘a monument to appeasement’ for making peace with a Catholic country like Spain. Their focus on Henry Frederick was appropriate: the young prince had his own ambitions for war with Spain, as well as for expansion into the West Indies (Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales, pp. 72–3).

Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales


a particular political position – use the local moment of the investiture to shape the early modern perspective of the Welsh and their legacy of British heroism. Both Cymbeline and The Valiant Welshman feature a theatrical double for the prince of Wales: in Cymbeline, that double is Guiderius, the eldest son of Cymbeline and heir to the throne of Britain. Guiderius exists primarily on the fringes of the play; separated from his father as a child, he has spent his early years in a rural cave with his surrogate father, Belarius, a former soldier in Cymbeline’s court. In The Valiant Welshman, Caradoc serves as a double for Henry Frederick, a fact made plain in the play’s opening lines, which refer to Caradoc as a ‘Prince of Wales’16 – a title that means nothing in the context of the play’s historical setting, but one that is, of course, highly politicized in the context of 1610. Each theatrical double for Henry Frederick appropriately displays a streak of valiant martial heroism; Guiderius is responsible for the death of the most despicable villain in Cymbeline, and his courage against the Romans saves Cymbeline from capture, while Caradoc’s martial heroics form the most central scenes in The Valiant Welshman. Yet martial heroism is, in each play, celebrated with differing degrees of enthusiasm, and the treatment each theatrical double receives demonstrates how the culture at large deployed and reworked the tensions of the investiture on a wider scale. That Cymbeline and The Valiant Welshman each use Welshness as a means for exploring these tensions is testament to both the renewed visibility of the prince’s seat and the renewed interest in the ancient past and its relation to the present. In both plays, then, a distinctive version of Welsh heroism emerges as a means for exploring the ancient past and its usefulness as a model for the presentday heir to the throne.

16  R.A., The Valiant Welshman, Or, The true Chronicle History of the Life and Valiant Deeds of Caradoc the Great, King of Cambria, now called Wales (London: 1663), sig. A4v (hereafter citations of the play will be made parenthetically). The Ohio State University’s Rare Books and Manuscripts collection owns a copy of this edition of the play, and I have chosen to quote from it. It must be noted, however, that the first edition, printed in 1615, is nearly identical to the 1663 edition, differing chiefly in minor spelling modernizations. The printing of an edition of the play in 1663 may well be significant: in late November of 1662, Charles II gave his illegitimate son James the title ‘Duke of Monmouth’, and 1663 was a year full a formal ceremony acknowledging the dukedom (February) and James’s installation as a knight of the Order of the Garter (April). These are, of course, not the equivalent of the princedom of Wales, which was reserved for legitimate heirs; however, the dukedom of Monmouth was given precedent over all other dukedoms, and Charles ‘tended to treat Monmouth as if he were a prince of Wales’, grooming him to be head of the armed forces and sparking speculation that he would declare Charles legitimate. A reissue of The Valiant Welshman may well have coincided with speculation that there would be a new prince of Wales after all. See Tim Harris, ‘Scott [Crofts], James, duke of Monmouth and first duke of Buccleuch (1649–1685)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006),, accessed 13 Sept 2007.


Shakespeare and Wales

I want to begin with The Valiant Welshman, primarily because it is the play that most explicitly engages with Henry Frederick’s carefully crafted persona. That Caradoc is identified as a ‘Prince of Wales’ early on is most certainly a gesture to the prince, but the play also lionizes the virtues that Henry Frederick found most compelling: shrewd military skill, a disdain for corrupt politics, and a stalwart refusal to placate the enemy. Caradoc – known as Caratacus or Caractacus in the chronicles of Holinshed and Camden, respectively – was an ideal subject for an author searching for parallels to Henry Frederick. Though Caradoc was, strictly speaking, a king of ‘Britain’, his most famous exploits were performed in the lands that we now identify with Wales;17 moreover, his reputation as the most skilled military leader in ancient British history aligned him well with Henry Frederick’s own ambitions for his future leadership. The Valiant Welshman works throughout to create a version of heroism that endorses the ancient past and its Welsh roots as a suitable model for a future heir. The Valiant Welshman is primarily war-driven. The play tracks the successful military exploits that eventually lead Caradoc to his position as King of Wales, a kingdom he will ultimately defend against Roman invasion. Caradoc’s story begins when he arrives in North Wales to assist in the military campaign against Monmouth, an evil usurper who seeks to overthrow the rightful king, Octavian.18 At first sight, Caradoc is tagged as ‘manly’ (sig. B2r); his courage is plainly revealed in his insistence that he ‘single forth’ (sig. B3r) to find Monmouth and defeat him alone, a feat he accomplishes with relative ease. Such displays of superior strength abound: Caradoc easily defeats the play’s Claudius Caesar in a hand-to-hand combat (sig. D2r), and later in the play he shames his political rival Codigune by defeating him in a poleaxe battle (sig. E3r). Even the Romans seem excessively preoccupied with Caradoc’s reputation, delaying their invasion to better prepare for the ‘strong and puissant’ Caradoc (sig. F2v). R.A. is careful to stress, however, that Caradoc’s successes are not based purely on strength, but also on skill. Described late in the play by a neighboring king, Caradoc is hailed as ‘well instructed in true fortitude, / A Graduate in Martial discipline, / And needs no Tutour; for in pupil age / He was brought up in honours rudiments, / And learn’d 17  This is a point that R.A. highlights in his preface to the printed edition of the play, noting that although Caradoc was technically a ‘British prince’, he ruled over countries ‘now called South-Wales, North-Wales, and the Marches’ (sig. A3r). 18   Monmouth is, of course, the historic locale at which Henry V was born, a fact played on in Act 4, scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Henry V to legitimize Henry’s claim to Welshness (see 4.2.104). The name as it is used in The Valiant Welshman, however, seems to invoke some of the more problematic aspects of Monmouth as a truly Welsh locale; since the 1535 Laws in Wales Act, Monmouthshire had enjoyed a distinctly English privilege, being the only Welsh county given two knights of the shire for representation. The distinction between Monmouthshire and other Welsh counties often led to it being counted as an unambiguous part of England; that Monmouth is overthrown early in The Valiant Welshman stresses the return of the kingdom to its rightfully Welsh heirs.

Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales


the elements of warlike Arts’ (sigs. H1v-H2r). Moreover, Caradoc is temperate in his decisions about war: careful not to risk the lives of many for an unjust war, he attempts diplomacy with Codigune (‘First with words / Wee’l seek to conquer’ [sig. E2r]), urging his rival to consider the larger human costs of war: Codigune, mark what I’ll offer thee: Since that the wrongs, which basely thou hast bred Cannot be reconciled, but by the death Of millions, that must suffer for us two; And we the Authors of what wars and bloud Shall in her frantick outrage lavish out: (For ’tis a thing honour scorns to do, That multitudes should perish for us two:) Thou art a man, if actions like thy words, Be but proportionable … (sigs. E2v-E3r)

The focus on Caradoc’s training and his moderation is key for understanding the play’s overall conceptualization of Welsh heroism; by attributing Caradoc’s martial successes to a civilized form of training, the play offers a depiction of heroism that moves beyond plain brute force. This is an ancient king of which the English – and by extension the British – can be proud. The focus on Caradoc’s martial skill is, of course, made most plain in the play’s onstage battles. But The Valiant Welshman also explores the implications of having such a successful martial hero as a king. Throughout the play, Caradoc is shown to be disdainful of politics, and characters in the play who show a preference for political theorizing and manoeuvring are roundly ridiculed. The usurper Monmouth is the first to demonstrate such inclinations; upon meeting Caradoc on the battlefield, Monmouth proclaims that ‘villainy, and ambition, best befits / The royal thoughts of Kings: Read Machiavel: / Princes that would aspire, must mock at hell’ (sig. B4r). Caradoc offers no sophisticated rebuttal to Monmouth’s claim before striking him dead. Codigune displays a similar penchant for Machiavellian plots, promising to ‘Italianate’ himself so that he will be inspired with ‘the soul of Politicians’ in his plot against Caradoc (sig. C1v). His revenge plots combine poisonings, kidnappings and double-dealing with the Romans; his soliloquies on revenge are the play’s longest. Caradoc, by contrast, offers his fair share of nationalistic couplets (‘But at the name of Romans, is all war / All courage, all compact of manly vigour’ [sig. C3v]) and is openly derisive of bribery and court favouritism, scorning Caesar’s offer of gold by reminding him that ‘Souldiers have mines of honourable thoughts’ (sig. D2v); in the play’s final scene, Caradoc complains of the ‘Sicophants’ and ‘flattery’ that threaten true honour (sig. I4r).19

19  Tristan Marshall, who also notes a distinct parallel between Caradoc and Henry Frederick, sees a more explicit similarity here, noting that Henry Frederick ‘was reputed


Shakespeare and Wales

Indeed, if any criticism of Caradoc is to be found in The Valiant Welshman, it is at moments in which Caradoc is not vigilant enough against these kinds of threats. R.A. follows his source materials and has Caradoc’s defeat at the hands of the Romans come by way of betrayal, not martial failure; however, Caradoc’s own inability to anticipate that betrayal reads like a subtle critique. Once Caradoc has defeated Codigune in a battle over who will be king of South Wales, he makes an unlikely concession to his rival: he offers him the kingdom of North Wales, provided that Codigune agree to recognize Caradoc’s kingship (sig. E3v). When Codigune claims that he no longer feels deserving of the kingdom of North Wales and promises to live a solitary existence, Caradoc wholeheartedly believes him, and sends him on his way. It is, to say the least, a naïve move: Caradoc has too readily assumed that his superior martial strength will forever quiet Codigune’s rebellious urges, and Codigune and his fellow conspirator, Gloster, are eager to plot their next move against Caradoc, who now finds himself king of a newlyunited Wales. Caradoc makes another critical error when he comfortably settles in at the home of the king of York, Venusius, and his wife Cartamanda: though he is aware of the risk of traitors (‘what fidelity / Can be in Traytors, who art so unjust, / That their own Countrey is deceived in trust?’ [sig. H3r]), he is naively unsuspicious of his hosts, and it is Cartamanda that eventually hands Caradoc over to the Romans. Caradoc’s undoing at the hands of treacherous foes may well provide a suitable lesson: the best kings must remain constantly vigilant about the risk of betrayal. Although Caradoc fights an impressive number of wars in The Valiant Welshman (he battles Monmouth, Codigune and the Romans in quick succession20), he also manages another heroic episode that is decidedly less political. In the play’s fourth act, amidst the turmoil of the impending Roman invasion, Caradoc must travel to the rural parts of Wales to defeat a giant serpent that has been devouring the sheep and shepherds of the kingdom. The episode is curious, and no doubt its presence in an otherwise historically derived play has contributed to the critical consensus that the play is little more than a pastiche of conflicting theatrical conventions.21 I would argue, however, that this episode marks a further development of Caradoc’s particular brand of heroism: he clearly fights with God on his side. The Valiant Welshman takes place, of course, in a pre-Christian Britain, and although the play makes obligatory references to ‘the gods’, those references seem curiously peppered with Christian sentiment: Caradoc describes heaven as ‘a place of

to have disliked bribes’. See Tristan Marshall, Theatre and Empire: Great Britain on the London Stages under James VI and I (Manchester, 2000), p. 107. 20  The play’s action actually occurs over a longer period of time; in Act 4 we are reminded that Caradoc’s wars against the Romans lasted over nine years (sig. H3r). 21   M.C. Bradbrook offers one of the most scathing critiques, calling the play ‘an appalling piece of gibberish’ that borrows heavily from other plays of the period. See Shakespeare the Craftsman (London, 1969), pp. 71–2.

Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales


rest, and Angels bliss’ (sig. B3v); moreover, he maintains a providential sense of Christian justice. This kind of faith is contrasted with the existence of black magic and superstition within Wales, which is the root of the serpent’s creation: the traitorous Gloster has enlisted the help of a witch and her son to distract Caradoc from his fight with the Romans. Caradoc hastens to the site of the serpent’s wrath, but before he meets his unconventional foe, he is stopped by a prophetic old man, who, by ‘sacred heavens decree’ provides Caradoc with a ‘precious soveraigne herb’ (sig. G1r) that will help him to defeat the monster. It is a classic ‘add faith unto your force’ moment; the old man, who distinguishes his herb from the ‘black inchantments’ against which Caradoc will be fighting, warns that ‘No force of sword can conquer hellish fiends’ (sig. G1r), which require a higher power than Caradoc has yet employed against enemies. Caradoc’s gratitude for this advice (he thanks the old man as a ‘gentle Father’) is followed by an elaborate display of stagecraft, in which the serpent ‘flies into the Temple’ (sig. G1r) after being shown the herb.22 Caradoc ends his fight with the serpent by burning the temple and instructing his comrade to throw the offending witch atop the burning flames (sig. G1v). It is a Protestantism not explicit, but implicit enough to make Caradoc an ancient model for an ideal militant Protestant king. The ‘Welshness’ that Caradoc embodies is thus easily assimilated into the English cultural imagination: it borrows much from the Galfridian tradition of an ancient Britain that had developed a highly sophisticated and highly civilized society, even without the Roman influence. Caradoc’s Wales frequently resembles the ancient Britain of the legendary King Arthur: Caradoc’s great strength against Monmouth earns him a place in Octavian’s court, where he enjoys feasting and sporting with his countrymen, and where he will be made an heir to the throne of Wales – and also where he will be betrothed to his bride, Guinevere. The allusion to the Arthurian court and the famed Arthurian bride is none-too-subtle here. Caradoc is a Welshman that need not be assimilated; he has an inherent impulse to valour, an impressive sense of honour, and an inclination to root out evil magic and superstition where he finds it. In short, Caradoc is no naked tribal heathen, nor is he a foolish, accented and boastful stage Welshman – a stereotype fully exploited in the character of Morgan, who, although tremendously capable as a 22  The stage direction here may invite another level of interpretation. If the serpent does indeed ‘fly’ into the temple (or, at the very least, if it has wings and is meant to appear in flight), the moment is also resonant with another famous ‘add faith unto your force’ moment: when Saint George defeats the dragon to become the most revered English hero. The defeat of the dragon is especially important in Book I of Spenser’s Faerie Queene (see especially I.xi); however, Caradoc’s defeat of this serpentine monster may also hearken to another episode in Spenser’s epic. In Book V, Arthur enters an old church to destroy an idol that is guarded by a monster that has ‘A Dragon’s taile’ (V.ix.24) and the snake-like ability to stretch itself so that it ‘fild all the place’ (V.ix.23). Arthur, of course, triumphantly defeats this guardian of relics and idols, securing a victory for the true faith.

Shakespeare and Wales


soldier, functions most often as a comic distraction from the play’s more serious developments.23 By exploiting the most heroic myths about the ancient Britons, R.A. is able to create a Caradoc who functions as the perfect prince of Wales.24 It is an appropriate tribute from Henry Frederick’s own company of players, and although we cannot be certain that Henry Frederick prompted or even witnessed such a tribute, we can speculate that such theatrical spectacle in his honour was designed to raise and endorse the public profile of a prince who was surprisingly active in the control of his public image, a fact demonstrated most clearly in his involvement with his own investiture celebrations.25 We can also speculate that such a blatant endorsement of Henry Frederick’s image would have played well at the Fortune. Far from court, the Fortune lacked the imperative to create a model of Henry Frederick that would also play well to the king, whose efforts to stay firmly out of the fray of international dispute meant that too much aggressive militarism from Henry Frederick could undermine his own policy. Furthermore, although early critics of The Valiant Welshman were inclined to mock the play’s ‘old craft spectacle’, which drew heavily on the style of chronicle history plays, this ‘old craft’ proved especially amenable to the thematic underpinnings of the play. 26 The theatrical conventions of the chronicle history allowed for frequent displays of martial prowess and national pride, qualities that were particularly appropriate for a Welsh hero that was designed to highlight the best qualities of the mythic ancient past. The construction of this ancient Welshman made for a timely parallel to, and a useful model for, the current prince of Wales. Cymbeline, by contrast, borrows little from the recent theatrical past; it bears the mark of a more seventeenth-century aesthetic by including a masque-like interlude and a tragicomic plot that shuns easy resolutions in favor of complicated   Morgan’s role in The Valiant Welshman (and its resemblance to the role of Fluellen in Henry V) deserves more attention than I can give here; however, it is important to note that Morgan functions as a sort of ‘alternative Welshness’ within the play. I would argue that this alternative version of Welsh identity serves to highlight Caradoc’s special role as a model for an English prince of Wales. 24  Those who know John Fletcher’s Bonduca will know that it too features a version of Caradoc – the valiant but flawed Caratach, whose often overzealous (and, at times, homoerotic) admiration for the Romans undermines his commitment to an independent Britain. This Caratach appears to owe little to The Valiant Welshman; however, as I argue in the third chapter of my dissertation, Bonduca was likely written in the immediate aftermath of Prince Henry’s death, and the play appears to mourn the loss by displacing the great hopes of Britain into the young Hengo, who dies while attempting to help Caratach in his final stand against the Romans. 25   Strong, Henry, Prince of Wales, p. 141. 26  Bradbrook, Shakespeare the Craftsman, p. 72. Irving Ribner has similar disdain for the The Valiant Welshman, calling the author ‘an avid imitator both of history plays and of other popular drama, but he had little imagination, little ability to construct a play, and no understanding of the meaning and fuction of history’. See Irving Ribner, The English History Play in the Age of Shakespeare (London, 1965), pp. 264–5. 23

Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales


plot twists. Cymbeline similarly shuns an idyllic representation of the ancient past. Cymbeline’s British court is civilized indeed, but it is shaped by Roman influences from the play’s start – Cymbeline freely admits his formative years were spent among the Romans, and his British kingdom has apparently enjoyed a cooperative relationship with Rome for years. Characters in the play who argue for British resistance to Rome are wicked: the play’s chief villains, the queen and her son Cloten, are the play’s mouthpieces for the kind of nationalistic bombast that was so characteristic of Caradoc in The Valiant Welshman. The ‘textual puzzle’ that has kept critics discussing Cymbeline’s national politics for decades occurs in the play’s third act, when the queen delivers a powerful speech praising the valiant British ancestry that has contributed to ‘The natural bravery of your isle’.27 As John Curran has compellingly argued, the queen’s rhetoric here borrows heavily from the Galfridian mythology of ancient British autonomy and resistance.28 The puzzle of the queen’s politics appears resolutely solved when, following her death, she is proclaimed a ‘most delicate fiend’ (5.4.47) by the husband who followed her rhetoric into war with the Romans. The myth of the ancient past is, in Cymbeline, exposed as a dangerous threat to the nation’s future. Yet as Curran and others have shown, the heroic mythology of the ancient past is never wholly discredited in the context of Cymbeline; indeed, it is explored on the fringes of the play – appropriately, in a locale that is suspiciously like Wales, and so implicitly connected to the ancient past that Cymbeline works hard to reimagine.29 In this rural and barren locale are found Cymbeline’s two long-lost sons, the princes of Britain, who have languished in obscurity under the adopted parentage of Belarius, who left Cymbeline’s court after being falsely branded a traitor. For Curran, the exploration of Wales and its inhabitants is connected to the early seventeenth-century historiographical shift, one that moved away from the Galfridian tradition toward a more realistic version of the national past, and one in which the ancient Britons were ‘naked, painted, heathens’ who were undoubtedly heroic, but lacking in basic civilization.30 For this progress, the Britons would need the Roman influence. Thus the ‘Welsh’ scenes in Cymbeline can be read 27   3.1.18. All quotations from Cymbeline (hereafter cited parenthetically) come from Martin Butler’s New Cambridge Shakespeare edn (Cambridge, 2005). 28   John E. Curran, Jr, ‘Royalty Unlearned, Honor Untaught: British Savages and Historiographical Change in Cymbeline’, Comparative Drama, 31/2 (1997): 277–303, esp. 289–91. 29  Coppélia Kahn, for example, highlights the native advantages of the ancient Britons, who offer their own version of martial prowess, even though they are ultimately made whole through their communion with Roman values (Roman Shakespeare, pp. 162– 3). More recently, Mary Floyd-Wilson has argued that Cymbeline may well be endorsing another version of the national past altogether: she posits that Guiderius and Arviragus might also be models for England’s Anglo-Saxon ancestry. See Floyd-Wilson, English Ethnicity and Race in Early Modern Drama, esp. pp. 167–9. 30  Curran, ‘Royalty Unlearned’, p. 279.

Shakespeare and Wales


as a depiction of this more historically-informed version of British history; the princes who live in the Welsh space are, like the early Britons, valiant but rough around the edges, destined for a more hopeful future that will align them with their imperial benefactor, Rome. Although I agree that Cymbeline is most certainly engaging with the politics of historiography in its treatment of the young princes and their Welsh upbringing, I want here to shift the focus to the specific politics of 1610, which invite a sustained look at Guiderius – Cymbeline’s eldest son and heir to his throne – as a theatrical double for Henry Frederick. The theatrical symbolism deployed for the discovery of Guiderius and his brother, Arviragus, is especially resonant with the first masque performed for Henry Frederick’s investiture; as in Samuel Daniel’s Tethys Festival, the heir is found in ‘Cambria’, and at the very least near Milford Haven.31 The play also apparently anticipates the symbolism of Ben Jonson’s Oberon, The Faery Prince, which finds Henry Frederick concealed by a giant rock, or cave, from which he will emerge to claim his inheritance.32 Guiderius’s theatrical presence also subtly mimics the preoccupations of Henry Frederick; Guiderius is, in spite of his youth, naturally inclined to valorous pursuits, and his eagerness to do battle with the Romans is, in the end, a saving grace for Cymbeline, whose own British soldiers seem unprepared and unwilling to fight. Yet all is not glory for Guiderius, whose heroism is qualified in ways that we simply do not see within The Valiant Welshman. One primary indication of this ambivalence is in Shakespeare’s carefully manipulated depiction of Guiderius’s temporary home in Wales. In both plays, ‘Wales’ is of course an anachronism – no such separate entity existed in the context of Roman Britain – yet both plays create such an imaginary version in order to explore the implications of a space that had, in the context of 1610 especially, come to represent both the site of the ancient British past and the future British heir. Critics have rightly noted that Cymbeline seems desperate to exploit the symbolism of Milford Haven, the famed landing spot of Henry Tudor in his march toward overthrowing Richard III, and, within the play, it is the planned meeting spot between Posthumus and Innogen.33 Innogen 31

  sig. E4r.   Oberon was staged on 1 January 1611, with Henry Frederick himself performing as Oberon. See Ben Jonson, ed. C.H. Herford and Percy Simpson, 11 vols. (Oxford, 1925–52), 7: 340–56. 33   Emrys Jones was the first to argue for Cymbeline’s use of Milford as a reference to Henry VII and his march through Wales (‘Stuart Cymbeline’, Essays in Criticism, 11 [1961]: 84–99); however, more radical theories have emerged in recent years. Ronald Boling, for example, argues that the use of Milford Haven here should be connected with Pembrokeshire, known as ‘Little England beyond Wales’; Pembrokeshire – and by extension, the Milford of Cymbeline – is meant to ‘contain traces of the anglicizing process in early modern England’. See ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations in Cymbeline’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 51/1 (2000): 33–66, esp. p. 35. For another argument focusing on Pembrokeshire as a locus for Cymbeline’s Welsh scenes, see John Kerrigan, ‘The Romans in Britain, 1603–1614’, in The 32

Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales


celebrates Milford as her own personal port of union – a ‘blessed’ haven that will bring her back to her husband (3.2.60). Innogen is, of course, quite wrong on this point, since Posthumus has chosen Milford as the location for her murder. It is thus fortunate that Innogen never quite makes it there: instead, she finds the cave of Guiderius, Belarius and Arviragus, who live, apparently, within view of Milford Haven (‘Milford, / When from the mountain-top Pisanio showed thee, / Thou wast within a ken’ [3.3.4–6]), but not quite there. The unfulfilled potential of Milford Haven within this play is telling: Shakespeare is purposeful in his avoidance of this most recognizable Welsh locale, opting instead to portray his Wales as a rural, barren ground in which the young princes are confined to, as Guiderius himself describes it, ‘a cell of ignorance’ (3.3.33). This stands in sharp contrast to the Wales of The Valiant Welshman, which is a diverse space indeed, but one that can boast of its heroic leaders and its surprisingly advanced political system. And there is little avoidance of recognizable Welsh locales in R.A.’s play: Caradoc comes from Shrewsbury, the border town between England and Wales known primarily for the famous school that had educated some of Henry Frederick’s most admired predecessors in Elizabethan chivalry, such as Sir Philip Sidney and Robert Devereux.34 The Valiant Welshman centralizes the importance of Wales within the ancient British struggle for independence, a fact highlighted by the ineffectual kingdom of ‘Britain’ (here, entirely separate from, and oddly deferent to Wales), whose king begs for Caradoc’s help against the Romans. Once Caradoc comes to the aid of Britain to defeat Caesar, Britain and its weak king fade from the narrative, leaving Caradoc as the lone defender of national sovereignty.35 While Caradoc’s Wales is finally made to stand in for the Accession of James I: Historical and Cultural Consequences, ed. Glenn Burgess, Rowland Wymer and Jason Lawrence (Basingstoke, 2005), pp. 113–39, esp. p. 132. 34  Devereux, the second earl of Essex, had of course been executed after attempting to seize control of Elizabeth’s court; however, his reputation for chivalry was revived following James’s accession (James invited Devereux’s son, the third earl of Essex, to accompany him on his entrance into London in 1603). Interestingly, the third earl of Essex served as page to Prince Henry Frederick, until the two had a falling out some time between 1610 and 1611. See John Morrill, ‘Devereux, Robert, third earl of Essex (1591–1646)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006), http://www.oxforddnb., accessed 10 Sept 2007. For a discussion of the ways in which the second earl of Essex’s involvement with Wales extended beyond his education at Shrewsbury – he was known to have several Welshmen as part of his retinue during his ill-fated rebellion – see A.H. Dodd, ‘North Wales in the Essex Revolt’, English Historical Review, 59.235 (1944): 348–70. 35  In his discussion of The Valiant Welshman, Tristan Marshall claims that the play ultimately recreates a unified Britain by having Caradoc unite with Britain’s king (who is, incidentally, named Gederus) to defeat Rome. Gederus, Marshall claims, ‘is accorded great respect’ (Theatre and Empire, p. 108). I disagree with this reading, as Gederus is ultimately presented as deeply flawed; he is easily convinced by false accounts and weak in military pursuits.


Shakespeare and Wales

glory of ancient Britain as a whole, no such importance is attributed to the Wales of Cymbeline, a locale that is finally ‘civilized out of existence’ when Guiderius and Arviragus return to Cymbeline’s court.36 But perhaps Wales is meant, in Cymbeline, to be a useful, albeit temporary, home for the heir, one which will foster the kind of fearless heroism so needed within Cymbeline’s court. This is a tempting theory regarding Guiderius in particular, who easily defeats Cloten in hand-to-hand combat (a feat which later inspires the jealousy of younger brother Arviragus [4.2.155–8]). Guiderius also enjoys prominence in the battle against the Romans; he is eager to fight (and decidedly less contemplative about it than Arviragus, who offers his own musings about his shame over never having seen the glory of battle [4.4.34–43]). However, the heroism Guiderius displays is also verging on the barbaric, so that even at his most valiant moment, he appears comically out of synch with the play’s overall aesthetic. We might cheer, for example, when Guiderius’s outrage at being called a ‘villain mountaineer’ (4.2.71) prompts his mocking of Cloten (‘At fools I laugh, not fear them’ [4.2.96]), but I agree with Martin Butler that we are meant to bristle when Guiderius arrives onstage bearing Cloten’s severed head.37 The image resonates highly with the contemporary fashion for recognizing and scorning the more unsavoury aspects of the ancient British past,38 but it also more acutely highlights Guiderius’s ill-informed understanding of the laws of justice within the realm he will soon come to inhabit. Guiderius is, of course, pardoned for his crime once Cymbeline learns of his true parentage, but when his crime is first discovered, he remains patently unapologetic for killing a member of the royal family: ‘I cut off’s head, / And I am right glad he is not standing here / To tell this tale of mine’ (5.4.295–7). Guiderius’s plain-spoken approach to his inherent valour and to his inclination to fight should signal another contrast with Caradoc, whose thoughtful responses to the just causes of war (as well as to the appropriate conditions and traditions governing such wars) show him to be a reasoned and careful martial leader. Although Guiderius and Arviragus have, as Belarius reports, ‘the sparks of nature’ (3.3.79) that mark them as royal, they are also painfully uneducated, relying on Innogen’s brief tenure at the cave to teach them to recognize letters and practising what appear to be ancient Celtic religious customs rather than the Romanized beliefs of the British court.39 Moreover, while they are inherently drawn to fight 36   Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, The Drama of Landscape: Land, Property, and Social Relations on the Early Modern Stage (Stanford, 1998), p. 157. 37  Introduction to Cymbeline, Butler, p. 48. 38  Butler notes in ibid., for example, that this image would have been resonant with engravings of early British inhabitants, such as those appearing in Speed’s Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain. 39  The burial ceremony of ‘Fidele’ provides the most telling example of this: Guiderius instructs Arviragus to turn Fidele’s head facing east, a Celtic custom. They follow with a dirge that makes no reference to a deity (4.2.253–80, esp. note on line 254).

Cymbeline, The Valiant Welshman, and The Princes of Wales


against the Romans, they are unsure of why it will benefit them to do so, other than to test their languishing sense of adventure. The play establishes clearly that the men exist independently of the influence of Cymbeline’s power – Guiderius makes a point to mention that ‘The law / Protects not us’ (4.2.125–6) – and when the princes convince Belarius to allow them to fight, they call on no dormant sense of national identity. Indeed, Guiderius offers only this half-hearted identification with the British side: Nay, what hope Have we in hiding us? This way the Romans Must or for Britons slay us, or receive us For barbarous and unnatural revolts During their use, and slay us after. (4.4.3–7)

This ‘might-as-well’ attitude is, of course, the catalyst for the valiant rescue of the imperiled Cymbeline, whose own Briton troops prove embarrassingly incompetent. When the princes are brought to court to enjoy Cymbeline’s compliments, they are knighted for defending a nation for which they hold no particular affection, except, perhaps, that it is the nation that provided them the opportunity to escape their cave. Guiderius has little to do once he is recognized as Cymbeline’s heir: indeed, he has only one line after this point (in which he recognizes Innogen as the oncedisguised Fidele). This is, perhaps, because Guiderius now has much to learn in order to assimilate properly into the British court. His brief martial career is likely over, as Cymbeline has now agreed to an everlasting peace with the Romans; moreover, the illiteracy and paganism that characterized his time in Wales has given way to what will most certainly be a life befitting the heir to a Romanized British kingdom.40 This can be usefully contrasted with Caradoc’s parallel moment of submission to Rome, which is hardly a submission at all: Caradoc scorns Roman demands, arguing ‘I was not born to kneel, but to the Gods’ (sig. I3v). His valour impresses Caesar so much that Caradoc is given ‘all liberties’ before being sent back to Wales; the ‘peace and unity’ Caesar offers reads like an act of deference to Caradoc (I4v). So while Caradoc is returned to Wales, Guiderius’s development moves him decidedly away from his Welsh roots, marking them as aberrant and ill-fitting for the future heir. Shakespeare has not only effectively undermined the glorious ancient past of Wales in Cymbeline, but he has also undermined the symbolism of that ancient past as a useful model for the current prince of Wales. Instead, he has valourized the virtues of peace and imperium, confining martial heroism to the status of a convenient addition for a nation that is unlikely to ever need its services again, for war, we are reminded, was never Cymbeline’s idea in 40  Contemporary audience members well-versed in their Holinshed might remember, however, that Cymbeline’s son would have a military future after all: Holinshed has his Gederus fight the Romans again once he becomes king.


Shakespeare and Wales

the first place. In Cymbeline, the ‘prince of Wales’ is severed from his ancient seat and his valorous inheritance, integrated instead into a British kingdom that looks suspiciously like contemporary England/Britain, under the thumb of a king that looks suspiciously like James. The critical consensus on the politics of Cymbeline needs no sustained recapitulation here: the play ultimately endorses the pacifist policies of James and writes submission to Rome as a sensible and necessary step toward the British empire that will eventually follow. Like The Valiant Welshman, this play does the bidding of its patron – Shakespeare was part of the King’s company, and it shows here more than usual. I would argue that this is, in part, due to the moment of 1610, which raised the profile of Henry Frederick to such a degree that James had legitimate political competition in terms of his policy. In his theatrical doubling of the prince of Wales, Shakespeare is offering a gesture toward this tension, ultimately using the symbolism of Wales and the Welsh as a way to endorse James’s pacifist policies and to deflect and undermine the prince’s growing popularity among those who disdained James’s policies. Read in this way, the politics of Cymbeline become distinctly more focused, the play emerges as a commentary on a specific cultural event. Both Cymbeline – discussed with great frequency in this collection – and The Valiant Welshman invite fresh investigations into the early seventeenth-century perception of Wales and the Welsh. Yet our understanding of these two plays and their portrayal of Wales and the Welsh is also enriched by an investigation into the historical moment and theatrical circumstances in which they were first staged. The investiture of 1610 was an extraordinary event in its day, and the symbolism it evoked – of both ancient Britain and Wales – proved flexible in a culture that housed diverse perspectives of this ancient past and its influence on the future. These plays reveal that the perception of Wales and the Welsh was manipulated with remarkable fluency in this period: it was a space both civilized and uncultivated, full of people both heroic and barbaric. In 1610, it was also a theatrical space that proved particularly amenable for two princes of Wales, whose stage presence reflects the culture’s adaptation of Welsh heroism for contemporary political purposes. As it turns out, the average playgoer in 1610 would find two very different versions – depending on which side of the river the prince’s story is told.

Chapter 9

Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain Lisa Hopkins

Somewhat unexpectedly, recent genetic evidence has finally promised to solve the mystery of the enigmatic and long-vanished race of the Etruscans by indicating that they came originally from Turkey. The Latin ‘tuscii’ derives from the word for tower-like towns, and it used to be thought that the Etruscans were so named because of their fondness for such constructions, but the journalist John Hooper, reporting on the new evidence in The Guardian, suggests that ‘the latest conclusions may add weight to a rival, apparently more fanciful, theory that links their name to Troy, the “city of towers”’. In this light, the apparently legendary story of the translatio imperii might well suddenly look like folk memory of first the coming and then the marginalization of the Etruscans, as they lodged briefly in Italy before disappearing, since it tells of a group of exiles who came from Troy to Italy but in due course moved on again. In that story, the former Trojans finally ended up in Britain; specifically, they were associated with Wales, and that association, I think, is what lies at the heart of Shakespeare’s project in Cymbeline. For the Tudors and Stuarts, Wales is both safe and dangerous. Wales may be the home of the Tudor dynasty, but it is also seen as dangerously vulnerable and penetrable: as Shakespeare’s Richard III reminded people, in 1485 Henry Tudor had led a successful invasion of England after landing at Milford Haven (this was a point repeatedly made in the celebrations surrounding the accession of Henry’s great-greatgrandson James I), and although this was understood in English historiography as an entirely fortunate event, its meanings were eerily inverted when in 1603 Guy Fawkes travelled to Spain to try to persuade Philip to land at Milford Haven. The Haven is also represented as a point of vulnerability in Peele’s Edward I, while in The Chronicle History of King Leir there is an extremely uneasy moment in what can be assumed to be a Welsh seaport when the men who are supposed to be watching the beacon in case of invasion go for a drink instead, both intradiegetically allowing the French to invade and extradiegetically evoking memories of the all too real invasion scares of 1587 and 1588. One of the invaders then remarks,    John Hooper, ‘The Enigma of Italy’s Ancient Etruscans is Finally Unravelled’, The Guardian, 18 June 2007, p. 23.    For discussion of this, see Ronald J. Boling, ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations in Cymbeline’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 51/1 (2000): 33–66, p. 48.


Shakespeare and Wales For where I was wont to meet with armed men, I was now incountred with naked women.

Wales, then, seems clearly established here as a liminal, feminized place which can be penetrated by, and indeed to a certain extent actively welcomes, a foreign invader. Cymbeline acknowledges both this alterity and this vulnerability to attack by having its early Britain (in which England and Wales were generally supposed to be not yet really divided) so far other that it is effectively marked out as territory ripe for colonization when Cloten declares that ‘If Caesar can hide the sun from us with a blanket, or put the moon in his pocket, we will pay him tribute for light; else, sir, no more tribute, pray you now’ (3.1.41–4). Recalling the famous story that Columbus pacified the natives in Jamaica by correctly predicting an eclipse (a story whose amenability to narratives of empire was eventually to reach its apogee in Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines), this suggests that the Britons were indeed, as Purchas was to put it, as brutish as Virginians, and certainly as gullible. The fact that the same story can be told of fifteenth-century Jamaicans, nineteenth-century members of a ‘lost’ African tribe and prehistoric Britons reveals an uncomfortable convergence which offers powerful testimony to the uneasy and liminal status of Wales as both geographically marginal to and yet at the same time mythically central to seventeenth-century Britons’ troubled and conflicted idea of ‘Britain’. As Mary Floyd-Wilson has it, ‘Without clear ancestral ties to the Roman empire, the ancient Britons did not simply resemble the barbarous Picts and Scythians, they joined their mingled ranks.’ The question of whether Wales did or did not have such ties is one on which Cymbeline equivocates, allowing at least some scope for the dangerous possibility that to be British is indeed to be Brutish. This uncomfortable status is further evidenced, and the credibility of the translatio imperii story potentially undermined, by the fact that in some texts, Wales is effectively designated as the land of the fantastic rather than the real:    The Chronicle History of King Leir (London, 1605), I3r. That we are in Wales when this occurs is suggested by the fact that the involvement of shockingly behaved Welshwomen in combat had been made notorious in Henry IV, Part 1; moreover we must be in one of the territories controlled by the sons-in-law of Leir, Cambria and Cornwall, and that we are not in Cornwall is clearly indicated when the king of Cornwall declares The day is lost, our friends do all reuolt, And joyne against vs with the aduerse part: There is no meanes of safety but by flight, And therefore ile to Cornwall with my Queene. (I4r)    Mary Floyd-Wilson, ‘Delving to the Root: Cymbeline, Scotland, and the English Race’, in British Identities and English Renaissance Literature, ed. David J. Baker and Willy Maley (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 101–15, p. 105.

Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain


in the sixteenth-century ‘British history’ play Locrine, for instance, Camber, the son of the Trojan Brutus after whom Cambria is supposedly named, speaks of ‘the fields of martial Cambria, / Where lightfoot fairies skip from bank to bank’. Locrine is an interesting text to consider in conjunction with Cymbeline because Brutus calls Camber ‘darling of thy mother Innogen’ (I.ii.199), and Innogen is almost certainly the true reading of the name Imogen. Moreover, Humber says of Britain, Whereas I hear a troop of Phrygians Under the conduct of Posthumius’ son, Have pitchèd up lordly pavilions. (II.ii.9–11)

Locrine, then, brings together the names of both the hero and the heroine of Cymbeline, and in so doing it invites us to consider Cymbeline as part of a family of plays which address not just past and long-gone British history but present and future issues of succession to the rule of Britain; but Cymbeline’s treatment of this material involves a deliberate prising apart and dislocation of the key names Postumus and Innogen and the bestowing of their names on characters in very different circumstances, as if in this respect too, Wales has blurred and destabilized the contours of the real. This feeling that Wales is somewhere not fully known, in the sense that England, Scotland and even Ireland may be, is echoed in Cymbeline when Cloten says that ‘I am near to th’place where they should meet, if Pisanio have mapped it truly’. This recalls the difficulties and uncertainties which were indeed attendant on the mapping of Wales. As Philip Schwyzer notes, both the country’s external and internal boundaries were unstable: The supplement to Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum published in 1573 included a map drawn by the Welsh physician, philologist and antiquarian Humphrey Lhuyd. Here Wales, or Cambria, is divided into its three traditional regions, Gwynedd, Deheubarth and Powys – none of which had possessed a political existence for several centuries – and the eastern border of Powys is the river Severn.

   W.S., The Lamentable Tragedy of Locrine, edited by Jane Lytton Gooch (London, 1981), III.ii.71–3. All further quotations from the play will be taken from this edition and reference will be given in the text.    William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, ed. Roger Warren (Oxford, 1998), 4.1.1–2. All further quotations from the play will be taken from this edition and reference will be given in the text.   Philip Schwyzer, ‘A Map of Greater Cambria’, Early Modern Literary Studies, 4/2 (1998). Online:–2/schwamap.htm

Shakespeare and Wales


Distances were also problematic. Norden’s 1625 England. An Intended Gvyde for English Travailers writes of distances within Wales that It is to be considered that by reason of the multitude of Hilles, Mountaines and Dales, and the bending of the Sea, betweene St. Dauids and the point neere Bradsey [sic] Iland, causing passages and highwayes in many places to curue and crooke, that the distances betweene the Townes, may be something differing from this Table: But not so, but that good vse may be made of it.

Such difficulties are echoed in Cymbeline when the delirious Innogen asks, Yes sir, to Milford Haven, which is the way? I thank you; by yon bush? Pray how far thither? ’Od’s pitikins, can it be six mile yet? (4.2.292–4)

Pembrokeshire was particularly problematic to map, not least in the famous incident where its representation on a larger scale than other Welsh counties had doubled its taxation burden, and it had a disturbing tendency to grow or shrink depending on the purpose for which it was being mapped: as Ronald Boling points out, ‘If Saxton’s map enlarges Pembrokeshire as a bulwark against Ireland, Owen’s map shrinks it to reduce the military levy for which he is responsible.’ Boling is referring here to George Owen of Henllys, who is a particularly interesting figure to consider in connection with Cymbeline for a number of reasons. Firstly, he was an antiquarian whose son married the step-granddaughter of Thomas Phaer, translator of the Aeneid, and who was himself the patron of the translator of Gerald of Wales, both projects being part of a collective midsixteenth-century Welsh push to rebuff Polydore Vergil. Secondly, he married the daughter and co-heiress of William Philipps of Picton, who was a niece of Sir John Perrot of nearby Carew Castle, and Owen joined with Sir James Perrot and Sir John Philipps of Picton in encouraging Robert Holland’s translation of Basilikon Doron.10 Sir John Perrot was a figure prominent in the history of Ireland – he had been Lord Deputy there – who was also widely rumoured to be the illegitimate son of Henry VIII, and thus the natural half-brother of Elizabeth I. To have a Princess of Britain going into Wales and finding long-lost brothers there begins, in such a context, to look rather double-edged. It might even be seen as hinting at the dangerously subversive possibility that the blood of the Tudor dynasty had not, in   Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, ‘Civilizing Wales: Cymbeline, Roads and the Landscapes of Early Modern Britain’, Early Modern Literary Studies, 4/2 (1998). Online: http://www.shu.–2/sullshak.htm   Boling, ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations in Cymbeline’, p. 41. 10  B.G. Charles, George Owen of Henllys: A Welsh Elizabethan (Aberystwyth, 1973), pp. 27 and 117. 

Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain


fact, entirely died out with Elizabeth. The Perrots were an important family with many court connections; one of their members, Sir Thomas, who in 1587, along with George Owen of Henllys, ‘raised a militia of five hundred men to defend the Haven from Spain’,11 made a particularly distinguished, albeit runaway, match with Dorothy Devereux, sister of Elizabeth I’s favourite the Earl of Essex, which probably came about because Essex himself had strong local links. His father – yet another Lord Deputy of Ireland – had been buried in Carmarthen, and Essex himself had spent much of his youth at nearby Lamphey Palace.12 To take Imogen to Pembrokeshire, then, is not to relegate her to some cultural backwater but rather to situate her firmly in the midst of political intrigue and in a crucially important theatre of operations. Most importantly, however, it was Owen who, writing on St David’s Day, 1608, defended the title of ‘Prince of Wales’ as part of a drive to encourage James to create Henry Prince of Wales, as did eventually occur in 1610.13 I want to suggest that Cymbeline, in which the true prince of Britain emerges from Wales, can be seen as part of the same propaganda drive, and that it is particularly pertinent that Owen also made clear his belief in the traditional division of Britain among the sons of Brutus.14 Cymbeline itself seems non-committal on the subject of the translatio imperii and the continuity which it implicitly asserts with the myth of Roman origins of which Virgil wrote and which Phaer translated. There is certainly a distinctly ironic force in Belarius’ reference to This Polydore, The heir of Cymbeline and Britain, who The King his father called Guiderius. (3.3.86–8)

It was Polydore Vergil who first challenged the credibility of Geoffrey of Monmouth and his elaborate narrative of the history of the kings of Britain; moreover, the fact that Polydore Vergil himself was of Italian origin with a name that recalls Roman antecedents is underlined by the play’s strongly developed debate about Italian origins and the interpenetration of Rome and Italy.15 John Curran detects ‘a general tendency in Cymbeline for Shakespeare to be fairly immune to the spell  Boling, ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations in Cymbeline’, pp. 48–9.   For Essex’s involvement in Wales, see also A.H. Dodd, ‘North Wales in the Essex Revolt’, English Historical Review, 59/235 (1944): 348–70. 13  Charles, George Owen of Henllys, pp. 29, 60 and 116. 14  Ibid., p. 116. 15   See John E. Curran, Jr, ‘Royalty Unlearned, Honor Untaught: British Savages and Historiographical Change in Cymbeline’, Comparative Drama, 31/2 (1997): 277–303, p. 286. Curran suggests that there are also other names in the play ‘denoting the fall of Galfridian mythology’ (p. 287), before arguing that ‘the plot of the two lovers is designed to teach us how to be readers’ (p. 299). On the topicality of such references to the pre-Roman past, see also Leah Marcus, Puzzling Shakespeare: Local Reading and its Discontents 11



Shakespeare and Wales

of Geoffrey and actually to advocate moving on from him’, since ‘the play calls attention to the Brute myth but then urges us to abandon it. By naming his heroine Imogen after Innogen, the wife of Brutus, and his hero Posthumus, after Aeneas’s son, Shakespeare forces the issue of the Brute myth … But once we have called the Brute myth to mind, we see how Shakespeare plays upon it and reveals its complications and absurdities’.16 Garrett A. Sullivan goes further still to argue that ‘the play is deeply invested in repudiating ancient British culture’.17 To offer Polydore and Guiderius as effectively interchangeable names for the same person does indeed seem to reduce the entire controversy to a non-event, and to suggest that Shakespeare is aligning himself with the vision of the past offered by Polydore Vergil rather than that offered by Publius Virgilius Maro. Equally provocative is the fact that Arviragus’ identity is vouched for by Belarius’ possession of the mantle in which he was wrapped, though it is not actually produced, and Guiderius’ by the presence of a mole on his neck (5.4.360–66) – hardly secure proofs on which to base the succession to the crown, let alone to lay claim to the whole panoply of the translatio imperii. However, it is also worth paying attention to the name adopted by Belarius, Morgan. In traditional versions of the Lear story, Morgan was Goneril’s son, and in both Camden’s Britannia and Spenser’s ‘chronicle of Briton kings’, he gives his name to Glamorgan, something which we are told in the same canto of The Faerie Queene as mentions Cymbeline: Next him Tenantius raignd, then Kimbeline, What time th’eternall Lord in fleshly slime Enwombed was, from wretched Adams line To purge away the guilt of sinfull crime: O ioyous memorie of happy time, That heauenly grace so plenteously displayd; (O too high ditty for my simple rime.) Soone after this the Romanes him warrayd; For that their tribute he refusd to let be payd.18

In Gorboduc, Morgan becomes a figure of resistance to the unity of Britain, when Philander refers to

(Berkeley, 1988), p. 126. Marcus also comments on the problems attendant on reading in the play (p. 140). 16   John E. Curran, Jr, Roman Invasions: The British History, Protestant AntiRomanism, and the Historical Imagination in England, 1530–1660 (Newark, 2002), pp. 71 and 116. 17   Sullivan, Jr, ‘Civilizing Wales’. 18  Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, ed. A.C. Hamilton [1977] (Harlow, 2001), II.x.50.

Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain


This kingdom, since the bloody civil field Where Morgan slain did yield his conquered part Unto his cousin’s sword in Camberland, Containeth all that whilom did suffice Three noble sons of your forefather Brute. So your two sons it may suffice also, The moe the stronger, if they gree in one.19

Morgan can be seen as working in something of the same way in The Chronicle History of King Leir, though here Morgan, King of Cambria is Ragan’s husband rather than Gonorill’s son (Gonorill’s husband is the King of Cornwall). King Leir is not only a play which, as we have seen, reveals the vulnerability and penetrability of the Cambrian coast, it also expressly posits a Britain which is fragmented rather than united when Leir says of Cordella if my policy may her beguyle, Ile match her to some King within this Ile. (A2v)

Leir’s original intention is to marry Cordella to the king of Hibernia, but he need not worry when this is frustrated, because there prove to be plenty of other constituent kingdoms and petty kings for him to choose from. Indeed the Britain posited by King Leir resembles less that of Shakespeare’s King Lear than that of Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, with its multitude of petty kings, and Cymbeline seems to be not dissimilar in this respect; as Huw Griffiths has it, ‘A map of Cymbeline’s Britain would appear to be a little unusual since Wales is at least partially separated from Britain, even though Britain is a term that is ordinarily taken to include Wales.’20 In Camden’s Remains Concerning Britain, Cymbeline is a figure very differently located from Shakespeare’s: Camden refers to him as ‘Cunebelin King of Essex and Middlesex’ and says he lived at ‘Camalodunum as they then called it, now Maldon, which was the principall seate of the Kingdome’,21 and indeed at least one early viewer of Shakespeare’s play also thought this: as Griffiths points out, ‘Throughout his account [Simon] Forman refers to “Cimbalin king of England”.’22 As Andrew Stewart notes, ‘Cymbeline is, as the “Catalogue” of the plays in the First Folio reminds us, “King of Britaine”, and the play makes repeated reference to Britain as a united sovereign nation … the issue was a live one in 1610 when  Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville, Gorboduc, in Five Elizabethan Tragedies, ed. A.K. McIlwraith (Oxford, 1938), I.ii.160–7. 20   Huw Griffiths, ‘The Geographies of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline’, English Literary Renaissance, 34/3 (2004): 339–58, p. 345. 21   William Camden, Remains Concerning Britain, ed. R.D. Dunn (Toronto, 1984), p. 167. 22   Griffiths, ‘The Geographies of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline’, p. 340. 19


Shakespeare and Wales

Sir William Maurice revived the union proposals before a session of Parliament, though only to have them greeted with “whistles of derision”’;23 in the play itself, though, Cymbeline’s power is firmly localized, and only Welsh: Philip Schwyzer points to the strange moment in Cymbeline when the king commands his lord to escort the Roman ambassador as far as the Severn – strange in that the Roman has just requested conduct as far as Milford Haven, and we had thought Cymbeline was king of all Britain. The river clearly has border significance here, though whether it marks the bounds of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Cambria or of William Camden’s Silures, we are not quite sure.24

Moreover, Wales is seen in the play as the one remaining home of true British valour; indeed the Britons, in the shape of the Welsh, are markedly more Roman than the Romans, so much so that Huw Griffiths suggests ‘It seems that “Romanness” (romanitas) can only be achieved in “Britain”.’25 Equally suggestive is the curse that Imogen utters when she finds what she thinks is the body of Posthumus: Pisanio, All curses madded Hecuba gave the Greeks, And mine to boot, be darted on thee! (4.2.312–14)

Posthumus was the name of the son of Aeneas, so there could be no name more fitting to encapsulate the idea of a Trojan identity, and a Trojan heritage is certainly what Imogen draws on here; by contrast, the Romans are now enemies, as though they represented a deviation from the line of proper Trojan ancestry rather than a continuation of it. In this context, Imogen’s assumed name of Fidelio might well suggest a general fidelity to her heritage as well as personal fidelity to Posthumus. Moreover, some of the details of the translatio imperii story are definitely validated in the play. In the ‘Epitomie of the Whole History of England’ first found in the 1602 edition of his Albions England, William Warner writes: Returne we now to Cassiuilan, yeelding hence, as is aforesaide, Tribute to the Romaines. To him succeeded in Raigne his Nephewe Theomant, to him Cymbeline his sonne: in whose raigne Calphurnius Agricola being then heere

23  Andrew Stewart, ‘Some Uses for Romance: Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and Jonson’s The New Inn’, Renaissance Forum, 3/1 (1998). Online: v3no1/stewart.htm 24   Schwyzer, ‘A Map of Greater Cambria’. 25   Griffiths, ‘The Geographies of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline’, p. 355.

Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain


for the Romaines, was borne our Sauiour Christ Iesus: after the ariuall of Brute 1107 yeares. From Cymbeline was Lucius the fift King. This Lucius … was the first of the Brittish Kings that by publique Auctoritie intertained the Christian Faith: and was, with his, Baptized about the yeere of our Lord God 188.26

Cymbeline chimes exactly with this, having Cloten speak of ‘We have yet many among us can grip as hard as Cassibelan’ (3.1.39–40) (and also threaten Arviragus that he will ‘on the gates of Lud’s town set your heads’ [4.2.101]), and giving the name of Lucius to its Roman general.27 And when the First Captain remarks that ‘’Tis thought the old man and his sons were angels’ (5.3.85), early British history, albeit of a later period than the Romans, is perhaps evoked again, since we may well recall the anecdote of the Pope who confused Angli with Angeli.28 The play, then, raises and only partially answers some crucial questions about the credibility of the translatio imperii, and as it does so it situates its events in a context which quietly but powerfully reminds us that such apparently long-dead issues might still have implications for the present and future. As Ronald J. Boling points out, ‘During the Tudor era “for at least two generations Pembrokeshire men … intrigued with Scotch kings, hoping by their aid to establish some form of home rule for Wales with Little England as the seat of Government”.’29 Peggy Muñoz Simonds suggests that a similar collusion between Wales and Scotland may in fact be embodied in the twin figures of Guiderius and Arviragus, since she argues that they can be read as Wild Men and points out that ‘about one fourth of all Scottish noble families employed Wild Men in their coats of arms’, while the fight in a lane specifically echoes the legendary history of the Hay family.30 Certainly in John Monipennie’s The abridgement or summarie of the Scots chronicles, 31 Arviragus is a figure in Scottish history – something which might seem particularly interesting in the light of the occurrence of the word ‘abridgement’, relatively rare in Shakespeare (there are only a dozen other uses), in Cymbeline itself (5.3.382). This part of Wales indeed figured prominently in the ancestry of James VI and I, since in legend, Banquo’s son ‘Fleance, having fled to Wales, married Princess Nesta, and so ensured one of James’s two claims to the English throne’.32 In that   William Warner, Albions England [1612] (Hildesheim, 1971), p. 553.  Though for a counter-view see Curran, Roman Invasions, p. 72. 28   Floyd-Wilson, ‘Delving to the Root’, p. 112, also notes this as a possible parallel. 29  Boling, ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations in Cymbeline’, p. 41. 30  Peggy Muñoz Simonds, Myth, Emblem, and Music in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline: An Iconographic Reconstruction (Newark, 1992), p. 157. 31   John Monipennie, The abridgement or summarie of the Scots chronicles (London, 1614). 32  Emrys Jones, ‘Stuart Cymbeline’, Essays in Criticism, 11 (1961): 84–99, p. 97. However, Peter A. Parolin, ‘Anachronistic Italy: Cultural Alliances and National Identity 26



Shakespeare and Wales

light, Cymbeline looks like the sequel to Macbeth, and here would be a very pointed reminder that James simply could not afford to ignore Wales, especially since, as Mary Floyd-Wilson points out, ‘The play’s inverted chronology unsettles the authority of Britain’s chronicle history and taps into the uncertainties already present in Holinshed – the discrepancies between the English and Scottish histories of ancient Britain.’33 This would, then, be a potent reminder that Anglo-Scottish union cannot be considered in isolation from the question of Wales, as would the possibility that, as Leah Marcus suggests, we should see Posthumus as ‘a nobly born beggar, like many of the Scottish aristocrats, at least as they appeared to the more prosperous English’;34 for Marcus, indeed, he figures the Post Nati, those Scotsmen born after James’s accession to the throne who were thus able to claim full English citizenship. Cymbeline, then, reaffirms the centrality of Wales to British rule in the face of the Stuarts, at a time when ‘James I’s British Union project erased Wales from political discourse altogether’.35 It is true that there is some gracious concession to the figure of the Emperor Augustus, James’s preferred persona, when the prophecy refers to a time ‘when from a stately cedar shall be lopped branches, which being dead many years, shall after revive’ (5.3.234–6), an idea underlined when the Soothsayer explicitly declares that ‘The lofty cedar, royal Cymbeline, / Personates thee’ (5.4.454–5), while John Curran argues that the play shows ‘a British king who is peculiarly associated with the dawn of true religion, who is blessed with two sons, and who stands up to the Romans but who really stands for a great peace maker’.36 Moreover, R.A. Foakes points out that Cymbeline is the only play in which the term ‘Briton’ occurs, seventeen times (in addition to ‘Britain’, twenty-seven, and British, two), and perhaps there is a connection not only with the descent the Tudors liked to claim from ancient British dynasties going back to Brute, who brought his pedigree from Jupiter, according to William Warner in Albion’s England (1586), but also with the attempt made by James to effect a union between the kingdoms of Scotland and England,37

while Peggy Muñoz Simonds observes that just as ‘James, as the second Brute, was attempting to reunite the three kingdoms once again .. .Cymbeline celebrates in Cymbeline’, Shakespeare Studies, 30 (2002): 188–215 argues that the thrust of the play is anti-James, not pro-. 33   Floyd-Wilson, ‘Delving to the Root’, p. 101. 34   Marcus, Puzzling Shakespeare, p. 125. 35  Boling, ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations in Cymbeline’, p. 34. 36  Curran, Roman Invasions, p. 215. 37  R.A. Foakes, ‘Shakespeare’s Other Historical Plays’, in The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare’s History Plays, ed. Michael Hattaway (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 214–28, p. 221.

Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain


the happy reunion of three loving royal siblings’.38 Nevertheless, she ultimately argues that ‘Despite these open allusions to certain Jacobean propaganda themes … Cymbeline is also a play filled with subtle satire on the exalted claims of the British royal family, which it seems on the surface to flatter’;39 Mary Floyd-Wilson proposes that ‘Cymbeline spins out an English historical fantasy in which the Scots submit to Anglo-British rule and the English emerge as a race unaffected by Britain’s early history of mingled genealogies and military defeats’;40 and Willy Maley argues that ‘In a neat reversal, a newly expanded state is projected backward into Roman times, stealing James VI and I’s thunder, and giving all tribute to the reign of Caesar.’41 I suggest that the play works against James and his project in a number of ways. Most notably, the very name of Giacomo is incriminating to James in both obvious and subtle ways, firstly for the simple reason that Giacomo is the villain of the piece, and secondly because in the Remains Concerning Britain, Camden refers to Iago ab Idwal Foel, king of Gwynedd, as ‘Jacob’,42 and, in doing so, points us towards a complex and potentially explosive network of interconnections between the names James, Jacob, Giacomo and Iago, all of which are effectively variants of one another. The names Giacomo and Iago clearly bespeak malice aforethought and a subtle incrimination of the king in both Cymbeline and Othello, two plays that seem to be deliberately associated when Posthumus declares Yea, bloody cloth, I’ll keep thee, for I once wished Thou shouldst be coloured thus. You married ones, If each of you should take this course, how many Must murder wives much better than themselves, For wrying but a little! (5.1.1–6)

The name Jacob has even more damaging associations, for it serves to remind us that the Scots traced their descent not to Brutus but to Scota, daughter of Pharaoh, and her Greek husband Gathelus, who were supposed to have brought with them in their flight from Egypt the stone on which Jacob slept while he dreamed, later to become variously known as the Stone of Destiny or the Stone of Scone (as Shakespeare showed himself well aware while writing Macbeth). Certainly at the end of the play Augustus is finally afforded the ultimate insult of being simply sidestepped, and the idea of the translatio imperii, however sceptical Shakespeare   Muñoz Simonds, Myth, Emblem, and Music, p. 22.  Ibid., pp. 22–5 [sic]. 40   Floyd-Wilson, ‘Delving to the Root’, p. 102. 41   Willy Maley, ‘Postcolonial Shakespeare: British Identity Formation and Cymbeline’, in Shakespeare’s Late Plays: New Readings, ed. Jennifer Richards and James Knowles (Edinburgh, 1999), pp. 145–57, p. 148. 42  Camden, Remains Concerning Britain, p. 214. 38 39


Shakespeare and Wales

may be of its truth value, aptly demonstrates its potential as a propaganda tool, allowing Wales to appear, in this play, as the only true heartland of Britain. Ultimately Shakespeare uses the Romans in Wales to suggest that the Scottish king should tread carefully in England. To tease out what the particular point of Shakespeare’s critique of James might be, and why he needs Wales to make it, I want to return to the idea that it might be instructive to consider Cymbeline in conjunction with Locrine. As far as we can tell, Locrine is a revised version of an earlier play called Estrild, written by the Babington conspirator Charles Tilney, and Benjamin Griffin has recently raised ‘the possibility that Estrild was more politically sensitive than we might guess if we did not know who had written it’, asking ‘Was Estrild composed as a persuasion-piece along the lines of Gorboduc, half-warning and half-threatening on the succession question?’. Intriguingly pointing out that ‘Sitting in judgment on the author of Estrild was, among others, the author of Gorboduc, Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst’,43 Griffin invites us to consider Estrild, and by implication Locrine, as part of a chain of edgy, potentially subversive plays about the succession. Can Cymbeline too be seen as intervening in the debate over the succession? On the face of it, the question is a ridiculous one, since the advent of James with his three children had removed the doubts and questions that beset the later years of Elizabeth. However, it might be worth remembering that the last plays in general are characterized by a strong interest in the question of who will inherit power, and in some cases they appear to express this concern in ways that are specifically reminiscent of Locrine. The issue is certainly present in Pericles, as Stuart Kurland has shown in a very interesting analysis of the play. Calling Pericles ‘a prince who seems oblivious to the important issues of government and statecraft depicted in the diverse realms he visits’, Kurland offers an overtly political reading of the play – ‘These political aspects of Pericles, I will argue, are best appreciated in the context of early Jacobean politics, notably the problems associated with King James I’s disinclination to stay in London to dispatch government business – that is, to govern and be seen as governing’ – and proposes a direct comparison with James: ‘Let us turn to the record of a very different set of travels, the progresses and hunting trips that marked the residence of King James I in England during the period of Pericles’ composition.’44 On similar lines, Gabriel Egan has recently pointed out in a discussion of The Tempest that ‘a pair of sea-creature costumes came into the King’s Men’s possession while Shakespeare was composing the play and their availability seems to have shaped the depictions of Caliban … and of Ariel as sea-nymph’. One of the costumes was originally intended for playing Corinea, queen of Corineus, spirit of Cornwall; the other was for Amphion (Egan suggests that ‘the obvious assignment is that the adult-size Amphion costume 43   Benjamin Griffin, ‘Locrine and the Babington Plot’, Notes and Queries, 44/1 (1997): 37–40, pp. 38 and 39. 44   Stuart M. Kurland, ‘“The Care … of Subjects’ Good”: Pericles, James I, and the Neglect of Government’, Comparative Drama, 30/2 (1996): 220–44, pp. 220 and 223.

Cymbeline, the translatio imperii, and the matter of Britain


became Caliban and the boy-sized Corinea costume became Ariel-as-sea-nymph’). He also sees ‘the miraculous harp’ (Tempest 2.1.91–2) as unmistakably alluding to Amphion,45 though it might equally be seen as suggestive of Wales. Both Corineus and Amphion are figures to be found in Locrine: Corineus is a character in the play, and Locrine on hearing that Albanact is dead wishes ‘O that I had Amphion’s instrument’ (III.ii.9). Locrine may also seem to be being remembered in another last play, The Winter’s Tale, since the dumbshow at the beginning has ‘a Lion running after a Bear or any other beast’ and Brutus tells of how ‘brave Antigonus with martial band / In pitchèd field encountered me and mine’ (I.ii.95–6). In the cases of The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest, the death of Henry had raised obvious questions about the suitability of Charles to inherit the throne, and one can perhaps glimpse a wish that James’s daugher Elizabeth could succeed instead. Cymbeline, in contrast, was written while Henry was still alive, and while there was no question that he would succeed to all of his father’s territories. It was not, however, a foregone conclusion that he would succeed to all of them on the same basis. In France, his godfather Henri IV, although he himself was king of both France and Navarre, does not seem to have envisaged that both crowns should necessarily remain united in one person, and not until well into the reign of his son Louis XIII were the Pyrenean territories formally annexed to the Crown of France. Indeed because Henri IV practised only a ‘personal union’, his most famous achievement, the Edict of Nantes, did not apply in his original territories of Béarn and Navarre, which were subject to a separate Edict of Fontainebleau, and some modern French historians think it very possible that after 1573 France might have split into two countries, a Catholic north and a United Provinces of the South.46 Such a splitting of lands yoked together by accident of succession might be especially appropriate ‘when states are acquired in a province differing in language, in customs, and in institutions, [for] then difficulties arise; and to hold them one must be very fortunate and very assiduous’;47 that is certainly the suggestion made by Machiavelli, and it is, surely, Machiavelli who lies behind the hyper-sophisticated, cunning, and amoral Giacomo. Perhaps it is possible that Cymbeline poses a related question – are England, Scotland and Wales sufficiently different for such a thing to be worth contemplating here too, as opposed to the Britain of which James dreamed, and is Wales in particular different, special and ultimately unassimilable, and, as such, a standing rebuke to James’s fantasy of a united Britain?

  Gabriel Egan, Green Shakespeare (London, 2006), pp. 152, 163.   François Bayrou, Henri IV: Le Roi Libre (Paris, 1997), pp. 351 and 197. 47  Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, trans. George Bull (Harmondsworth, 1961), p. 36. 45


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Chapter 10

‘Howso’er ’tis strange … Yet is it true’: The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline Andrew King

Princes abducted in infancy and raised in a forest, ignorant of their royal identity; a ‘squire of low degree’ banished from the court; a slandered lady in flight, disguised as a boy; a murderous step-mother and her boorish son – Cymbeline can easily feel like a storehouse (or more appropriately tiring-house) of old and familiar narrative and thematic ‘props’ of earlier romance drama, the legacy of native medieval romance and its great Renaissance heirs, Arcadia and The Faerie Queene. Other Shakespeare plays feature these elements, but in Cymbeline their enactment can seem especially self-conscious or manipulative on the part of the performers. Characters in this play perform within their own play-world, not simply (from the audience perspective) as part of it. In particular, Cymbeline presents a world whose characters frequently seek to shape the trajectory of their experience through performing fictions that are strongly grounded in romance. However, the fictional narratives invoked by the characters often have an momentum and wilfulness of their own. Rather than ‘mouldy tale[s]’, they are moulding, shaping the careers of their instigators in strange and unseen ways. As an example, near the play’s opening the Queen pretends to support Innogen and Posthumus, seeking to reconcile Cymbeline to their marriage. She asserts to them her good intent:   I am grateful to the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences for a Research Fellowship and to the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences of University College Cork for research funding which aided completion of this work. I am also very grateful to Dr Matthew Woodcock and Professor James Knowles, as well as to the editors of the current volume, for useful critical reactions and proofreading.    Cymbeline’s antecedents in classical and native romance, including dramatic exemplars, are discussed extensively in Cymbeline, ed. Martin Butler (Cambridge, 2005), pp. 8–19. Helen Cooper, The English Romance in Time: Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare (Oxford, 2004) places discussion of Cymbeline in the context of thematic topoi from native medieval and Renaissance romance.   Ben Jonson, ‘The Just Indignation …’, 21 (The New Inn): cited from Ben Jonson, The Devil is an Ass and Other Plays, ed. M.J. Kidnie (Oxford, 2000).


Shakespeare and Wales No, be assured you shall not find me, daughter, After the slander of most stepmothers, Evil-eyed unto you. (1.1.71–3)

This is a complex instance, since the Queen is performing the fiction here that she is not the archetypal evil stepmother, the doyenne of folktale and romance. By openly acknowledging and confronting the tradition, the Queen seeks to defuse the potency of that story, undermining the sense that such obviously narrative elements could have a basis in actual lived experience; the evil-eyed stepmother remains firmly within a literary or fictional context. However, the great irony in this scene is that the nameless Queen is the evil stepmother, and part of her insidiousness as that figure lies in her ability to manipulate and distance herself from the very fiction that she embodies. But as another level of irony, the fact that she is the evil stepmother means that the play is self-consciously connected to such traditional narratives, in this instance centred in folktale and romance. Consequently, the audience might have difficulty believing in the play, not as the representation of historical events but simply as the enactment of a world that might be true rather than obedient to the formulas of old stories. After all, the Queen herself has decreed tales of evil stepmothers to be slanderous, so why should we trust in this play as a serious or credible representation of human experience? Like The Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline threatens to lose dramatic tension and seem ‘[l]ike an old tale still, which will have matter to rehearse though credit be asleep’. The Queen is far from the only character in Cymbeline who is conscious of her own performance or the traditional fictional patterning that shapes her career. And her inability to control fully the reception and wayward growth of her employed fiction is also not a singular failing. Indeed, what marks Cymbeline out is the degree to which the play’s characters draw attention to the seemingly fictional or literary nature of their experience, as well as to their submissive ignorance of the eventual closure of that fiction. More than one character offers a plot-summary that highlights the archetypal, romance quality of their experience, even as it seeks to control that narrative through definition. Innogen recounts her dilemma: A father cruel and a stepdame false, A foolish suitor to a wedded lady That hath her husband banished. (1.6.1–3)

   William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, ed. Roger Warren (Oxford, 1998). All citations will be from this edition. I follow the editor in using the forms ‘Innogen’ and ‘Giacomo’.    The Winter’s Tale, 5.2.61–2: William Shakespeare, The Complete Works, 2nd edn, ed. Stanley Wells and Gary Taylor (Oxford, 2005).    See also the plot summary of the Second Gentleman, 2.1.55–9.

The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline


Innogen speaks here in terms of general types – ‘A father cruel’, ‘A foolish suitor’ – rather than names – Cymbeline, Cloten. The emphasis is on stock literary elements viewed, as if from an audience perspective, from ‘outside’ of the experience. She even speaks of herself in this generalized third person: ‘a wedded lady’. In defending her marriage to Posthumus, Innogen says to Cymbeline: Would I were A neatherd’s daughter, and my Leonatus Our neighbour shepherd’s son. (1.1.149–51)

This is close to being a plot summary of the second part of The Winter’s Tale, written probably the year before Cymbeline in 1609. Just as the Queen’s projection of an alternative, self-consciously fictional evil step-mother had an ironic application to herself, so too Innogen’s alternative pastoral fiction of herself and Posthumus (recalling Perdita and Florizel in The Winter’s Tale) applies in ways that she has possibly not foreseen. Perdita and Florizel may appear to be in a lowly rustic condition, but they are both (in keeping with such stories) of royal birth: one is ignorant of the fact and the other hides it (except to Perdita) and plays the country swain. In seeking an answer to the constraints placed upon her in marrying within her own social class, Innogen invokes a model that really fails to offer the evenly peasant-class society that she intends. The intertextuality of her allusion draws us back into the same problem – where Polixenes, Florizel’s father, forbids his son consorting with a seemingly simple shepherd’s daughter. At the same time, the model invoked by Innogen in this expressed wish (even without recollection of The Winter’s Tale) has such blatant romance signals that it seems to promise a happy resolution. Just as Perdita is raised up, through the discovery of her birth and royal identity, to a level worthy of marriage to Florizel, so we might expect Posthumus to be raised up – if not through revelations concerning his parentless birth, then through his experience and merits – to be worthy of Innogen. More than Twelfth Night, Cymbeline is the play that merits the line that both asserts and undercuts the credibility of the stage-action as observed ‘reality’: ‘If this were played upon a stage, now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.’ Similarly, in the play’s opening scene, the First Gentleman responds to the history of King Cymbeline’s sons, abducted in infancy: Howso’er ’tis strange, Or that the negligence may well be laughed at,  It is possible that The Winter’s Tale was composed just after Cymbeline; see Cymbeline, ed. Butler, p. 5. The sequence is not crucial for what follows; the important thing for the reception of a Jacobean audience of c. 1610–11 is that the plays are nearly contemporaneous.    Twelfth Night, 3.4.125–6: Shakespeare, Works, ed. Wells and Taylor. 

Shakespeare and Wales

160 Yet is it true, sir. (1.1.66–8)

In its referentiality to specifically romance narrative conventions, Cymbeline can seem dangerously close to parody – to ‘be laughed at’. Yet these introductory examples also demonstrate something of the independent momentum of these established fictions to work through to a closure beyond the full grasp of their instigating characters, and this energy exists in tension with the deflatory, quasi-parodic admission of the overfamiliarity of the material. Cymbeline seems to support the enervating notion of romance as a ‘slander’ even as it fulfils the highest aspirations of the romance mode, registered in terms of its final resolutions, restorations, epiphanic clarifications, and achieved stability and peace. The question of how real or viable audiences think that achievement is – how credible as a representation of the human condition – refers us to a crucial aspect of the play for its early modern viewers: its setting in the tradition of the old British History, deriving from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae (‘History of the Kings of Britain’, c. 1135). The ambivalent relation Cymbeline has with its own romance narratives needs to be understood in the context of early seventeenth-century reception of the Galfridian tradition, or British History, including contemporary Jacobean understanding of Wales as containing the vestiges of the Celtic British.  The British History in Jacobean England: the undelvable root In the British History, Shakespeare had not just a setting for romance but the very substance with which to explore the above issues of performed romance fictions, with their alternating ludicrousness and potency. The complex reception history of the Galfridian tradition resulted, by the early seventeenth century, in a comparable ambivalence: a body of narrative perceived at once as exposed falsehood and revered cultural inheritance.10 Humphrey Llwyd, in the Historie of Cambria (1584), defends the Galfridian tradition against Polydore Vergil, who ‘did either neuer see nor read the ancient histories of this realme, or dissembleth the same to the aduancement and praise of himselfe and his countrie’.11 Yet towards the last quarter of the sixteenth century the historical verity of the Galfridian tradition was clearly becoming more suspect. Although Holinshed notes ‘we shall not doubt of

  On the term ‘British History’, see Philip Schwyzer, ‘British History and “The British History”: The Same Old Story?’, in British Identities and English Renaissance Culture, ed. David J. Baker and Willy Maley (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 11–23. 10   See further James P. Carley, ‘Polydore Vergil and John Leland on King Arthur: The Battle of the Books’, Interpretations, 15 (1984): 86–100. 11  Humphrey Llwyd, The historie of Cambria, now called Wales … trans. H. Lhoyd, augmented David Powel (London, 1584), p. 3.

The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline


Brutes comming hither’,12 he also notes the discrepancies and contradictions in the sources, especially the differences between the British History and classical sources such as Suetonius (36). The increasingly doubtful historicity of the Galfridian tradition, together with the narrative’s anti-English implications,13 diminished the need to consider the worth of the tradition in terms of strict historical accuracy – Sidney’s ‘bare Was’.14 Rather, the notions of truthfulness, as well as the idea of Britishness, were increasingly subject to imaginative or ideological reshapings. Camden’s Britannia, in its English translation by Philemon Holland (1610) appearing probably just before the first performance of Cymbeline, suggests the differing perspectives that readers and, broadly speaking, cultural inheritors could bring to the tradition.15 Camden is sensitively (or prudently) aware of the cultural potency it holds for readers – and not just the Welsh. Whilst he insists it is ‘not … [his] intent … to discredit and confute that storie’16 of Brutus, he then enumerates ‘observations and judgements of other men’ (8) who have spoken against the British History. The construction of these unnamed devil’s advocates clearly allows Camden a safely distanced voice of opposition, and the semi-dramatic or dialogic quality of his text at this stage indicates how response to the British History entailed divisions and the simultaneous performing of competing attitudes. Although Camden allows the dissenting view that ‘not one man … [before Geoffrey of Monmouth] made any mention at all of the said Brutus’ (7), he distances himself as ‘a plaine meaning man, and an ingenious student of the truth’ (8). Camden’s support for the Brutan tradition, however, lacks the vehement loyalty of earlier defenders, such as John Leland, Richard Grafton, or Arthur Kelton; he writes ‘For mine owne part, let Brutus be taken for the father, and founder of the British nation’ (8). ‘[M]ine owne part’ emphasizes the subjectivity of this statement, both seeking a personal clearance in the eyes of the supporters of the British History, and undermining the possibility that this statement is a universal truth. Similarly the proposition initiated by ‘let’ offers a sense of hypothesis rather than fact.17 In this dialogic moment, Camden betrays the aptness of the material for the form of drama – in particular for a play that veers between a highly romance handling of the material, emphasized through the self-consciousness of the characters and the 12  Raphael Holinshed, The Historie of England, in The first and second volumes of Chronicles (London, 1587), p. 7. 13   See Schwyzer, ‘British History’, pp. 16–17. 14   Sir Philip Sidney, A Defence of Poetry, ed. J.A. Van Dorsten (Oxford, 1973), p. 36. 15   For a comprehensive treatment of Camden’s revision of the British History, see Graham Parry, ‘Ancient Britons and Early Stuarts’, in Neo-Historicism: Studies in Renaissance Literature, History and Politics, ed. Robin Headlam Wells, Glenn Burgess and Rowland Wymer (Cambridge, 2000), pp. 153–78. 16   William Camden, Britain, trans. Philemon Holland (London, 1610), p. 6. 17   On Camden’s subtle dismissal of the British History, see further D.R. Woolf, The Idea of History in Early Stuart England: Erudition, Ideology, and ‘The Light of Truth’ from the Accession of James I to the Civil War (Toronto, 1990), p. 117.


Shakespeare and Wales

manipulations of the received ‘history’, and the demonstration of the potency of performed fiction, whether the individually contrived narratives of the characters or the larger cultural patterns of the British History. In short, Shakespeare’s setting and subject matter derived from the British History in Cymbeline fuels much of the play’s interest in the power and simultaneous decrepitude of romance narrative structures. Performance, as something both contrived and also potentially allencompassing, is the keystone of both the Jacobean response to the Galfridian tradition and the Shakespearean reception of romance. The basic narrative elements of the Galfridian and later accounts of King Cymbeline, or Kymbeline, could be known to Shakespeare’s various audiences not only through textual sources, such as Holinshed and Spenser’s deft summation in The Faerie Queene (II.x.50), but also through its pervasiveness in everyday civic and popular culture. Ludgate, one of the major gates of the City of London, had a representation of Cymbeline; in fact, ‘Cymbeline and Lud’ was another means of designating Ludgate.18 The 1587 edition of Holinshed was Shakespeare’s main textual source for the British History elements in Cymbeline, but he could anticipate his audiences knowing the basic story from any number of sources. Helen Cooper, writing about the Elizabethan inheritance of medieval romance and the Galfridian tradition, notes: ‘These were the stories that the Elizabethans grew up with: which they did not need to learn, because they were so deep a part of their culture … they remained not just a field of reference but a way of thinking’.19 What must have struck most Jacobean playgoers were the many and profound alterations Shakespeare made to the traditional narrative. Holinshed’s account, fairly close to Geoffrey’s, needs to be summarized. Kymbeline is raised in Rome and knighted by Caesar, with whom ‘he was at libertie to pay his tribute or not’ (32). Holinshed adds only that ‘[l]ittle other mention is made of his dooings, except that during his reigne, the Sauiour of the world our Lord Iesu Christ the onelie sonne of God was borne of a virgine, about the 23 yeare of the reigne of this Kymbeline’ (32). In Geoffrey, Cymbeline, like Lear, hands over his reign to his two sons, Guiderius and Arviragus, in his old age. Holinshed notes that ‘some writers doo varie’ regarding the length of Kymbeline’s reign and the transition of royal authority; but Holinshed has Kymbeline die peacefully in London, leaving behind his two sons, Guiderius and Aruiragus (32). Holinshed notes a discrepancy in the sources regarding the origins of the conflict with Rome over the tribute: whether the bond was broken in Kymbeline’s reign or later (33). Whatever the origins of the dispute, Guiderius, inheriting the crown after Kymbeline’s death, refuses to pay the tribute. Holinshed writes that the emperor Claudius orders the invasion of Britain, urged on by Bericus who was previously expelled out of Britain. Holinshed then switches, rather confusingly, to Roman sources, noting that Cynobellinus’ 18  Tiffany Stern, Making Shakespeare: From Stage to Page (London, 2004), p. 10. Stern’s source is Henry Vaughan’s ‘A Rhapsodie: Occasionally written upon a meeting with some friends at the Globe Taverne …’. 19  Cooper, English Romance, p. 7.

The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline


sons, the hitherto unmentioned Cataratacus [sic] and Togodumnus, are defeated (34). But he also offers the essential Galfridian narrative, in which Guiderius dies in battle through the stratagem of Hamo: ‘Hamo, being on the Romans side, changed his shield and armour, apparelling himselfe like a Britaine, and so entring into the thickest prease of the British host, came at length where the king was and there slue him’ (35). Aruiragus becomes king and marries Genissa, Claudius’ daughter. As a king, he grows arrogant and refuses tribute; Genissa eventually makes the peace between her husband and her father. Holinshed notes, however, that Suetonius does not record for Claudius a daughter by the name of Genissa: ‘Whereby it should appeere, that this supposed marriage betwixt Aruiragus and the daughter of Claudius is but a feined tale’ (36). Because this area of the British History can be cross-examined with (contradictory) Roman sources, the narratives of Cymbeline and his family have proven even more malleable than the Arthurian material, shaped and reshaped in successive ‘historical’ and literary versions. Holinshed’s account evidently offers a substantially different narrative compared to Shakespeare’s play. Narrative seeds in Holinshed – an expelled Briton urging a Roman invasion, princes with two identities (due accidentally to two source traditions), and Hamo in battle changing from Roman to British costume – have germinated into new forms in Shakespeare’s play: the banished Posthumus endorsing Giacomo’s attempt to invade the chastity of the British princess Innogen; Guiderius and Arviragus kidnapped in youth, existing under the names Polydore and Cadwal; Posthumus’ changes from Roman to British costume, and back again. Holinshed is candid concerning the contradictions within the Galfridian material: ‘There is great diuersitie in writers touching the reignes of these kings, and not onlie for the number of yeeres which they should continue in their reignes, but also into their names’ (22). Indeed, the very origins of the history were divisive, allowing for two possible descents for Brutus from Aeneas: ‘his father Iulius was sonne to Ascanius the sonne of Aeneas by his wife Creusa, or sonne to Posthumus called also Ascanius, and sonne to Aeneas by his wife Lauinia’ (7). Like Shakespeare’s Posthumus, we can say of Brutus that we ‘cannot delve him to the root’ (1.1.28). The undelvable root is the model for understanding the British History in Cymbeline, complementary with characters seemingly driven by performance and self-conscious theatricality, yet equally unaware of the momentum and independent waywardness of these invoked fictions. The undelvable quality of the material allows Shakespeare considerable freedom to rework it, highlighting in the process its aptness for literary transformation and its concomitant lack of historicity.20 Camden writes concerning the undelvable origins of Britain: ‘as touching the very name and the first inhabitants of Britaine, and I feare me greatly, that no man is able to fetch out the truth, so deepely plunged within the winding revolutions of so many ages’ (9). 20   Andrew Hadfield, Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain (Basingstoke, 2004), p. 161 makes this same point. See also J.P. Brockbank, ‘History and Histrionics in Cymbeline’, Shakespeare Survey, 11 (1958): 42–3.


Shakespeare and Wales

At the same time, the undelvable root is all the more deeply rooted, tenacious and vital rather than weak. Even as the historicity of the British History in Cymbeline is quietly diminished through the obvious and less than obvious manipulations of the material, the potency of that material as cultural inheritance increases. The excitement of encountering origins and roots – not London, but ‘Lud’s Town’ (5.5.479) – of places, objects and institutions that create the very substance of the later observer’s world, involves a provocative rhetorical sense of the informing power and validity of that earlier depicted world. Like the self-conscious performed fictions of the characters, the obvious literariness or imaginative origins of the British History may invite questioning of its truthfulness; at the same time, the weight of earlier literary traditions and cultural memory compels belief or attentiveness to the possibility that ‘Howso’er ’tis strange … Yet is it true’. Holinshed’s response to the British History, especially the period including King Cymbeline, could fancifully be taken as echoing the frequent amazement of characters in Shakespeare’s play to the events unfolding – or the amazement that a Jacobean audience might feel, uncertain whether to find the narrative compelling or absurd: ‘hard it is to iudge what may be affirmed and receiued in their writings for a truth’ (31). With a stronger sense of commitment, Camden indicates the gradual loss of historicity in the material, with a concomitant rise in its function as a tool for idealized cultural self-understanding. When the authors of the British History ‘could not declare the trueth indeed, yet at least way for delectation, they laboured to bring foorth narrations, devised of purpose, with a certeine pleasant varietie to give contentment, and delivered their severall opinions, each one after his owne conceit and capacitie, touching the originall of Nations and their names’ (4). The Galfridian tradition is characterized here not as factual history but rather as a performance – a set of ‘narrations’ for ‘delectation’ and ‘to give contentment’. The British History, in Camden’s appraisal, informs the notion of performed fictions that is at the heart of Cymbeline. Although ‘the devices coined by our owne countrymen [i.e. the British History] passe not currant with generall allowance’ (5), yet (continuing the metaphor) the British History is clearly not bankrupt in terms of its cultural capital.21 The most striking image in the play - Innogen weeping over the headless corpse of Cloten, assumed to be Posthumus - is redolent of the dilemma of the early modern subject engrossed in belief in the similarly acephalous British History: Innogen’s narrative understanding at this moment is factually wrong, since this is not Posthumus, but her credence in it makes its operations ‘real’ in relation to her: The dream’s here still. Even when I wake it is Without me as within me; not imagined, felt. (4.2. 307–9)

21  Appropriately, Camden includes images of coins with the face of Cunobelin (Britain, pp. 89, 97–8).

The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline


Her lamenting over the wrong corpse enforces the same divided reactions as do romance and the British History in the play and in Jacobean England: at once a moving or powerful narrative and ludicrously misjudged. Innogen and Britain: credibility on trial The structural and thematic coherence of Cymbeline lies in this analogy under discussion: the British History offers a narrative utterly lacking in plausibility, even committed to pagan gods, and yet it reveals the origins and ongoing substance of that recalcitrant glue called culture; and, analogously, within that world characters enact romance fictions that seem so shopworn as to be risible, and yet these quasiparodic performances lead to insights and resolutions beyond the conception of their instigators. For all their seeming self-consciousness, these characters are not yet fully self-aware. The central figure for both parts of this analogy is, arguably, Posthumus, and he now merits more detailed consideration. Holinshed noted that a man named Posthumus was possibly the father of Brutus in one version of Brutus’ descent from Aeneas. Brutus’ wife and mother of the British nation, furthermore, was named Innogen, the likely form of the name of Shakespeare’s heroine.22 These key antecedents enable consideration of Shakespeare’s Posthumus as crucially related to the British History. Indeed, in his marriage to a lady called Innogen, and his subsequent doubts concerning her truthfulness, Posthumus is not so much an element within the British History but rather emblematic of its troubled early modern reception. The tension embodied in his full name Posthumus Leonatus – born of dead parents and born of a lion – suggests the ambivalence of his inheritance as a Briton. Like the British History in the Jacobean period, Posthumus’ ancestors offer both a defunct and a golden narrative. The play’s central analogical relationship between the British History and the performance of romance fictions becomes clear through the experience of Posthumus: he enacts fictions that question the validity and truthfulness of British identity yet also demonstrate its viability. Not only does he embody British valour, through his prowess in battle; he also, paradoxically, enables the attack on British values through his facilitating Giacomo’s slander of Innogen. Giacomo’s penetration of Innogen’s bedchamber not only effects a symbolic rape (enhanced by the references to Tarquin and Tereus (2.2.12, 45)); it also offers a microcosmic version of the Roman military invasion of Britain. Posthumus makes the analogy clear when he later deserts the Roman invasion of Britain: I am brought hither Among th’Italian gentry, and to fight 22   See further Cymbeline, ed. Warren, pp. 265–8. Even if the form ‘Imogen’ is correct and was used in early performance, it clearly invokes ‘Innogen’ and its associations, as Simon Foreman’s account suggests.


Shakespeare and Wales Against my lady’s kingdom. ’Tis enough That, Britain, I have killed thy mistress; peace, I’ll give no wound to thee. (5.1.17–21)23

The sexual jealousy of Posthumus, manifest in his misogynistic soliloquy when he believes Innogen to have betrayed him (2.4.153–87), extends the analogy: his antifeminist diatribe is an intensified emotion comparable to anxiety about the invasion of Britain. Posthumus’ first thought is not his wife’s infidelity, but the presumed adultery of his mother: We are all bastards, And that most venerable man which I Did call my father was I know not where When I was stamped. Some coiner with his tools Made me a counterfeit. (2.4.154–8)

Innogen’s imagined faithlessness immediately raises the spectre of his own troubled identity, worsened by his posthumous birth. The prominence of identity at this moment, and his consequent adoption of Roman costume, allows the sense that Posthumus’ troubled relationship with the British princess is a microcosm or synecdoche for British identity and the validity (or not) of the cultural capital embodied in the British History. If Geoffrey has lied, then the audience too might say ‘We are all bastards’. Posthumus’ presumed adulterous mother extends to the mother nation, which now threatens to reveal hitherto concealed straying. Rather than cultural capital, the British History might be ‘counterfeit’. Not surprisingly, the attack on Posthumus’ faith in Innogen, heir to the British throne, and on his own identity as a Briton, comes from an Italian; like Polydore Vergil, Giacomo threatens the legitimacy of Britishness as something pure and of long and untainted descent. Humphrey Llwyd writes of Polydore that ‘all his booke redoundeth onlie to the praise and honour of the Romans … and to blase forth their acts and deeds within this realme’ (Historie, 3). It is difficult not to think in this context of the wager scene, where the essential competition regarding the beauty and loyalty ‘of our country mistresses’ (1.4.54) is framed insistently in terms of the rival nations, Italy and Britain (1.4.68, 90). Posthumus’ resolution to ‘disrobe me / Of these Italian weeds, and suit myself / As does a Briton peasant’ (5.1.22–3), suggests the early modern subject torn between conflicting Roman/Italian and British accounts of his country. The deliberate act of onstage costuming enforces the cultural identities as performed 23  Cloten enables the audience to view the assault of Innogen’s bedchamber in terms of the larger military invasion from the other side of the analogy, when he feminizes Britain as a woman facing ravishment, ‘in our salt-water girdle’ (3.1.78).

The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline


and competing fictions. Posthumus returns to Italian dress to ‘resume[…] again / The part I came in’ (5.3.75–6), invoking memory of an earlier, pre-eminently meta-theatrical character: Lie here, ye weeds that I disdain to wear! This complete armour and this curtle-axe Are adjuncts more beseeming Tamburlaine.24

Like Tamburlaine, Posthumus is acutely aware that his is a performance or ‘part’, even if he does not fully control its trajectory in the way that Tamburlaine achieves. Posthumus’ injunction to himself – ‘Let me make men know / More valour in me than my habits show’ (5.1.29–30) – recognizes the limitations of his costume in defining his performance; consequently, he is all the more aware of the need to perform, conscious of his rhetorical role to ‘make men know’, to move his audience. The nobility of British identity – the British History – must be persuasively performed through his actions, no matter how tattered its trappings may seem. That his performance is effective is registered in his vanquishing of Giacomo, who is emasculated in the encounter; it ‘[t]akes off my manhood’ (5.2.2). Competing fictions and Wales Fiction is of course at the heart of the discrediting of Innogen’s honour, emblematic of British integrity. Innogen’s value is diminished through the fiction of her unchastity – a device that not only derives from the (perhaps significantly) Italian storehouse of narratives, Boccaccio’s Il Decamerone, but that also asserts its fictionalized quality throughout.25 Innogen has been reading immediately prior to Giacomo’s exiting from the trunk. Her instructions to Helen to ‘Fold down the leaf where I have left’ (2.2.4) and to leave the taper burning (2.2.5) suggest a sublimination of boundaries between the reading experience and what is to follow. Giacomo notes the book, connecting himself to the earlier moment and Innogen’s reading experience: ‘Here the leaf’s turned down’ (2.2.45). The Ovidian subject matter of her reading (Tereus and Philomel), together with the later account of the classical narratives decorating the room (2.4.69–72, 2.4.80–82), create the sense of a Chaucerian dream-narrative, where the speaker’s reading experiences are the prelude to a dream of strong literary self-consciousness.26 That Innogen’s  Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine, Part 1, ed. J.S. Cunningham and Eithne Henson (Manchester and New York, 1998), 1.2.41–3. 25   Shakespeare’s direct source was the German adaptation, Frederick of Jennen, though Martin Butler supports the idea that Shakespeare knew the Boccaccio narrative itself, either in Italian or French; Cymbeline, ed. Butler, p. 25. 26  And, of course, as numerous commentators have pointed out, the theme of rape in the readings connects with the symbolic rape or penetrative gaze that follows. 24

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dilemma should be framed in this way, and her discrediting achieved through a fictional account of a ‘night of such sweet shortness … in Britain’ (2.4.44–5), locates the debates concerning the credibility of the British tradition in the context of competing fictions. Innogen’s association with the performance of fictions remains constant throughout the play. Her chamber, with ‘the story [of] Proud Cleopatra’ (2.4.69–70) and ‘Chaste Dian bathing’ (2.4.82) reflects not only her own regality and virtue, but offers a projection or image of a mind replete with narrative. Her adoption of the habit of a ‘franklin’s housewife’ (3.3.77) to effect her escape to Milford suggests a response informed by reading experiences, again loosely Chaucerian.27 This disguise also acknowledges the lower social origins of her husband, and her implicit strategy is possibly to draw him into a fictional framework that gives her more control over their circumstances. She acknowledges that she is setting a fiction into play without being able to see fully ‘what ensues’; she sounds like Holinshed confronting the conflicting sources of native history when she notes that the events ‘have a fog in them / That I cannot look through’ (3.2.79–80). Nevertheless she commits herself to the fictional role not as a literal truth but as a potentially powerful shaping tool that will transform their condition. Like the British History, her literal truthfulness may be of less concern than her ability to direct behaviour through her adopted fiction. Not surprisingly, she is quick to accept Pisanio’s idea of disguising herself as a boy – another fiction, and one that accords with her receiving the disturbing news that Posthumus now doubts her marital fidelity. Since ‘wife’ is no longer a role that she can perform, even in the fictionalized mode of a franklin’s wife, she retreats into the security of a young man or adolescent boy. Pisanio’s injunction – ‘You must forget to be a woman’ (3.4.155) – suggests complete commitment to the new fiction, with a consequential loss of personal control under the force of the narrative’s own momentum. In terms familiar from romances of slandered women, forgetting to be a woman is the rudderless ship into which this lady now steps.28 At the same time her pseudonym, Fidele, signals her effort to work her circumstances propitiously through fictional means. When she later believes that Posthumus is dead, she redirects her performance away from her British identity and hence away from her being. Her self-destructive trajectory towards becoming ‘nothing’ (4.2.368)   ‘Arveragus’ is the name of the knight in The Franklin’s Tale (Chaucer, The Riverside Chaucer, ed. Larry D. Benson, 3rd edn (Boston, 1978): The Franklin’s Tale, V.808. Of course Shakespeare inherited the name ‘Arviragus’ from the Galfridian tradition through Holinshed. The similarity of this name to the Chaucerian character, however, might have prompted Innogen’s disguise as a Franklin’s wife, seeming to reference the Franklin’s Tale. The importance of trust within marriage in that Tale is an appropriate intertext for the experiences of Innogen and Posthumus. I am indebted to Dr Matthew Woodcock for noting the similarity of names. 28   See below p. 170, note 33 for the explicit invocation of this romance motif in Cymbeline. 27

The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline


is shaped through self-consciously theatrical performance; always attentive to the impression that she can make on an audience, she smears herself with the corpse’s blood, ‘That we the horrider may seem to those / Which chance to find us’ (4.2.332–3). Posthumus’ loss of faith in Innogen and her subsequent belief that he is dead lead to the demise of the British History as an attractive cultural inheritance, symbolized in the self-annihilation of the British princess. Appropriately the region that must revive the British History is Wales – for early modern audiences the surviving vestiges of ancient Britishness, yet for the characters in the play a place beyond the borders of Britain.29 Innogen conceives of flight into Wales as a departure from Britain: Hath Britain all the sun that shines? Day, night, Are they not but in Britain? I’th’world’s volume Our Britain seems as of it but not in’t … There’s livers out of Britain. (3.4.137–41)30

Again the play confronts us with a sense of origins: in this case, the process by which Wales came to be part of Britain. The two princes, their identities unknown to themselves, reside in Wales, poised to return vitality to the royal line. Wales is the same politically undefined and ultimately restorative place as the woods outside Athens or the Forest of Arden.31 The surprising fact that it is not part of Britain in the play allows the emphasis to be on the fictional potential of the place. Uncharted Wales permits characters more scope for conceiving and directing their personal fictions than the restricted court, where much of the acting or performance space has already been claimed by the established fictions of central characters; this is certainly the experience of Posthumus, who must leave the court because he cannot assume there the role of Innogen’s husband, yet finds himself capable of a number of parts (including, by surrogate, headless corpse) in Wales. But even as Wales provides uncharted scope for characters to develop personal fictional trajectories or performances, they become part of the developing British History as it enters a new phase of recovery. In his dedicatory epistle to Queen Elizabeth in The Worthiness of Wales (1587), Thomas Churchyard offers a defence of Welsh lawfulness that invites comparison 29   Sidney describes Wales as ‘the true remnant of the ancient Britons’: A Defence of Poetry, pp. 20–21. 30   Furthermore, Wales is presented as a region outside of Britain, since Lucius is offered escort only as far as the River Severn (3.5.17). See further Ronald J. Boling, ‘AngloWelsh Relations in Cymbeline’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 51 (2000): 36. 31  Boling, ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations’: 52–3 draws upon George Owen’s Description of Pembrokshire (1603) to emphasize what is also apparent in the play: the natural wildness and hardship of the region. As with the Forest of Arden, ‘restorative’ does not imply an idealized landscape.

Shakespeare and Wales


with the representation of Wales in Cymbeline: ‘the very name of a falsifier of promes, a murtherer or a theef, is most odious among them, especially a Traytor is so hated, that his whole race is rated at and abhord’ (*.3.v.) False promises, murder and treason are the imagined and potential fictions that lead Pisanio and Innogen into Wales, and Posthumus after them. For Posthumus, Milford Haven and its environs are a suitable venue for murder and secret crime, beyond the reaches of royal authority. The strong Tudor resonances of Milford Haven can transfer, for Shakespeare’s audiences, to the incumbent Stuart dynasty because of Prince Henry’s investiture as Prince of Wales in 1610, and this Welsh inheritance brings with it the weight and significance of the British History.32 However, in this moment in Cymbeline, at once contemporary with Stuart interests and ‘before’ those events, the positive identity of Milford is threatened by the projected misuse of the place for a royal murder. Posthumus seeks to instigate a radically different identity or projected fictional association for the place; the audience’s response must entail recognition of how that place could have been very different for later Britons and English if that narrative trajectory had reached its completion. The description of ‘blessed Milford’ and ‘a haven’ (3.2.58–9) threaten to sound grimly ironic, and the audience – the theatre’s memory – must be uncomfortably aware that this fiction has the potential to redefine the place in terms of royal tragedy and the death of an heir. The murderous fiction initiated by Posthumus fails, and thus Milford Haven becomes a place of recovery and restitution, as it was for the Tudors. Pisanio offsets Posthumus’ intended fiction with one of his own – disguising Innogen as a boy. And since this fiction is patently out of romance, it is not surprising that Milford Haven begins its process of shaping itself into a place fit for the victories of romance. The British History forms itself into the kind of narrative where the fictional trajectories embodied in the actions of characters tend (in spite of characters’ intentions) towards good. The momentum of fictions derived from the romance mode in the play becomes aligned with providence, which achieves an ending through and in spite of the intentions and actions of the characters. Pisanio notes ‘The heavens still must work’ (4.3.41). He invokes one of the most pervasive images from romance of the shaping force of providence on human lives – the rudderless ship, whose occupants accept the navigation of a numinous divinity: ‘Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered’ (4.3.46).33 Innogen’s selfdefinition as ‘nothing’ may have seemed to her like the despairing abandonment of a personal romance fiction. In fact, it is simply a phase or position in the archetypal romance trajectory that passes through death or nothingness and into new life.

  See David M. Bergeron, Shakespeare’s Romances and the Royal Family (Lawrence, KA, 1985), pp. 140–41; Emrys Jones, ‘Stuart Cymbeline’, Essays in Criticism, 11 (1961): 84–99; Ros King, Cymbeline: Constructions of Britain (Aldershot, 2005), pp. 42–53; Parry, ‘Ancient Britons’, pp. 156–60, 170. 33   On the motif, see Cooper, English Romance, pp. 106–36. 32

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Wilful romance, providence and Jacobean reception Belarius is the central figure of Wales, and he combines personal performance of fictions with a demonstration of the British History as a fiction whose shaped patterns suggest the operations of providence. Belarius’ interactions with the royal family and genealogy are not only self-consciously literary, but also intrinsically investigative of the values of the British History. Disguising the princes as rustic wildmen and raising them in a forest seems patently derived from the experience of reading romance; Perceval’s rearing by his mother fits perfectly. Crucially, Belarius offers no sign that he intends the full implications of this romance fiction; he does not reveal a plan to return eventually the boys to the king or to make known to them their true identities. However, by positioning the boys in a fiction with strong romance elements, Belarius is unconsciously channelling the princes towards a happy ending, defined according to this story-type by the revelation of their royal identity. Belarius not only locates Guiderius and Arviragus within a romance fiction; he also brings this constructed world into interaction with the British History. Of course the boys are, as royal princes, already part of that history, but Belarius intensifies the function of the boys as values within the British History through his choice of pseudonyms – Polydore and Cadwal. The names reflect the ambivalence of the British History in early modern culture, as noted at the outset of this chapter in Holinshed and Camden. Between the Queen’s and Cloten’s militant support of British dignity and insularity and Giacomo’s implicit attack (mediated through Innogen) on British virtue lies the possibility of a more insightful and self-aware ambivalence. The pseudonyms of the princes seem emblematic of that ambivalence – a condition that must precede any great achievement, signified in their eventual acquisition of their real names. Guiderius’ name, ‘Polydore’, recalls Polydore Vergil, remembered chiefly for his criticizing the tradition. Giacomo’s insidious ‘Italian brain’ (5.4.196) is the deadly fulfilment of that threatening potential in the play. Arviragus’ name, ‘Cadwal’, suggests the possibility of a triumphalist view of the British History – again, given negative expression in the truculent patriotism of Cloten and the Queen. ‘Cadwal’ recalls Cadwallader, the British king who was in one sense the end of the line (in Geoffrey of Monmouth), but who received the prophecy that the British dynastic line would at some future date return to power – prefiguring his and his brother’s own return. Thus one of Belarius’ imposed names hints at denial, the other at a kind of apocalyptic victory or ultimate vindication. In this opposition the ambivalence of the British History is registered, but its potency as cultural energy takes precedence because the characters are positioned in a romance fictional trajectory. Like Innogen, who must pass through nothingness and ultimate loss before being raised in her fictional trajectory to a renewed condition, so too ‘Cadwal’ promises restoration, however much ‘Polydore’ questions the validity of the romance mode in relation to British identity, voicing the anxiety that it may prove to be ‘nothing’. Belarius’ employment of fictions provides a model for understanding the energy of romance narratives, their organic or seemingly viral tendency to develop

Shakespeare and Wales


and mutate into unanticipated ends.34 The fiction he initially imposes (reminiscent of Duke Senior in As You Like It) is simply an opposition between court and forest: the court is corrupted by ruthless competition, ‘whose top to climb / Is certain falling’ (3.3.47–8); the wilderness, by contrast, presents uncompromising honesty, where hardship should leave the performer ‘Prouder than rustling in unpaid-for silk’ (3.3.24). Guiderius is clear, however, that this is an imposed narrative, one that he has not had the opportunity to test: Out of your proof you speak. We poor unfledged Have never winged from view o’th’nest, nor know not What air’s from home. (3.3.27–9)

Belarius’ fictionalized forest is for Guiderius ‘A cell of ignorance’ (3.3.33) – a phrase that offers a point of dialectic antithesis reminiscent of the competing views of the British History. The germinating tendency of fictions works through cracks such as this, and Belarius’ narrative begins to grow in a presumably unforeseen direction. Guiderius and Arviragus are increasingly like countless displaced youths in romance, separated from their rightful aristocratic upbringing and raised in deprived conditions, ignorant of their true identity. Spenser’s Redcrosse Knight is an example, in turn resonating with medieval exemplars such as Sir Bevis of Hampton, Perceval, Arthur and Florent in the Middle English romance Octavian.35 The kernel to this story is that the displaced youth, however removed from his rightful place and ignorant of his origins, feels the promptings in his blood to join the aristocratic, kingly, or somehow special context that is rightfully his. Belarius and Guiderius provide ‘text-book’ instances of the type. Belarius notes: How hard it is to hide the sparks of nature! These boys know little they are sons to th’King, Nor Cymbeline dreams that they are alive. They think they are mine, and though trained up thus meanly I’th’cave wherein they bow, their thoughts do hit The roofs of palaces, and nature prompts them In simple and low things to prince it much Beyond the trick of others. (3.3.79–86)36 34

  Helen Cooper uses the scientific model in writing of romance topoi as ‘memes’, behaving ‘like a gene in its ability to replicate faithfully and abundantly, but also on occasion to adapt, mutate, and therefore survive in different forms of cultures’. English Romance, p. 3. 35   See Andrew King, The Faerie Queene and Middle English Romance: The Matter of Just Memory (Oxford, 2000), pp. 78–94, 145–53. 36   See also: 4.2.177–82; 4.4.35–43, 53–4.

The British History, Fiction and Performance in Cymbeline


Belarius’ imposed narrative of the virtues of the simple life compared to the court – an essentially satiric topos, exemplified in a work such as Wyatt’s Mine Owne John Poynz – gives way to the romance narrative of the exile and return of the displaced youth. That shift seems adumbrated in the name Cadwal, with its noted associations of providential return. And the fact that the princes are reared in Wales must intensify, for an early modern audience viewing Wales as the repository of the ancient Britons, the sense that the boys are (anachronistically) restoring the line associated with Cadwallader. But what is most provocative here is that the fiction should germinate into romance – rather than revenge tragedy or ironic stasis. A Jacobean audience viewing the play soon after the death of Prince Henry, Prince of Wales, would certainly be aware of the potential for tragic outcome. The fact that the initiated fiction takes the romance form is the play’s means of demonstrating through the language of literary types the operations of providence in this world. And even as the play-world becomes more self-consciously literary and hence less credible, it inversely gains dramatic power through its manifestation of the divine. That the divine in question in Cymbeline is Jupiter, a non-historical entity, coincides with the discredited historicity of the Galfridian tradition; yet that this element is all-powerful in the play-world suggests the comparable felt reality of the British History as a ‘credo’. Much critical work on Cymbeline places emphasis on the fact that Christ was born during this king’s reign.37 Yet it is interesting that the play never makes that explicit. Jupiter, not Christ, is the appropriate head and resolution of this play-world because he too is an enacted fiction that, like the British History, is seen to have power in the play, however historically discredited he has become. And of course he is historically discredited, for Jacobean viewers, precisely because of the birth of Christ, happening silently and simultaneously ‘offstage’. Like the British History, the Roman gods demand to be admitted by the audience as vital in spite of their lack of historical credibility. The play defines its truths in terms of ‘delectation’ rather than historical fact. Mention of Christ in the play would involve for its early modern audience the intrusion of an historical reality (not just an historical personage, but the son of God) that would validate the play’s providential world from outside. At the same time, the already historically discredited British History would be comically at odds with this moment of supreme importance in human history. Instead, the play offers us – in the enacted fictions of the characters, in the providential movements of the British History into new directions, and in the all encompassing power of Jupiter – a model world in which the narratives set in place develop with an independent momentum, creating new meanings and worlds. Of course, the reception context for these two princes coming to the throne, fulfilling ideas of restoration, is James’ two sons. Considerable commentary on the play has noted the essential parallel between Cymbeline and James: two sons 37   See, e.g., Hadfield, Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain, p. 162; Parry, ‘Ancient Britons’, p. 170.

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and one daughter. Jacobean pageantry, furthermore, continued to link the new dynasty with the British History and the Tudor legacy, highlighting the Welsh links in the literature and performances accompanying Henry’s investiture as Prince of Wales.38 What is most interesting in Shakespeare’s response to these elements is the ambivalence of the British History throughout the play. Characters who fail to respond to or embody ambivalence represent threatening elements within the framework. Cloten’s and the Queen’s strenuous opposition to the Roman demands for tribute chimes with the most patriotic defences of the British History and the continuity of the ancient British monarchy by the opponents of Polydore Vergil. The Queen invokes a continuous line of unconquered monarchs and their subjects: Remember, sir, my liege, The kings your ancestors, together with The natural bravery of your isle, which stands As Neptune’s park, ribbed and paled in With oaks unscalable and roaring waters, With sands that will not bear your enemies’ boats, But suck them up to th’topmast. (3.1.16–22)

Similarly, Arthur Kelton’s A Chronicle with a Genealogie (1547), in opposition to Polydore Vergil’s Historia Anglica, presents an image of unbroken British royal genealogy, descending down to the Tudors: With vs in Wales, none were opprest No tirauntes great, with vs did dwelle There was the place, of peace and rest Christ and his lawes, for to degest None durst approche, that to deny Agayne our faithe, once to reply. [d.vii.r]

And Richard Grafton’s Chronicle (1569) defends the British History against the ‘fond coniectures of such as slaunderously haue written of the same’.39 However, the Queen’s is a performance that rings hollow given her own depraved character. As John E. Curran argues, the humanist historiographical project had exposed the flattering untruths of the Galfridian tradition, at the same time recasting the ancient Britons as a ‘barbaric heritage’.40 Cloten and the Queen, in fact, best embody 38

  Jones, ‘Stuart Cymbeline’.  Richard Grafton, A Chronicle at Large and mere History of the affayres of England … (London, 1569), p. 32. 40   John E. Curran, Jr, ‘Royalty Unlearned, Honor Untaught: British Savages and Historiographical Change in Cymbeline’, Comparative Literature, 31/2 (1997): 277–8. 39

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the putatively ruder, less civilized impulse manifested in the Britons. Holinshed projects a view of Britain that emphasizes its crudity and darkness – aspects that seem to be the necessary price for achieving some degree of historical credibility. Gone are the idealized and heroic fictions assumed previously by the British History. Kymbeline would be unlikely to have refused tribute to the Romans, Holinshed argues, ‘because the youth of the Britaine nation should not be depriued of the benefit to be trained and brought vp among the Romans, whereby they might leaue both to behaue themselues like ciuill men’ (III.33). Cloten’s trumpeting of the British History as a sacred lineage, like Kelton’s simplified ethnic and national history, implicitly denies this pragmatic and more readily credible view; ironically, he best embodies the uncivil potentials in the British nature. In his intended attacks on Innogen and Posthumus, he would assault the figures most emblematic of the British tradition; the irony here coincides with his simultaneous assertion of an idealistic heroic tradition whilst failing to embody that heroism in himself. Cymbeline as a ruler and a father is a highly ambivalent figure, as some criticism has stressed.41 He is at once a figure who ultimately transcends conflict and division to institute a new era of peace, yet he is blindly ignorant of the true nature of some of those closest to his person and throne. Again, historicist readings have stressed the ambivalence in contemporary reactions to the personal habits, character and rule of James, especially in the context of his failed plans for a full Anglo-Scottish union.42 Jacobean viewers of Cymbeline were positioned to understand this element of the play’s complexity – more complicated than an endorsement and glorification of the rule. Watching the play, viewers must have been struck by the instability, waywardness, but also fermenting potency of the historical and cultural traditions with which James is associated. Even Cymbeline himself, the monarch, must relinquish control of a narrative that combines a sense of higher agency with the germinating and mutating possibilities of the fictions performed by himself and more especially his court and family. The implications of performance and the invocation of narrative frameworks become critical. The near parodic quality of romance narrative in the play, invoked and performed self-consciously by quasi-‘Quixotic’ characters, is offset by the very real, visceral power of these involved stories to lead to life-changing moments that transcend calculated performance. Similarly the British History, challenged by Latin and Italian historiography, may be ‘a garement out of fashion’ (3.4.51); yet its ‘richer’ substance ‘must be ripped’ (3.4.52–3), not destructively but so that its valuable fabric can be suited to new forms and uses.

  Cymbeline, ed. Butler, p. 13.   Hadfield, Shakespeare, Spenser and the Matter of Britain, p. 168; Leah S. Marcus, Puzzling Shakespeare: Local Reading and its Discontents (Berkeley, 1988), pp. 122–35. 41


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Chapter 11

‘Let a Welsh correction teach you a good English condition’: Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics Willy Maley

There remains the question, Did he ever travel in Wales? To which we may reply, Why not? Frederick Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh

Harries’ game Why not indeed? Frederick Harries is one of a number of ‘old historicist’ critics who in the first half of the twentieth century mapped out an elaborate Welsh context for Shakespeare’s work. To some extent, this criticism has become disconnected from more recent work in which critics such as Terence Hawkes and Lisa Hopkins have established a web of Welsh connections. My purpose in this chapter is to revisit some earlier critical work, less theoretically sophisticated but historically interesting, that elaborated a complementary latticework of links between Wales and Shakespeare. I hope to suggest, through a sampling and survey, that the earlier criticism of Harries, Arthur Hughes, D. Lleufer Thomas and others has much to commend it and even at times offers a useful corrective to some new historicist approaches. Among the achievements or enterprises of this earlier criticism was to establish a Welsh colony at Stratford, a Welsh context for the First Folio – entailing performers, printers and patrons – and a sympathetic reading of Shakespeare’s Welsh characters. But before I embark on a survey of this material I want first to call up from the vasty deep one of Shakespeare’s earliest Welsh critics. Maurice Morgann is best known for his Essay on the Dramatic Character of Sir John Falstaff (1777). I will not go into the merits of that work here except to say four things relevant to this collection.   Frederick J. Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh (London, 1919), p. 250.   P. L. Carver, ‘The Influence of Maurice Morgann’, Review of English Studies 6/23 (1930): 320–22; Daniel A. Fineman (ed.), Maurice Morgann: Shakespearian Criticism (Oxford, 1972).  

Shakespeare and Wales


First, Morgann’s defence of Falstaff as more than a mere buffoon has parallels with recent readings of Fluellen. A sleeve-tugging, leg-pulling, shoulder-tapping Fluellen has taken over from the forelock-tugging Welsh captain. Now Fluellen is viewed more in terms of cultural subversion than comic diversion. Jonathan Baldo speaks for the new critical consensus when he says that ‘Fluellen is, from a certain angle, a running joke at Henry’s expense.’ According to Patricia Parker: the ostensible Welsh slip of the lip that produces ‘Alexander the Pig’ as part of Fluellen’s apparently complimentary comparison, deflates the heroism of the comparison itself, producing a lingual ‘mockery’ by putting the comparison of ‘Harry England’ to a conquering ‘Pig’ into the mouth of the apparently most faithful ‘borderer’ of the play.

Parker discerns ‘a decentring critique of the rhetoric of a dominated unity or oneness, suggesting, in the very play that the current Prince of Wales once praised for teaching him how to be a king, leaks that perhaps still have not been contained’. There are still critics who see Fluellen as a comic turn – Robert Babcock remarks that ‘By butchering spoken English through the use of Welsh mutations, Fluellen, noble as his character may be, thus becomes an object of derision not dissimilar to Evans in Merry Wives of Windsor’ – but they are increasingly in the minority. Secondly, Morgann’s recuperation of Falstaff could conceivably lead to him being read as a moral counterpoint to imperial violence, a line familiar in recent criticism on Fluellen and, more generally, on Henry V, as an anti-imperialist, antiwar play. Thirdly, Falstaff – False-Taff – has been read as Welsh himself. Falstaff forgets Glendower’s name in 1 Henry IV in the same way that Fluellen forgets his in Henry V, but this infectious amnesia conceals an affinity. Gayle Whittier sees Falstaff as following the Welshwomen in enacting a beastly transformation upon Hotspur (1.1.41–6): ‘The gesture which would unman Hotspur demonstrates a Falstaff himself unmanned and traitorous: it is a moral mirror, and it reflects Falstaff as a rebel within the English camp, counterpart to the castrating Welshwomen and himself no man. He stands therefore as an uncomic androgyn.’   Jonathan Baldo, ‘Wars of Memory in Henry V’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 47/2 (1996):


  Patricia Parker, ‘Uncertain Unions: Welsh Leeks in Henry V’, in David Baker and Willy Maley (eds.), British Identities and English Renaissance Literature (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 85–6.   Ibid., p. 99.   Robert S. Babcock, ‘“For I Am Welsh, You Know”: Henry V, Fluellen, and the Place of Wales in the Sixteenth-Century English Nation’, in James V. Mehl (ed.), In Laudem Caroli: Renaissance and Reformation Studies for Charles G. Nauert (Kirksville, Missouri, 1998), p. 196.    Gayle Whittier, ‘Falstaff as a Welshwoman: Uncomic Androgyny’, The Ball State University Forum, 20 (1979): 32–3; Terence Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’, in Ania Loomba and

Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics


Finally, as a colonial administrator involved in the governance of Quebec, and outspoken on American Independence (he opposed the American War), Morgann is not the only prominent Welshman to play a key role in empire. In 1618, while James I was receiving a proposal to colonize Wales by plantation, after the Irish fashion – a proposal the king rejected – and Ben Jonson’s antimasque, For the Honour of Wales, was being performed in London, William Vaughan, a prominent Welsh adventurer, was colonizing Newfoundland, naming it Cambriol in honour of his native Cambria. Arthur Hughes’ essay on Shakespeare’s Welsh characters ends with a note on Hughes, who died in 1918, the year before this piece was published: ‘During the War in the Transvaal, he and his brother, the late Professor Alfred Hughes, were largely instrumental in forming and maintaining the Welsh Hospital sent to South Africa.’10 Writing in 1983, Camille Adkins remarked that Shakespeare knew more about the Welsh than about any other people except the English.11 Adkins usefully summarizes the catalogue of Cambrian connections from Alys Griffin, Shakespeare’s Welsh grandmother, to James Roberts, Shakespeare’s Welsh printer.12 The early twentieth-century Welsh critics who began to elaborate this context were working alongside historians and editors. In this period, new editions of Gerald of Wales’s The Itinerary Through Wales and The Description of Wales (1908), and Robert Armin’s The Valiant Welshman (1913), followed by a major study of Owen Glendower by Sir John Edward Lloyd (1931) marked a moment when scholarship and nationalist ferment prompted a flurry of activity around literature and identity. Arthur E. Hughes’s essay, ‘Shakespeare and his Welsh Characters’, published in Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1919), opened the door to some focused criticism. Hughes’ line of argument was that Shakespeare had flip-flopped with Glendower, conceiving him as a caricature but finally realizing the error of his ways and fleshing him out as a fully realized character. There Martin Orkin (eds.), Post-Colonial Shakespeares (London, 1998), p. 128; Lisa Hopkins, ‘“For I am Welsh, you know, good countryman”: Welshness in Shakespeare’s English Histories’, in Ton Hoenselaars (ed.), Shakespeare’s History Plays: Performance, Translation and Adaptation in Britain and Abroad (Cambridge, 2004), p. 63.   Rory T. Cornish, ‘Morgann, Maurice (1725–1802)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.   A.H. Dodd, ‘Wales and the Scottish Succession’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, Session 1937 (1938): 224; Andrew Hiscock, ‘“To the Honour of that Nation”: Ben Jonson and the Masquing of Wales’, in Katie Gramich and Andrew Hiscock (eds.), Dangerous Diversity: The Changing Faces of Wales (Cardiff, 1998), pp. 37–63; Edward Roland Williams, ‘Cambriol: A Forgotten Colony’, in Some Studies of Elizabethan Wales (Newtown, 1924), pp. 154–63. 10  Arthur E. Hughes, ‘Shakespeare and his Welsh Characters’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1919): 189. 11  C. Adkins ‘Glendower and Fluellen; or, Where Are the Leeks of Yesterday?’ CCTE Studies (Conference of College Teachers of English Texas), 48 (1983): 101–8, 101. 12  Ibid., pp. 101–2.

Shakespeare and Wales


were thus two Glendowers in 1 Henry IV, the English Glendower and the Welsh Glendower. Hughes sees the tipping-point as coming after the Glendower-Hotspur sparring session, as a Welsh Glendower takes the stage, to replace the stereotype harvested from Hall and Holinshed (172). The need for a Welsh-speaking boy to play Catrin Glendower, Hughes argues, made Shakespeare rethink (173). Hughes concludes that ‘There were too many Welshmen in London to tolerate mock gibberish upon the stage in lieu of genuine Welsh, and we may safely assume that when these contemporaneous stage directions tell us that Glendower and his daughter spoke Welsh in these earliest representations of the play, it was a fact.’13 Add a Welsh motto on The Merchant of Venice Quarto of 1600 and a Welsh version of Troilus and Cressida in circulation at the time that may have been influenced by Shakespeare’s play and you have the sense of a pervasive Welsh matrix.14 In Shakespeare and the Welsh (1919), Frederick Harries’ opening gambit is impressive. He begins with a royal flourish: In 1896, as the first Chancellor of the University of Wales, King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, delivered an address which, affording, as it does, an excellent idea of the intellectual status of the Welsh in the Tudor period, and containing an interesting reference to the Welsh characters of Shakespeare, may usefully be quoted at some length.15

The short version of the Prince of Wales’ speech – rather than Harries’ full one – is this: ‘Shakespeare, with his intuitive perception of character, representing at this epoch three highly finished portraits of Welshmen, depicted them all – the soldier, the divine, and the feudal chieftain – as men of thought and learning.’16 In listing Fluellen, Evans and Glendower, the King forgets the King, or the Prince of Wales forgets the (other) Prince of Wales – leaving aside Glendower ‘s title, as Shakespeare does17 – for Henry V said twice in the play of that name that he himself was Welsh. As Megan Lloyd reminds us in her essay in this collection, in the very year that Prince Edward was extolling the virtues of Shakespeare’s Welshmen, William Archer was insisting the stage was ‘no place for the Elizabethan enthusiasm for Welsh gibberish’ and advising Beerbohm Tree to mutilate 3.1 of his I Henry IV. Harries maintains that the Welsh come out of Shakespeare quite well:


 Hughes, ‘Shakespeare and his Welsh Characters’: 176.   John S.P. Tatlock, ‘The Welsh Troilus and Cressida and its Relation to the Elizabethan Drama’, Modern Language Review, 10/3 (1915): 265–82. 15  Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh, p. 5. 16  Ibid., p. 65; emphasis in original. 17  R.R. Davies, ‘Shakespeare’s Glendower and Owain Glyn Dwr’, Historian (London), 66 (2000): 23. 14

Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics


Shakespeare’s Welshmen are all good men and true. Henry V (“Harry of Monmouth”) is “a mirror of all Christian kings”; Henry VII is “England’s hope”; Glendower is brave and affable and generous; Sir Hugh Evans is peaceful and pious; Fluellen is loyal and chivalrous; the Welsh captain is “trusty”; the supporters of Henry VI in the Principality are loyal and “loving”; Belarius claims that those who come from Cambria are “gentle” and honest.18

Positive as the general picture might appear, Prince Edward is just one of several critics who detect a decline in Shakespeare’s regard for the Welsh from Glendower through Fluellen to Parson Evans. For Joan Rees: ‘A possible deduction from this sequence is that whereas a formidable rebel is to be respected while he is still feared, a people defeated invite condescension and at best a patronizing acceptance: over time they deteriorate, in status and in character.’19 This line of argument overlooks a play that comes later in the sequence and arguably depicts Wales in a positive light, namely Cymbeline. The Welshness of Shakespeare goes beyond characters and settings. In a 1923 lecture, published posthumously in 1941, Sir D. Lleufer Thomas declared: ‘As Welsh people we may well be proud of the fact that there were Welshmen – men Welsh in blood and speech though their nationality may have been concealed under English names – who were among the earliest to proclaim their belief in the pre-eminence of the poet.’20 Thomas goes on to list the Welshmen involved in the First Folio, including ‘Hugh Holland of Denbeigh, author of the sonnet which follows Ben Jonson’s eulogy of Shakespeare prefixed to the First Folio’ (101), and ‘William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke, and Philip, Earl of Montgomery, to whom jointly the First Folio was dedicated’ (102). Thomas mentions some possible Welsh actors in Shakespeare’s company: Last on the list is John Rice, most probably, judging by his name, a Welshman – John Rhys, as we would now call him. There are two others with names that might be Welsh – Augustine Phillips and Robert Goughe. Phillips was at this period, and, of course, still is quite a common name in South Wales and on the border counties, especially Herefordshire, while Gough, as an anglicised form of the Welsh epithet Goch – the ruddy or red-headed – became a common surname in Glamorgan and Monmouthshire.21

Having established an intricate web of Welsh connections for the First Folio, Thomas observed with dismay that those links did not continue into the present.  Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh, p. 68.   Joan Rees, ‘Shakespeare’s Welshmen’, in Vincent Newey and Ann Thompson (eds.), Literature and Nationalism (Liverpool, 1991), p. 38. 20  D. Lleufer Thomas, ‘Welshmen and the First Folio of Shakespeare’s Plays (1623)’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, Session 1940 (1941): 101. 21  Ibid.: 102–3. 18 19

Shakespeare and Wales


‘There is, I believe, not a single perfect copy of the First Folio to be found anywhere in Wales, though I think there was at one time one at Merthyr Mawr – now, however, in New York…. The National Library has only the Second and Fourth Folios.’22 Pressing his patriotic plea, Thomas asked: Will not a few Welshmen come forward and raise between them an adequate fund to secure for a Welsh institution say for the National Library of Wales or Cardiff, unique or extremely rare copies of works of this description which are of supreme interest to Wales? Where is the patriotic benefactor who will help Wales fittingly to commemorate the Tercentenary by purchasing a First Folio for the National Library? He will be richly rewarded with the gratitude of all Shakespeare students in Wales.23

That such a thoroughly Welsh enterprise as the First Folio should be unavailable in the country’s national library was hard for Thomas to take. Not only was the First Folio a Welsh affair, but also Stratford itself boasted a thriving Welsh community. In an essay entitled ‘Welshmen in Shakespeare’s Stratford’ (1955), Gwyn Williams observed: ‘During the seventeenth century Welsh names became anglicized and the Welsh disappeared into the communities amongst which they had settled.’24 Some of the names Williams turns up are of considerable interest: ‘The name of William Fluellen we know from the recusancy report of 1592, where he is bracketed with John Shakespeare as a church-avoider for fear of process. The burial register tells that he was buried on 9 July 1595.’25 Williams speaks of the impression of ‘a considerable Welsh element in Stratford’s population which one cannot fail to get in going through these records.’26 Camille Adkins adds another familiar name to the mix. That recusancy report also featured a certain ‘George Bardolphe.’27 Wales and the New British History The new British history has much to learn from Welsh historians, for Wales has always had a role to play in the wider politics of these islands. The Wars of the Roses were Wars of the Leeks too. According to W. Garmon Jones: ‘Because Henry Tudor was a Welshman, relying on Welsh support, and because his cause in Wales elevated the struggle to a national issue, the main interest of the Wars 22

 Ibid.: 114.  Ibid. 24   Gwyn Williams, ‘Welshmen in Shakespeare’s Stratford’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, Session 1954 (1955): 31. 25  Ibid.: 58. 26  Ibid.: 59. 27  Adkins, ‘Glendower and Fluellen’: 106. 23

Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics


of the Roses, it seems to me, must be sought in Wales.’28 Wales was a blindspot for English historians in Jones’s day, as he demonstrates with reference to J.H. Wylie’s History of England under Henry the Fourth: A careful and competent English historian of the House of Lancaster has drawn a lurid picture of Wales in the fifteenth century; a “poor and barbarous land” with a “ragged and half-naked peasantry:” living in squalor on the outskirts of the English walled towns, disarmed and cowed under the shadow of the mighty castles of the conquerors. If such was the condition of the Welsh people, the part they played in the Wars of the Roses is, indeed, inexplicable. But the unanimous voice of contemporary literature tells another story.29

If we fast forward for a moment to 1985, we find Stephen Greenblatt saying that in Henry V: ‘Hal symbolically tames the last wild areas in the British Isles, areas that in the sixteenth century represented, far more powerfully than any New World people, the doomed outposts of a vanishing tribalism.’30 This is what Welsh historians – and Irish and Scottish historians – have been struggling against. Ironically, far from being the doomed outpost of a vanishing tribalism Wales was a touchstone for political and dynastic change. Henry Tudor wrote a letter to John ap Meredith, a relative and Welsh chieftain, implying that Wales could be a base from which to civilize England: and whereas it is soe, that through the helpe of Almighty God, the assistance of our loveing and true subjects, and the greate confidence that wee have to the nobles and commons of this our principalitie of Wales, we be entred into the same, purposing by the helpe above rehearsed, in all haste possible to descend into our realme of England, not only for the adoption of the Crowne, unto us of right appertaining, but also for the oppression of the odious tyrant Richard, late Duke of Gloucester, usurper of our said right; and moreover to reduce as well our said realme of England into its ancient estate, honour, and property, and prosperitie, as this our said principalitie of Wales, and the people of the same to their dear erst liberties, delivering them of such miserable servitude as they have piteously long stood in.31

Just as Spenser said in the View that it was just the other day since England grew civil, and that Ireland had letters before England, and that Irish poetry was well   W. Garmon Jones, ‘Welsh Nationalism and Henry Tudor’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1917–18): 1–2. 29  Ibid.: 2. 30   Stephen Greenblatt, ‘Invisible Bullets: Renaissance Authority and its Subversion, Henry IV and Henry V’, in Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield (eds.), Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism (Manchester, 1985), p. 42. 31   Quoted in Jones, ‘Welsh Nationalism and Henry Tudor’: 24–5. 28


Shakespeare and Wales

written and worthy of attention so Henry VII in his letter to his Welsh relative could see Wales as bringing civility to England. This is the story of Cymbeline. There is evidence that explains why Wales remained in the news in Shakespeare’s time and why it headlines at the top of the hour in 1 Henry IV. For his Cadiz expedition in 1596, Essex had Welsh officers raise and lead his forces.32 Robert Babcock reminds us how vital Wales was to the war in Ireland: The main ports of departure for service in Ireland were Bristol, Chester, and Milford, making the Welsh shires and their human and economic resources especially valuable, and making Welsh service and loyalty to the Crown essential. Between 1594 and 1602, some 2.9 percent of the population of Wales was called for service in Ireland.33

The Essex Rebellion of 1601 had a pronounced Welsh dimension, as did the Union.34 In this collection, through her reading of a letter written in February 1604 on the Union by a Caernarvonshire woman, Ann Wen Brynkir, Kate Chedgzoy reinforces the sense of a strong Welsh interest in Anglo-Scottish affairs. James compared Wales to Scotland on his succession. According to Garrett Sullivan: at the time of Cymbeline’s production the rhetoric of cultural unification was particularly resonant, suggesting as it did James’s cherished scheme of unifying the kingdoms. What has not been widely recognized is the significance of Wales to this scheme, a significance very clear to James himself. As James says to members of his first parliament, ‘Do you not gain from the union with Wales and is not Scotland greater than Wales?’ Thus Wales is both precursor to and model for a Scotland integrated into England.35

Beyond the Essex Rebellion, both the Bye Plot of 1603 and the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 had Welsh launch pads. Wales was at the centre of intrigue with the Bye Plot to kidnap James and ‘rescue’ the king from the Cecils.36 We know that the Gunpowder Plot was cooked up in Cambria: ‘To Spain, in June, [Hugh Owen] sent Guy Fawkes, an obscure swordsman of Stanley’s, who was soon to make a resounding name in history. Fawkes’s errand was to make one more attempt at persuading the Spanish King to send an army to Milford Haven.’37

32  A.H. Dodd, ‘North Wales in the Essex Revolt’, English Historical Review, 59.235 (1944): 359. 33  Babcock, ‘“For I Am Welsh, You Know”’, pp. 191–2. 34  Dodd, ‘Wales and the Scottish Succession’; ‘North Wales in the Essex Revolt’. 35   Garrett A. Sullivan, Jr, ‘Civilizing Wales: Cymbeline, Roads and the Landscapes of Early Modern Britain’, Early Modern Literary Studies 4/2 (1998): 3.16. 36  Dodd, ‘Wales and the Scottish Succession’: 214. 37  Ibid.: 217.

Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics


If it remained on the front page of history, Wales also remained centrestage in the drama of the period. Far from dropping out of sight in Shakespeare in a line of descent from Owen Glendower through Captain Fluellen to Parson Evans, Shakespeare did not welsh on the deal as far as national representation of England’s annexed appendage went, but used it as a key setting for Cymbeline, now regarded rightly as the Welsh play. Since it features a disaffected man from a famous family hiding out in a cave on a mountainous borderland, Cymbeline certainly has a certain resonance in our own time. Wales is integral to Cymbeline’s topicality precisely because Wales remained a powerbase for challengers to the crown. Wales has always had an ambiguous place within the British Empire – from Geoffrey of Monmouth and Gerald of Wales through to John Dee – and an edgy relationship with Shakespeare and early modern drama. The rise of the new British History, with its subsequent impact on literary studies, might have been expected to heighten critical interest in Wales: ‘It was Dee, it would appear, who coined the term British Empire – British in the sense of Brythonic.’38 Initially, at least, the effect seems to have been the reverse. With the arrival on the scene of David Beers Quinn and Nicholas Canny, Ireland won the field. Excellent histories of early modern Wales failed to attract the attention that Elizabethan Ireland enjoyed. Ireland still occupies the high ground of criticism on national identity in the early modern period, with questions of colonization and conquest explored through increasingly elaborate analyses. ‘Colonial Wales’, though it exists as an historical concept – and as a groundbreaking essay39 – has not crossed over into Renaissance literary studies to the same extent. However important to Shakespeare and the Elizabethans – for the Arthurian legends and the Tudor myth – Wales lacked a figure like Spenser as a focal point for colonial and later postcolonial criticism. Where Wales was mentioned at all, it was typically as a foil for Ireland – less rebellious, less challenging, less seductive, less interesting. While there have been notable exceptions in recent years, present-day Shakespeare criticism, and the new British History, still stand in need of a ‘Welsh correction.’ Perhaps the appearance of a collection entitled Postcolonial Wales will usher in a new era of criticism.40 Though The Tempest has been reclaimed as the ‘Irish Play’, and Macbeth remains the ‘Scottish Play’, there is more cause to see Shakespeare in a Welsh context than in any other national framework outside of England, especially in the wider context of developments in Welsh historiography and Welsh studies.

  John Davies, A History of Wales (Harmondsworth, 1990), p. 255.  R.R. Davies, ‘Colonial Wales’, Past and Present, 65 (1974): 3–23. 40   Jane Aaron and Chris Williams (eds.), Postcolonial Wales (Cardiff, 2005). 38


Shakespeare and Wales


Fluellenitis In the very year that Rees Davies published his ‘Colonial Wales’ (1974), arguably the most important essay-length contribution to medieval and early modern Welsh historiography, a goldmine for historically-minded literary critics, and a mustread for all early modernists, Richard Levin was parodying Fluellenism, a term he coined to cover the manner in which certain critics push connections to the limit, and to critique such overambitious and overblown associations. This ‘literary Fluellenism’ leads critics up garden paths and down primrose ones: ‘It is thus in the nature of things that the Fluellenist will never lack for material, which he can then manipulate by means of his trade secrets in order to prove whatever he wants. That is the great strength of his method and also its greatest weakness.’41 I fear I may be fluent in Fluellenism – and other contributors to this collection may be suffering from Fluellenitis: ‘When Fluellenism operates in the field of literature, the cause of the parallelism it discovers is not located in some mysterious “figures in all things” or providence … but in the conscious or unconscious mind of an author.’42 Attribution studies are one target-rich environment for Fluellenists according to Levin, but so too are one-to-one correspondences between characters and historical personages. But what Fluellen forgot, including Falstaff’s name, as with Falstaff forgetting Glendower in the earlier play, matters as much as what he remembers. Pointing up the parallels between Owen Glendower and Hugh O’Neill, Christopher Highley demonstrates that such far-fetched analogies, or Fluellenisms, much as they might amuse some critics, were quite common among Shakespeare’s contemporaries: Glendower is Tyrone’s main analogue in the play, but he is not the only character that the first audiences might have identified with the Irish “arch-traitor” (C.S.P. Ireland 1598–99 162). In the early seventeenth century, the attorney-general for Ireland, Sir John Davies, invoked Mortimer as an equivalent figure to Tyrone. Offering parallels to Tyrone from England’s own past, Davies observed that: “when England was full of tenants-at-will our barons were then like the mere Irish lords, and were able to raise armies against the crown; and as this man was O’Neal in Ulster, so the Earl of Warwick was O’Nevill in Yorkshire, and the Bishopric and Mortimer was the like in the Marches of Wales.”43

It is at least in part because of this tendency to think of Wales in analogical and contrapuntal terms that its profile in early modern drama is so high. 41  Richard Levin, ‘On Fluellen’s Figures, Christ Figures, and James Figures’, PMLA, 89 (1974): 303. 42  Ibid. 43  Christopher Highley, ‘Wales, Ireland, and 1 Henry IV’, Renaissance Drama, 21 (1990): 96.

Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics


Patricia Parker is a Fluellenist extraordinaire whose ingenious intertextual observations are as astonishing as they are erudite. She manages to convince readers that Shakespeare too was a Fluellenist. In fact, to paraphrase Roy Foster – and home in on a point made too by Philip Schwyzer in this collection when he says ‘We are all Welsh’ – we are all Fluellenists now.44 When it comes to Shakespeare and Wales, Fluellenism goes with the territory. According to Parker, Fluellen supplies a Welsh correction of greater magnitude than the leek. He shows that the ship of state is a leaky vessel. Levin’s caution begins to look like Samuel Johnson’s admonition of Shakespeare’s punning propensity, but with Shakespeare the play’s the thing and the game’s afoot from the word go. A Welsh Correction straight from Pandy I began with a trio of colonial Welshmen, and I want to end with arguably the most important modern Welsh critic, a founding figure in cultural studies. In his ‘Afterword’ to Political Shakespeare (1985), Raymond Williams addressed the issue of politicizing an author whose work attracts a body of criticism unparalleled in world literature: Recording a certain wariness, an unease, about the main title of this volume of essays, I found myself back in the North Wing of Cambridge University Library, in the autumn of 1939. I was there to pick up a couple of books on Shakespeare for an essay. My first impression of those hundreds of volumes, tightly stacked in what looked like an industrial warehouse, can be best understood if I add that this was the first time I had been in any library larger than a living room. Wandering in and out, trying to decipher […] the complicated system of classification, I came across a section which induced a kind of vertigo. I don’t, fortunately, remember all the actual titles, but a quick scan showed me Shakespeare as royalist, democrat, catholic, puritan, feudalist, progressive, humanist, racist, Englishman, homosexual, Marlowe, Bacon and so on round the bay. I flicked the pages of some of the more improbable ascriptions. The compounded smell of disuse and of evidence rose to my nostrils. I got out and went for a walk.45

Shakespeare criticism in the past was caught between excessively specialized studies of the sort derided by Williams, and all-encompassing theories like E.M.W. Tillyard’s Elizabethan World Picture (1943), an attempt to construct an inclusive historical context for Shakespeare’s age. In this chapter I have taken the reader on a guided tour of Shakespeare country west of the Wye. Williams’s Cambridge anecdote is interesting for a range of reasons, not least its date, for ‘the autumn of  Roy Foster, ‘“We are all revisionists now”’, Irish Review, 1 (1986): 1–5.   Raymond Williams, ‘Afterword’, in Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield (eds.), Political Shakespeare: Essays in Cultural Materialism (Manchester, 1985), p. 231. 44 45


Shakespeare and Wales

1939’ marked the outbreak of the Second World War, and the beginnings of a decline of empire that brought with it the kind of questioning of nation and monarchy we see in recent Shakespeare criticism. Those old chestnuts of ‘Shakespeare as royalist, democrat, catholic, puritan, feudalist, progressive, humanist, racist, Englishman, homosexual, Marlowe, Bacon’ and so on have been reheated, and other irons thrust into the fire. A wander round the bay and the bend shows just how far the improbable and the disused have become new orthodoxies. But there is another Cambridge memory dating from the same period that I want to finish on, a passage in which Williams links his Welsh provenance with a particular perspective on Shakespeare. In an essay on the ‘Importance of Community’ (1977), Williams recalls a lecture by L.C. Knights at Cambridge: He said that the word ‘neighbour’ in Shakespeare indicated something that no twentieth-century person can understand, because it signified a whole series of obligations and recognitions over and above the mere fact of physical proximity.46

While ‘F.R. Leavis was leaning against the wall nodding vigorously’, Williams, fresh from a rural Welsh environment with a strong sense of community, could not let Knight’s claim pass: Well, then I got up, straight from Pandy, so to say, and said I knew perfectly well what ‘neighbour’, in that full sense, means. That got hissed – it was a remark so against the common sense that here was something in literature which was not now socially available: the notion of that kind of recognition of certain kinds of mutual responsibility.47

Williams goes on to stress that he is not idealizing his home, merely pointing to a different cultural milieu: And from this sense there were acts of kindness beyond calculation, forms of mutual recognition even when they were wild misinterpretations of the world outside. My father had to go to the local pub to stop them taking up a collection for me when I won a scholarship to Cambridge.48

That pantomime ‘hiss’ or stage booing that Williams’s claim of community elicited sixty years ago can stand as an anecdotal shibboleth for the ways in which the claim of Shakespeare and the claim of Welshness are intimately bound together. By a curious coincidence, the village in Wales where Raymond Williams grew up, in 46  Raymond Williams, Who Speaks for Wales? Nation, Culture, Identity, ed. Daniel Williams (Cardiff, 2003), p. 179. 47  Ibid., p. 180. 48  Ibid.

Shakespeare, Wales and the Critics


the Border Country of Monmouthshire/Gwent which he writes about so elegantly in the novel of that name,49 carries with it another meaning that fits with Fluellen’s Welsh correction, for as the OED informs us, ‘pandy’ means ‘To strike or beat (a person, esp. a schoolchild) on the palm of the hand with a tawse, ruler, cane, etc., as a punishment’, from ‘post-classical Latin pande (in pande manum “stretch out your hand!”’. If this sounds like pandemonium, calling up demons from the deep, then perhaps that’s because Glendowerism, like Fluellenitis, is catching. To return, finally, to that rhetorical question in my epigraph, the fuller quotation from Harries reads: There remains the question, Did he ever travel in Wales? To which we may reply, Why not? Stratford is only fifty miles from the border of Monmouthshire, which in his days was reckoned part of Wales, and sixty from the Welsh border as we know it, while Herefordshire was but a day’s walk distant. Is it likely that an active boy, with the love of adventure and the insatiable curiosity of genius in his veins, had never gone so far afield?50

Perhaps between such speculation and the more carefully judged – indeed, beautifully judged – reflections of Raymond Williams there is not such a great distance after all, notwithstanding the latter’s resistance to the more far-fetched versions of Shakespeare. From Harries and Hughes to Hawkes, Highley and Hopkins, placing Shakespeare in a Welsh context has become an enterprise of recovery and reorientation, as well as discovery and disorientation. It is also a project that calls up monsters and memories. This collection, while it adds to ‘those hundreds of volumes’ that bewildered Williams on his arrival in Cambridge, also stands as a sounding from the vasty deep of an archive that is emotional and political as well as textual and historical.

 Raymond Williams, Border Country (Cardigan, 2006; first published 1960).  Harries, Shakespeare and the Welsh, p. 250.

49 50

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Chapter 12

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots Richard Wilson

‘He cut our roots in characters’ (Cymbeline, 4.2.51)

‘We have the man Shakespeare with us’: Lady Mary Herbert’s reported boast to her son William, third Earl of Pembroke, roots the dramatist firmly within the Welsh cultural politics that are the focus of this collection of essays. But it also grounds the radical correction they make to traditional criticism: that throughout his work Shakespeare identifies Wales not with the uprooted or dispossessed, dominated and despised by ‘English’ colonialism, but with the dominators and possessors, as itself the root of colonial power. For the proprietorial claim by the imperious sister of Sir Philip and daughter of Sir Henry Sidney, ‘greatest of the Presidents of Wales’, reminds us sharply how Shakespeare’s patronage relations – which would require the servile dedication of his published Works to ‘The Most Noble and Incomparable Brethren, William Earl of Pembroke, &c … and Philip, Earl of Montgomery, &c …’ – locked his career into the ‘British’ imperialism and unionism that were the heritage of this Welsh elite. The very idea of Shakespeare as ‘The Bard’ seats him symbolically, of course, among the beirdd cefn gwlad, poets patronized by the gentry to sing the Old Song of the Welsh. But the startling correction made by recent work on Shakespeare and Wales has been a realization not only of the prominence the plays give Anglo-Welsh relations, but also of how false the critical cliché of the subjugation of ‘Poor Taffy’ by the saesneg is made to look by the prosperity and power of this sixteenth-century ‘Wales of the squires, with the great house of Herbert rising newly minted from their ranks’.

   Samuel Schoenbaum, William Shakespeare: A Documentary Life (Oxford, 1975), p. 126; M.G. Brennan, ‘“We Have the Man Shakespeare With Us”: Wilton House and As You Like It’, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 80 (1986): 225–7.    ‘Greatest of the Presidents of Wales’ (Sir Henry Sidney): A.H. Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales (Cardiff, 1971), p. 25; Dedication to the 1623 Folio repr. in The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et al. (New York, 1997), p. 3348. All quotations from Shakespeare are from this edition.    Gwyn A. Williams, When Was Wales? (Harmondsworth, 1985), p. 115.


Shakespeare and Wales

In the Peasants’ Revolt of 1549, ‘a great number of the commons up about Salisbury in Wiltshire plucked down Sir William’s Herbert’s park about his new house’ at Wilton, the vast trophy-estate he had been awarded by his brother-in-law Henry VIII, resisting his rack-renting and enclosure. But this Tudor condottiere marched from Glamorgan with his Welsh ‘affinity’, and attacking his English tenants ‘did put them down, overrun and slay them’, as the boy king Edward VI recorded, as if they were foreign vermin, in a foretaste of the Highland Clearances ‘or even of the National Parks in America’. Then he turned his Welsh army on the Cornish Catholic ‘tag rag’ opposing the Protestant Prayer Book with a ferocity that ‘burned deep into the memory’ of a people ‘who lost everything they fought for, since by the end of the century the Cornish language was to be little more than a memory’. These were the achievements for which Herbert was made Earl of Pembroke, and of which Sidney was surely thinking when staying at Wilton a generation later he wrote the heartless story in Arcadia of the slaughter of the ‘mad multitude’ of ‘unruly clowns’ who rise against King Basilius. And when he bought his Blackfriars Gatehouse in London beside their Baynard Castle, Shakespeare would look out on the Herberts’ badge of a wyvern and javelins that commemorated their pig-sticking of the peasants. These brute facts about the savage foundation of the Herbert family fortunes need therefore to be remembered in any consideration of Shakespeare and Wales, since what they illustrate is the terrifying context of his own subordination to his Welsh patrons. For despite a post-colonial mythology of ‘English’ domination, such were in fact the origins of the ‘British’ empire during Shakespeare’s lifetime: appropriation, dispossession and indeed massacre – by the Welsh in their newly acquired territories. The Welsh correction in recent Shakespeare studies has involved a rediscovery of the expansionism of Tudor Wales. Thus Megan Lloyd’s Speak it in Welsh: Wales and the Welsh Language in Shakespeare complicates the ethnic stereotypes by examining how the plays are constructed out of ‘an amalgam of ethnicities, like the monarch for whom Shakespeare was writing’: Elizabeth I, a ‘red-haired queen with a Welsh nurse’, Blanche Parry, who spoke the language of her Tudor    John Paston, 25 May 1549, and the journal of Edward VI, quoted in Adam Nicolson, Earls of Paradise: England and the Dream of Perfection (London, 2007), p. 68; ‘National Parks in America’: ibid., pp. 68–9. As well as enclosing large tracts of the county, the Herberts increased rents ‘more than five-fold’ when they took over their Wiltshire estates: see Anthony Fletcher, Tudor Rebellions (Harlow, 1968), p. 65.    Julian Cornwall, Revolt of the Peasantry 1549 (London, 1977), p. 206. For Herbert’s campaign of terror in the West Country, see pp. 197–200; ‘tag rag’: p. 198.   Philip Sidney, The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, ed. Maurice Evans (Harmondsworth, 1977), pp. 380–1; for a commentary, see Stephen Greenblatt, ‘Murdering Peasants: Status, Genre, and The Representation of Rebellion’, in Stephen Greenblatt (ed.), Representing the English Renaissance (Berkeley, 1988), pp. 1–29, esp. pp. 15–19.    For the sinister class aggression of the Welsh wyvern and javelins, see Nicolson, Earls of Paradise, pp. 70–71.

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


forebears and raised Welsh to official status. And Philip Schwyzer’s revelatory Literature, Nationalism, and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales takes this overdue correction of anachronistic assumptions even further by reversing the expected hierarchy, and reminding us how the very idea of ‘Great Britain’ was invented by England’s Welsh and Scottish ruling families ‘largely without native English participation’. So this revision turns the tables on post-colonial criticism, to present us with a Shakespeare who is himself in a subaltern position, as the subject of ‘a Welsh reconquista’, and author of a series of plays in which ‘it is apparently the English who must relinquish their old identity and go by the name of Britons’.10 Thus, if this new ‘post post-colonial’ scholarship suggests his earliest admirers might well have meant it literally when they imagined the ‘Bard of Avon’ among the ‘harpers and crowthers’ of the Tudor eisteddfod, what the contributors to Shakespeare and Wales go on to question is the extent to which his plays are hostage to the messianic ‘British’ vision, and the degree to which his patronizing Welsh overlords were justified to imagine they had ‘the man Shakespeare’.11 In their tribute to ‘our singular good Lords’ the King’s Men John Heminge and Henry Condell cravenly likened the 1623 Folio to the ‘milk, cream, fruits’ and ‘leavened cake’ with which their underlings regaled the Herberts at Wilton, Cardiff Castle and the Welsh ‘capital’ Ludlow, where their father’s and grandfather’s courts were so imposing ‘a young man might learn there as much good behaviour and manners as should have stuck to him for ever’.12 That would be Milton’s route with Comus. And such was the scenario when, as ‘Lord President of the Dominion and Principality of Wales and the Marches’ – or ‘llygad hol Cymru: the eye of Wales’ – the second Earl launched a theatre company with a unionist agenda likely to appeal to the future James I, a venture Marlowe slyly betrayed with his effort however, by having his Earl of Pembroke fail to guard the favourite or save Edward II from Rice Ap Howell’s ‘Welsh hooks’.13 Shakespeare’s offering for Pembroke’s Men chimed more with the Herberts’ Roman ambitions. But the end-of-empire Titus Andronicus was hardly a fanfare for the imperium they projected onto the ‘darling of Wales’, the Pembrokeshire Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, in his Irish campaign.14 Essex    Megan Lloyd, ‘Speak It in Welsh’: Wales and the Welsh Language in Shakespeare (Lanham, MD, 2007), pp. 49 and 94.   Philip Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism, and Memory in Early Modern England and Wales (Cambridge, 2004), p. 25. 10  Ibid., pp. 24 and 43. 11   ‘Harpers and crowthers’: BL, Lansdowne MS. 111, fo. 10, quoted in Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, p. 13. 12   ‘A young man might have learned’: quoted in ibid., p. 52. 13   ‘Eye of all Wales’: Penry Williams, The Council in the Marches Under Elizabeth I (Cardiff, 1958), p. 276; Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, SD., scene 20, 45, in Christopher Marlowe: The Complete Plays, ed. Frank Romany and Robert Lindsey (London, 2003), p. 475. 14   ‘The darling of Wales’: Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, p. 81.

Shakespeare and Wales


would soon clash with the Herberts.15 So when Shakespeare was commissioned by the Earl’s Denbighshire agent Sir John Salusbury to pen an elegy after his rebellion, ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle’ was studiedly obscure.16 The poet was then shielded by the Monmouth-based Catholic Earl of Worcester.17 But by the time he welcomed the new Scottish monarch to Wilton in 1603, as the Countess preened, with an updated As You Like It heralding the union ‘When earthly things made even / Atone together’ (5.4.98), the theme of Shakespeare and Wales had emerged as a story of artful but persistent evasion of these ‘Great Britons’.18 Oscar Wilde thought the love-object of the Sonnets was a Welsh boy named Willy Hughes. But biographers prefer the feckless William Herbert – ‘colofn y deyrnas: the pillar of Wales’ – as the young ‘Mr WH’ to whom Shakespeare declared his love.19 If so, these poems, with their images of the Herberts’ Black Mountains remembered as a land of ‘heart-stopping beauty and unrelenting rain’, could stand not only for a bankrupt patronage relationship, but a lifetime of conflicted emotions about the mythology and magic of imperial Wales:20 Full many a glorious morning have I seen Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye, Kissing with golden face the meadows green, Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy; Anon permit the basest clouds to ride With ugly rack on his celestial face, And from the forlorn world his visage hide, Stealing unseen to west with his disgrace. (Sonnet 33)


  For the quarrel between Pembroke and Essex, which dated from 1595, see Williams, Council in the Marches, pp. 287–8. 16   For ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle’ and Sir John Salusbury of Lleweni in Denbighshire, see E.A.J. Honigmann, Shakespeare:Tthe ‘Lost Years’ (Manchester, 1985), pp. 91–113; for Sir John Salusbury and the Welsh politics of the Essex Revolt, see J.E. Neale, The Elizabethan House of Commons (London, 1949), pp. 111–28, esp. pp. 118–19; and Williams, Council in the Marches, pp. 289–97. See also Tom Lloyd-Roberts, ‘Bard of Lleweni? Shakespeare’s Welsh Connection’, The New Welsh Review, 6:3 (1993–4), 11–18. 17   For Shakespeare, ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle’ and the Earl of Worcester in the aftermath of the Essex Revolt, see John Finnis and Patrick Martin, ‘Another turn for the Turtle: Shakespeare’s intercession for Love’s Martyr’, Times Literary Supplement, 18 April 2003, pp. 12–14. 18   For the theory that Shakespeare revised As You Like It for a 1603 performance at Wilton House, see Nicolson, Earls of Paradise, pp. 144–9. 19   ‘The pillar of the Welsh realm’: Emyr Humphreys, The Taliesin Tradition (London, 1983), p. 53. For William Herbert as the most plausible ‘Mr W.H.’ see Katherine DuncanJones, ‘Introduction’. The Arden Shakespeare: The Sonnets (London, 1997), pp. 55–69. 20   ‘Heart-stopping beauty and unrelenting rain’: Nicolson, Earls of Paradise, p. 51.

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


‘Where is princely Richmond now? / At Pembroke, or at Ha’rfordwest in Wales’: the first mention in Richard III of the myth of Tudor ‘Britain’ marshals a roster of those of ‘great name and worth’ who beached with ‘the Welshman’ Harri Tudur on his ‘glorious morning’ at Milford Haven, which doubles a century later as a homage to Shakespeare’s own network of sponsors: ‘Sir Walter Herbert, a renownèd soldier, / Sir George Talbot, Sir William Stanley, / Oxford, redoubted Pembroke, Sir James Blunt, / And Rhys-ap-Thomas with a valiant crew … And towards London do they bend their power’ (4.4.407; 4.5.6–14). Among those who came from Cheshire under Stanley, if his father’s application for arms is trusted, was Shakespeare’s great-grandfather. So, although Richard III may have been toured by Pembroke’s Men, it also exaggerated the role of the Stanleys at Bosworth to flatter these Earls of Derby, the ‘Kings of Man’ who were both the dynasty and dramatist’s backers. With Stanleys to the north, Talbots in the Marches, Rhys-apThomas west, and Herberts south, the last successful invasion of England, this list proclaims, will be a Welsh pushover. Such landowners, ‘clustering thick along the critical Irish road … were some of the richest in contemporary Europe’, and in the new Atlantic economy they ‘moved resolutely into every conceivable avenue of advancement, from the Court to smuggling and piracy’.21 But the fact that an identical roll-call of Marcher Lords and Welsh gentry would so soon after head up Essex’s revolt explains why forging an Atlantic or ‘British’ identity became ever more problematic for Shakespeare as the Tudor century ended with ‘the Mayor and all his brethren’ staring anxiously westwards from ‘the peaceful city’ at the ‘General of our gracious Empress … from Ireland coming’, as the Earl rallied his ‘valiant crew’ and ‘set on’ implacably ‘to London’ (Henry V, 5.0.14–33). In his study of ‘The Question of Britain,’ Between Nations, David Baker reads this famously backhanded compliment as a plea to ‘conqu’ring Caesar’ to save ‘Englishness’ from ‘barbaric Gaels’.22 What the essays in this book instead suggest, however, is that flanked by his ‘boisterous Welsh henchmen’, the Earl is actually here being identified with the Roman dictator crossing the Rubicon with his army of Gauls, the Celtic mercenaries of a new Atlantic ‘Britain’ at odds with a pacifist City that still traded with Europe and the East.23 This ominous return from Ireland seems uncannily prophetic of Cromwell’s (whose actual name was that of his Glamorgan great-grandfather, Morgan Williams). In fact, historians describe Essex and his Welsh ‘band of brothers’ as premature Jacobeans.24 And with James in the   Williams, When Was Wales?, p. 122.  David Baker, Between Nations: Shakespeare, Spenser, Marvell, and the Question of Britain (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997), p. 28. 23   ‘Boisterous Welsh henchmen’: ibid., p. 54. For the Elizabethan City of London’s traditional East-bound trading priorities, and their conflict with an emerging Atlantic economy, see Robert Brenner, Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London’s Overseas Trade, 1550–1653 (Cambridge, 1993). 24   ‘Band of brothers’: Neale, Elizabethan House of Commons, p. 120; ‘premature Jacobeans’: Mervyn James, ‘At the Crossroads of the Political Culture: The Essex Revolt, 21 22


Shakespeare and Wales

wings Shakespeare evidently sensed how easily England’s unofficial Elizabethan republic would fall prey to the personal rule of an archipelagic monarchy like that of the king’s Danish in-laws, as imaged in Hamlet.25 For the future did belong to a North Atlantic ‘British’ confederation stretching from the American colonies to Hanover. Schwyzer therefore echoes Derrida in proposing that one way in which Shakespeare joins the bards is in his spooky awareness of the ways in which the present is ghosted by ‘what is past and what is yet to come (or come back)’.26 The legend that America had in truth been named after its Welsh discoverer apMeurigapMeuryk-Ameriks might sound far-fetched; and the Welsh colony of Cambriol in Newfoundland doomed; but ‘Welsh intellectuals concentrated in force behind … naval growth, American colonization, and empire’.27 So in Henry V the conqueror who will some day emerge out of the Irish Sea, like another Tudor, has a future on his side that explains why, despite English humour and modern prejudice, it is the Celts in this drama, as in Richard III, who do all the uprooting and have the last laugh: Remember whom you are to cope withal: A sort of vagabonds, rascals and runaways, A scum of Britons and base lackey peasants, Whom their o’ercloyèd country vomits forth To desperate ventures and assured destruction, You sleeping safe, they bring to you unrest; You having lands and blessed with beauteous wives, They would distrain the one, distain the other … If we be conquered, let men conquer us, And not these bastard Britons, whom in our fathers Have in their own land beaten, bobbed, and thumped. (Richard III, 5.6.45–63)

‘When the bull comes from the far land … To be an earl again in the land of Llewelyn, / Let the far-splitting spear shed the blood of the Saxon’: the problem for sceptics of the myth of the once and future ‘British’ empire, like Polydore Vergil, was that Druidic war-cries about ‘The Bull of Anglesey’ avenging Saxon

1601’, in Society, Politics and Culture: Studies in Early Modern England (Cambridge, 1986), p. 426. 25   See Andrew Hadfield, Shakespeare and Republicanism (Cambridge, 2005), esp. ch. 6, ‘The radical Hamlet’. 26   Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism, and Memory, p. 135, n. 15; Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf (London, 1994), esp. p. 25. 27   Williams, When Was Wales?, pp. 115 and 123.

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


oppression all came true.28 Schwyzer prefers to think the genocidal thirst for blood running over Charing Cross that was tied to Tudor claims to be tools of ‘British’ ethnic cleansing, as foretold by Merlin or Geoffrey of Monmouth, was never serious.29 But born in Pembroke and exiled to Brittany, with his Welsh accent Henry VII was a true son of Owain Glyn Dŵr, and may well have mistaken Winchester for Camelot. For the banner he flew at Bosworth and St Paul’s was indeed the Red Dragon of Cadwaladr, and the son he sent as Prince of Wales to Ludlow, which killed him, was Arthur. So, if this bloodlust was play-acting, as Welsh historian Gwyn Williams quipped, ‘it worked. England opened up like the rose it now bore as its badge, and the Welsh poured in.’30 And as John Kerrigan has demonstrated with Archipelagic English, such symbols mattered when triangulating the new conglomerate of ‘Great Britain’.31 The Cecils do seem sincere, therefore, in regretting having altered their name from Sitsilt, ‘that house of Wales’ which came from Herefordshire with the Tudors; for as Williams observed, if the Welsh were junior partners in the new amalgamated state, as ‘the old inhabiters of the isle of Britanny’ they were the seniors in ‘the bureaucracy of colonialism’, and in fabricating the ‘imperial British identity by which the state lived’.32 ‘Why, this is lunatics! This is mad as a mad dog!’: a pun given to his Welsh parson Sir Hugh Evans in The Merry Wives of Windsor (4.2.124) hints how Shakespeare regarded the fantasy that it was Welshmen under Prince Madog who first colonized the New World.33 But it was John Dee, the fabricator of this ‘mad’ Atlantis, who conjured the term ‘British Empire’, Richard Hakluyt who charted its voyages, Inigo Jones who Romanized its style, and Elizabeth Tudor who   J.F. Rees, Studies in Welsh History (Cardiff, 1965), pp. 30–31; W. Garmon Jones, ‘Welsh Nationalism and Henry Tudor’, Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (1917–18): 1–59; ‘The Bull of Anglesey’: Alison Plowden, The House of Tudor (London, 1976), p. 1. 29   Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism, and Memory, pp. 20 and 30. 30   Williams, When Was Wales?, p. 117. 31   John Kerrigan, Archipelagic English: Literature, History, Politics, 1603–1707 (Oxford, 2008). And see Marcus Merriman, The Rough Wooings: Mary Queen of Scots, 1542–1551 (East Linton, 2005), p. 42: ‘Henry VIII, unsurprisingly, also believed the Brut story. When Polydore Vergil in 1513, on completion of the manuscript of his History of England, first requested the honour of dedicating it to him, the king robustly refused.’ 32  Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter, letter to Thomas Allington, 13 November 1605, BM Harleian MSS 324, fols 32–32b: ‘My lord, my father [Lord Burghley], alterying the writing of his name maketh many that are not well affectyd to our house, to dowbt whyther we rightly discended of that howse of Wales, because they wryte their names Sitsilt and our name is wrytten Cecyll. My grandfather write it Syssell, and so I mervayle what moved my lord, my father, to alter it’. But when Robert Cecil was offered a family tree by his Welsh genealogist, he replied testily: ‘I desire none of these vain toys, nor to hear of such absurdities’: quoted in Baker, Between Nations, p. 54. ‘Old inhabiters’: quoted in Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, p. 76; Williams, When Was Wales?, pp. 115 and 123. 33   See Lloyd, ‘Speak It in Welsh’, p. 78. 28

Shakespeare and Wales


personified its power. More to the point, it was lawyers such as the Cecils who ran the administration, and merchants like the Middletons who reoriented the economy towards the colonies. It was also Sir Thomas Middleton, the Montgomeryshire patron of his namesake the playwright, who funded the 1630 Beibl bach, that by putting ‘the Scriptures into the hands of the people, was perhaps the greatest single factor’ in preserving Welsh.34 Yet Sir Thomas is satirized by his protegé as Sir Walter Whorehound, the tycoon who brings his Welsh-speaking whore to London in A Chaste Maid in Cheapside: a play interpreted by Lloyd as a classic of the Anglocentric genre by which Welsh speakers ‘must be comical and under English control, entertaining yet harmless’.35 Happy to script Sir Thomas’s evangelical Lord Mayor’s Show, Middleton clearly resented domineering Welsh father-figures. This fraught Oedipal struggle of the Welsh Dispersion can therefore highlight the surprise of the present collection, which is Shakespeare’s imaginative empathy with the Welsh men and women he consistently presents as perhaps ‘the dominators among the dominated’ (in Pierre Bourdieu’s acute phrase), but all the same the dominators.36 In fact, ‘the question of Wales’ Shakespeare poses again and again is, Who is the dominated and who the dominator? – FLUELLEN: I peseech you heartily, scurvy lousy knave, at my desires and my requests and my petitions, to eat, look you, this leek. Because, look you, you do not love it, nor your affections and your appetites and your digestions does not agree with it, I would desire you to eat it. PISTOL: Not for Cadwallader and all his goats. FLUELLEN: There is one goat for you. [He strikes Pistol]. (Henry V, 5.1.20–26)

Captain Fluellen’s force-feeding of the leek to the abject Pistol symbolically enacts the dialectic of Anglo-Welsh exchanges in the Tudor period, and illustrates the inappositeness of a zero-sum critique on the post-colonial model of the subaltern or minority culture reduced to silence by a dominant power. That was the analysis prevailing until recently, however, fronted by Stephen Greenblatt’s compelling view of the Histories as variations on the Conquistadors’ precept that ‘Language is the instrument of empire’. ‘By yoking together diverse peoples’ into ‘The King’s English’, the New Historicist indictment ran, Shakespeare’s Henry V ‘tames the last wild areas in the British Isles … doomed outposts of a vanishing tribalism’.37 This darkly Foucauldian account might apply to the Northumberland of Hotspur, whose ‘speaking thick’ in the Geordie accent even his mother calls ‘his blemish’ (2 Henry IV, 2.3.24–5). But fortified by R.R. Davies’ nationalist essay ‘Colonial  Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, p. 46.  Lloyd, ‘Speak It in Welsh’, p. 149. 36  Pierre Bourdieu, ‘Field of Power, Literary Field and Habitus’, trans. Claud DuVerlie, in The Field of Cultural Production, ed. Randall Johnson (Cambridge, 1993), p. 164. 37   Stephen Greenblatt, ‘Invisible Bullets’, in Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England (Berkeley, 1988), p. 56. 34 35

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


Wales’, the approach was applied to the Welsh in a prize Cultural Materialist article by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield. There the very visibility of Wales in the Histories was itself discounted as the paradoxical signifier of a pure ‘aesthetic colonization’. Compared to the Ireland of the ‘shag-hair’d crafty kern’ (2 Henry VI, 3.1.367), ‘Wales must have seemed the most tractable issue’, the contrarian reasoning went, ‘for it had been annexed in 1536, and the English … legal system imposed … permit[ing] only English speakers to hold office’, in ‘an effortless incorporation’ that the Shakespearean text callously perpetuates, since ever after ‘jokes about the way Fluellen pronounces the English language have … been an adequate way of handling the repression of Welsh language and culture’.38 The subaltern theory of Celtic repression in the Henriad would be a test-case for post-colonial Shakespeare criticism. Dollimore and Sinfield had difficulty explaining the irruption of Essex into Henry V, however, because they could never imagine the ‘internal colonialism’ of the Acts of Union to be multi-directional, nor that when it came to ‘the greatest upheaval in the land market Britain had yet seen’ the Welsh might themselves have been among the ‘alien intruders’.39 The same blind-spot about ‘British’ colonialism blurs Willy Maley’s influential polemic ‘This sceptered isle’, which also underestimates how much Essex’s ‘Roman’ triumph terrorizes the peace-loving Londoners. Maley is hard on the English for eliding England with ‘Britain’; but he effaces precisely what Shakespeare stresses, namely the investment of the Welsh in getting the English to swallow their ‘British’ roots, or leeks.40 Wales is neither a Tibet nor a Peru. So such off-loading of responsibility belongs with a victim mentality or grievance culture which came to seem like bad faith in the triumphal days of the ‘Celtic Tigers’. As T.M. Devine complained in Scotland’s Empire, ‘Modern Ireland tends to suffer from acute historical amnesia when the role of the Irish in the British Empire is considered. Yet the Irish of all descriptions entered enthusiastically into the business.’ And likewise: ‘So intense was Scottish engagement with empire that it affected almost every nook and cranny of Scottish life.’41 ‘From the Marches to the Assembly’: the subtitle of this volume confidently announces why it is now so timely for a similarly impartial ‘truth commission’ about Shakespeare and Wales. Even nationalists now acknowledge that the ‘tribalism’ which Henry VIII’s Acts of Union suppressed was in reality feudal bondage, since prior to unification ‘the Welsh were second-class citizens … not allowed to live in towns, trade, 38   Alan Sinfield, Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading (Oxford, 1992), p. 125. 39   ‘Alien intruders’: Dodd, Studies in Stuart Wales, p. 76; Williams, When Was Wales?, p. 122. 40   Willy Maley, ‘“This Sceptred Isle”: Shakespeare and the British Problem’, in John Joughin (ed.), Shakespeare and National Culture (Manchester, 1997), pp. 83–108, esp. pp. 100–101. 41  T.M. Devine, Scotland’s Empire and the Shaping of the Americas, 1600–1815 (Washington, 2003), p. xxvii.


Shakespeare and Wales

carry arms, or marry the English’. Thus, far from Wales being reduced to an ‘internal colony’, this revisionism goes, unification freed the Welsh from ‘a status equivalent to apartheid or the condition of the Palestinians’, for it was the united kingdom that ‘gave the Welsh equality with the English not only in England, but also in Wales’.42 Thus, it was the Marcher unionist Arthur Kelton who concocted the farrago of Tudor descent from the Trojan Brutus (and Osiris), Clifford Davies points out, for ‘Only in Wales was anything made’ of the fact that Elizabeth’s name was ‘Tyder’ (or strictly speaking, Meredith). This ‘“British” propaganda had little resonance’, Davies notices, outside of Wales.43 So the problem for postcolonial critics who see Shakespeare’s Welsh characters as ‘unruly subjects’, an ‘“external” enemy’ of ‘Britain’ that has to be suppressed, is not only that, as Baker objects, they implicitly endorse an Anglocentric telos, investing the text with a ‘subordinating power to which they think it must aspire’, but also that they are so out of sync with Welsh historians who contend that, far from Wales being downtrodden, in these decades ‘British imperial energy … was Welsh Britain transfigured’. A sentimentalism based on later Celtic ressentiment looks perverse when set against evidence that a union that ‘went through in jubilation’ ushered in ‘a kind of golden age for Wales’, an institutional ‘Paradise’ in which the Welsh ‘peopled the Inns of Court and colonized the law’, as ‘The Welsh language surged forward into long-lost districts.’ And the notion that thanks in part to Shakespeare ‘Wales was silently absorbed into Greater England’ defies the reality that ‘An integrated Britain becomes visible first in the migration of the Welsh to the centre of power’, as Williams observed, and that it was Cymrophile sentiments about the ‘Worthiness’ and centrality of Wales which were those ‘echoed by Shakespeare’: From this period dates Shakespeare’s sympathetic image of the Welshman – garrulous, comic, but brave, honourable and congenial; Pistol, after all, eats the leek … From the middle of the fifteenth century nothing could stop the Welsh, particularly those who had taken the winning side.44

42   ‘Internal colony’: John Davies, A History of Wales (Harmondsworth, 1990), p. 225; ‘Freed the Welsh from bondage’: John Owen, ‘Tudors’, Times Literary Supplement, 11 July 2008, p. 6. 43  Clifford Davies, ‘A rose by another name’, Times Literary Supplement, 13 June 2008, pp. 14–15; ‘Her Majesty whose name is Tyder’: George Owen of Henllys, Description of Pembrokeshire (London: 1603), quoted in ibid., p. 15. 44   ‘Unruly subjects … “external” enemy … Wales silently absorbed’: Maley, ‘“This Sceptred Isle”’, pp. 99 and 104; ‘the subordinating power’: Baker, Between Nations, p. 22; ‘British imperial energy… was Welsh’ etc.: Williams, When Was Wales?, pp. 114–15, 121, 124–5, 127. See also Joan Fitzpatrick, Shakespeare, Spenser and the contours of Britain: Reshaping the Atlantic Archipelago (Hatfield: Univeristy of Hertfordshire Press, 2004), pp. 120–37.

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


The self-pity for Wales as ‘England’s first colony’ is a prime example of what Jeremy Black calls ‘The Curse of History’: the maudlin obsession with ‘the ancient wrong’ whereby a group’s identifying characteristic is its victim’s curse, and the emphasis is on ‘the endless ill’ of the original sin, rather than hope of reconciliation.45 But this myth is contradicted by a real colonization that was indeed ‘spectacularly successful’: Welsh occupation of Tudor England. For ‘the century ending as Shakespeare wrote … had seen a wave of emigration from Wales into England’, Williams reminds us, as the Welsh, ‘especially Welsh gentry, settled all over the island’, and ‘a large contingent lighted in the capital’ making it the largest Welsh city.46 A parallel, at which Shakespeare glanced in Love’s Labour’s Lost, was the takeover of Paris by similarly pushy Protestants, the Basque carpetbaggers of another Henry, the King of Navarre. If there were fears about Tudor empire-building, it came from English towns like Worcester, according to Penry Williams, which lost their liberties to the Council in Wales.47 And it was the ‘Welsh colonization of English professions’ that Shakespeare registered, with characters who represent a cross-section of the Tudor regime: an army captain, a schoolmaster parson, the ex-courtiers Glyn Dwr and Belarius, and a line of kings from Henry VIII and his father back as far as Cymbeline, and including a Henry V whose claim, ‘I am a Welshman’ (Henry V, 4.1.51), when Pistol assumes his accent is Cornish, emphatically endows ‘Harry Monmouth’ (2 Henry IV, Ind. 29) with a Welsh blood, as Schwyzer notices, that only entered the royal line when his widow Katherine of France married Owain Tudur.48 Like the Cecils, Shakespeare’s governing elite is avid for the Romanitas of Welsh links, and Anne Boleyn, who smiles at an ‘emballing’ for Caernarvonshire, is happy to sleep with Henry VIII to be ‘Marchioness of Pembroke’ (Henry VIII, 2.3.47–63). So the correction in twenty-first century studies of Shakespeare and Wales has been a move away from the reductionism of ‘The Curse of History’ to the recognition that if there is domination of Welsh or English in these plays, it is the English who   Jeremy Black, The Curse of History (London, 2008); ‘the ancient wrong … the endless ill’: ‘The Shropshire Lad: XXVIII: The Welsh Marches’, in A.E. Housman, The Collected Poems of A.E. Housman (London, 1939), pp. 44–5: The sound of fight is silent long That began the ancient wrong; Long the voice of tears is still That wept of old the endless ill. In my heart it has not died, The war that swept the Severn side; They cease not fighting, east and west, On the marches of my breast. 46  Baker, Between Nations, pp. 52–4. 47   Williams, Council in the Marches, pp. 197–204. 48   ‘Welsh colonization’: Williams, When Was Wales?, p. 122; Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism and Memory, p. 127. 45

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are the ones anxious about being dominated. And nobody has made this ‘post postcolonial’ turn more pressing than Terence Hawkes, the inventor of ‘Presentist’ criticism and Wales’s foremost Shakespearean. ‘What must surely now be sensed, in our post-devolution present, is that Welshness and its concerns throbs with a … powerful, if occluded, pulse in the vasty deep of these plays’, and ‘its muffled beat invades and disrupts the steps by which they march’: Hawkes’ Derridean agenda, he states in Shakespeare in the Present, has been to deconstruct the plays to show that ‘There never was a static, unified clearly defined England, absolutely distinct and separable from a static, unified and clearly defined Wales’.49 His invocation of Glyn Dwr’s portentous line about ‘spirits from the vasty deep’ (1 Henry IV, 3.1.51) reveals, however, how hard it has been to reverse a dominant English ideology without falling into an equally essentialist Welsh Anglophobia ghosted by racists such as Saunders Lewis. The precariousness of the balance is on display in Hawkes’ intimidating essay ‘Bryn Glas’, which concerns the ‘Blue Hill’ on the border of A.E. Housman’s elegized England, where the Shropshire lads in their hundreds were butchered by Glyn Dŵr’s forces in June 1402, and as squeamishly reported early in 1 Henry IV, suffered in death ‘Such beastly shamelessness’ from ‘those Welshwomen … as may not be / Without much shame retold’ (1.1.42–6). The contributors to this book also revisit this primal scene of Celtic revanchism, echoing Schwyzer’s disquiet at the ‘terrifying ethnic chauvinism’ but treating the text’s euphemizing of the Welsh Bacchae as a neutralizing of racist paranoia.50 For Hawkes, however, Shakespeare’s circumlocution about those ‘cut roots’ – when the boys had their genitals stuffed in their mouths and their noses up their anuses – is itself a weakness. The castration of English men at the hands of Welsh women thus provides a pretext for outing Shakespeare as an effete Londoner, ‘promoted in a context of institutionalised homosexuality’ as part of the Empire’s cult of manliness, whose ‘conquering Englishness’ wilts from its own ‘effeminacy’, as flaunted by a decadent Falstaff, or enacted in the Bard’s sexual relations with his Welsh ‘Willy’. This Queer take on the Henriad may have been cued by My Own Private Idaho, a film that made Hal a rent boy. But what makes Hawkes’ deconstruction so disturbing is how a response to ‘an English nationalism once more anxious to impose itself’ apparently involves such relish for a literal dismembering, for ‘the appalling sound of blades being whetted on the stones of Bryn Glas’: The importance of the events derives not only from … a decisive and brutal battle in which a large number of English were slaughtered by the Welsh … Bryn Glas  Terence Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’, in Shakespeare in the Present (London, 2002), p. 44. 50   Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism and Memory, p. 24. Cf. Baker, Between Nations, pp. 51–2: ‘The castrating Welshwomen are twice removed and doubly mediated … We hear only Westmorland’s report of them … The menace of Wales is well buried in the Henriad.’ 49

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


and its consequences release that most disturbing of spectres: a militant feminine and feminising force, with a bloody knife in its hand, an incomprehensible tongue in its head, and with English manhood, the English language and (on both counts) English reality in its sights.51

To quote Holofernes – who may have the head of Shakespeare’s own Welsh teacher – ‘This is not generous, not gentle’ (Love’s, 5.2.617). For the ‘blue remembered hills’ in this account are not Housman’s homoerotic ‘land of lost content’, but a wasteland haunted by the ‘unappeased spectre of a subverting, transforming, and unmanning Wales’, an ‘importunate ghost’ that, as Gower warns of Fluellen, remains capable of mutilating their manhood if the English get too close: ‘You thought because he could not speak English in the native garb he could not therefore handle an English cudgel. You’ll find it otherwise’ (Henry V, 5.1.67). ‘We do. We will,’ nods Hawkes, ironizing Housman’s line about the Welsh ‘air that kills’.52 And the threat of a mugging is of a piece with the bullying essentialism the argument shares with Braveheart and other films of the Celtic Revenge, in a formula that equates Englishness with homosexuality and effeminacy and relies on the unexamined chiasmus that the only permitted targets of unthinking homophobia are now English, and of socially accepted racism, gays.53 Hawkes’ commendable plan to disrupt the sexual differences on which English domination is supposed to rest thus collapses into mere inversion, where Aberdaugleddyf – the Welsh name for Milford Haven – figures the openness of the Bard’s back passage to Celtic penetration, the ‘oscillation between coming in and going out, ingestion and excretion, penetration and ejaculation’, through which Shakespeare gets his come-uppance.54 No one, surely, has ever written with cruder disrespect about the cultural policeman Hawkes calls ‘The Old Bill’. But in this ‘story of willies’ the Bard’s Welsh title is the ‘cudgel’ with which to beat him, since the aggression of this Welsh iconoclasm springs from sour resentment that ‘one of the main agencies promoting [a] barren, emptied Welsh culture may be the promotion, through and on behalf of a militant English-speaking world order, of the plays of Shakespeare’.55 And for all the virtuosity with which Hawkes riffs on themes of borders, colonialism, language, sexuality and roots that are also the topics of this collection, it is this dead-end in post-colonial Celticity which the contributors to Shakespeare and Wales are determined to escape. 51

 Hawkes, ‘Bryn Glas’, pp. 33–4.  Housman, ‘A Shropshire Lad: XL: Into my heart an air that kills’, in Collected Poems, p. 58. 53  Thus Hawkes describes Jean Genet as a ‘homosexual and transvestite’ (‘Bryn Glas’, p. 24), whereas the crew-cut writer, who never dressed in drag, was so obsessed by his macho image that he destroyed a photograph showing him with hair as long as Rimbaud’s: Edmund White, Genet (London, 1993), pp. 241 and 367. 54  Terence Hawkes, ‘Aberdaugleddyf’, in Shakespeare in the Present, p. 52. 55  Ibid., p. 63. 52

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From a post-devolution Welsh perspective, according to Hawkes, a Shakespeare play is itself ‘the ailment’ it ‘helps us to diagnose’, so culpably is the text to be associated with the Anglo-Saxon imperium that culminates in the Pax Americana.56 But the essays in the present volume start from the opposite assumption, that Shakespeare’s plays themselves offer the best deconstruction of the ‘British’ World Order that they have been made to legitimate. Proof that this dramatist was committed to deconstructing the gendered dichotomies of English law and Welsh lore, or Anglo-Saxon masculinity and Celtic mystery, comes indeed in another ‘story of willies’ that meditates explicitly on ‘British Empire’ as a specifically Welsh construction, and then advertises its mischief towards any such ‘Roman Britain’.57 The interlude in The Merry Wives where young William Page is examined in uncontrollably obscene Latin by the Welsh parson Evans was probably added to the text after the clown Robert Armin (who specialized in Celtic cameos like the Welsh Knight in his hit Two Maids of Moreclack) joined the company in 1599.58 It was Armin who was given Shakespeare’s only mention of Merlin, when as Lear’s Fool in a play that sends ‘British’ politics ‘cackling home to Camelot’ (King Lear, 2.2.76) he predicted that if the prophecies of King Arthur’s wizard come true ‘Then shall the realm of Albion / Come to great confusion’ (3.2.89–90). And it is a state of ‘great confusion’ to which Sir Hugh reduces the ‘realm of Albion’ when he struggles to impose his ‘British’ imperialism on Shakespeare’s Willy. ‘God defend me from that Welsh fairy’, cries Falstaff in The Merry Wives, but the fat knight is overpowered in the end by Sir Hugh’s Welsh magic: ‘Well, you have the start of me. I am dejected. I am not able to answer the Welsh flannel.’ A schoolmaster who ‘makes fritters of English’ has the last word in Shakespeare’s Windsor, as the citizens wend home to ‘laugh this sport o’er by a country fire’ (5.5.78; 136; 150; 219). Yet this tolerant merriment concludes a plot that always threatens to bring racial and religious tensions between migrants and locals in the Berkshire town to a bloody climax. And the play-within-the-play on educating William in his Latin roots has enough of that latent aggression to read like a resume of its dramatist’s own resentment of Stratford Grammar School, and so as a reflexive commentary on his early exposure to ‘British’ Romanitas. A vagrant ‘O’, ‘nothing’ or zero between acts, this ‘naughty’ truancy from a farce that reveals ‘the multiple forms violence can take’ deserves, then, to be considered as a confession of its author’s sabotage of the Tudor ideology of a master race or tongue, and a paradigm of his refractoriness towards his patrons, those Welsh powers who 56

 Ibid.  But for a brilliant account of Keynes’s Shakespearean allusions in his theory of the dichotomy between Anglo-Saxon logic and Celtic magic in The Economic Consequences of the Peace, where Lloyd George is depicted as a ‘Welsh witch’ seducing the Presbyterian Woodrow Wilson, see Martin Harries, Scare Quotes from Shakespeare: Marx, Keynes, and the Language of Reenchantment (Stanford, 2000), pp. 132–50, esp. p. 148. 58  Charles Fever, Robert Armin: Shakespeare’s Fool: A Biographical Essay (Kent, Ohio, 1961), pp. 16–17 and 49. 57

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


dominated him with their ‘Roman’ peace and patrimony.59 For though Shallow recalls playing ‘Sir Dragonet in Arthur’s show’ at Mile-End (2 Henry IV, 3.2.257); and Mistress Quickly is sure Falstaff expires ‘in Arthur’s bosom’ (Henry V, 2.3.9); the one and only time Shakespeare ever sang of King Arthur, this scene reminds us, the ballad of the Round Table had the knight urinating and reaching for his chamber pot: ‘“When Arthur first in court” – [Calls] Empty the Jordan – [Sings] “And was a worthy king”’ (2 Henry IV, 2.4.28–9). Though he pays the fees, in The Merry Wives the businessman George Page is sure his son William ‘profits nothing in the world at his book’ (4.1.12). As Bourdieu observes of A Sentimental Education, patrimony cannot perpetuate itself ‘unless the inheritance inherits the heir’: but there are heirs who accept their inheritance, and then ‘there are heirs … who refuse, if they inherit, to be inherited by their inheritance’. The trouble with Shakespeare’s William, therefore, is already the same as when Flaubert’s Frédéric ‘refuses to get in line … He wants to inherit without being inherited’.60 The boy’s dilatory lack of application is the first thing we discover about him, in fact, when he enters with ‘satchel / And shining morning face, creeping like snail / Unwillingly to school’ (As You Like It, 2.7.144–6), dragged on by his archetypical ‘soccer mom’ Margaret Page, who has had to postpone her urgent affairs to forcibly ‘bring my young man here to school’ (4.1.6). But no wonder the truant creeps so reluctantly if, as biographers believe, his tutor Evans is based, like Holofernes, on the dramatist’s own Welsh schoolmaster Thomas Jenkins, who had trained at the prototype Merchant Taylors’ Grammar School under the great grammarian Richard Mulcaster.61 For Jenkins, a graduate of St John’s Oxford when it was a hotbed of Jesuits, was a zealot in an academy that underwrote investment by fathers like Page with an economy of discipline and punishment in which the symbolic violence of Latin was printed upon the body by the actual violence of a thrashing. As Parson Evans warns his recalcitrant pupil: ‘If you forget your “qui”s and your “que”s, and your “quod”s, you must be preeches’ (66). ‘To be whipped – what’s his fault?’ ‘The flat transgression of a schoolboy’ (Much Ado, 2.1.192–3): according to Henry Peacham masters beat boys’ bottoms to keep their hands warm.62 But if Shakespeare, who opened so many of his plays contrasting ‘tongue-tied simplicity’ with ‘the rattling tongue of saucy and audacious eloquence’ (Dream, 5.1.102–4), ever after associated terror of castration with a silencing Welsh power, that might be because his sense of


  Veronika Pohlig, ‘“These Violent Proceedings” – Francis Ford’s “Frenzy” and the Pains of Governing Merry Wives’, Shakespeare Jahrbuch, 143 (2007): 101. 60  Pierre Bourdieu, The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field, trans. Susan Emanuel (Cambridge, 1996), p. 11. 61  T.W. Baldwin, William Shakespeare’s Small Latin and Lesse Greeke (2 vols., Urbana, 1944), vol. 1, pp. 478–80. 62   Quoted in Ivy Pinchbeck and Margaret Hewitt, Children in English Society: From Tudor Times to the Eighteenth Century (London, 1969), p. 39.

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theatre was complicated by deep psychological resistance to his ‘Roman’ lessons in ‘British’ domination: EVANS: Come hither, William. Hold up your head. Come. MISTRESS PAGE: Come on, sirrah. Hold up your head. Answer your master. Be not afraid. (4.1.14–16)

Complete with an emasculating mother, there is a trace of some traumatic humiliation in this ‘circumfession’ that goes a long way to explain why Shakespeare’s castration anxiety is triggered by hearing in the lilt of a Welsh accent the threat of his Master’s voice.63 We can hear Hawkes’s knives being sharpened on those stones at Bryn Glas. And William’s ur-act of Shakespearean refusal is put in context by anecdotes of sadistic schoolmasters like Mulcaster, who was supposed to treat every whipping as a mock marriage ‘between this boy’s buttocks and Lady Birch’, thus literalizing the boys’ euphemism for a flogging: ‘Marrying the master’s daughter’.64 So critics notice how the pederastic economy of exposed posteriors haunts The Merry Wives, as when Falstaff rues being ‘paid for [his] learning’, when disguised as ‘Mother Prat’ (or ‘Bum’) Windsor becomes his schoolroom: ‘Since I play’d truant, and whipped top, I knew not what ’twas to be beaten’ (4.2.158; 4.5.50; 5.1.22). As Alan Stewart recounts in Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England, the homoerotic ‘breaching’ of privates involved in publicly flaying adolescent boys’ bare bottoms meant the value of Latin as a rite of passage into manhood was fundamentally uprooted by the ritual.65 Thus, there was a painful contradiction in this pedagogical exploitation of gendered parts which Shakespeare made the excruciating focus of Will’s young life. For Evans’s Welsh corrections imperil the very ‘British’ masculinity into which Latin was supposed to be the discursive initiation, when his involuntary pronunciation reduces the classics lesson to hilarity by infantilizing the stones of Rome and the manly roots of the imperial Pax itself: EVANS: I pray you peace – What is ‘lapis’, William? WILLIAM: A stone. 63

  For ‘circumfession’ as a circling around the conflict of the individual with a mechanized and textualized universal law, see Jacques Derrida, ‘Circumfession’, in Geoffrey Bennington and Jacques Derrida, Jacques Derrida (Chicago, 1999), pp. 3–313, esp. pp. 65–74: ‘Circumcision, that’s all I’ve ever talked about’ (p. 70). 64   William Barker, ‘Introduction’ to Richard Mulcaster, Positions Concerning the Training Up of Children (Toronto, 1994), p. lxv. 65  Alan Stewart, Close Readers: Humanism and Sodomy in Early Modern England (Princeton, 1997), p. 102. For the classic account of the Latin lesson as a brutal rite of passage from the female household into masculine violence, see Walter Ong, ‘Latin Language Study as a Renaissance Puberty Rite’, in Rhetoric, Romance and Technology: Studies in the Interaction of Expression and Culture (Ithaca, 1971), pp. 113–41.

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


EVANS: And what is ‘a stone’, William? WILLIAM: A pebble. EVANS: No, it is ‘lapis’. I pray you remember in your prain. WILLIAM: ‘Lapis’. EVANS: That is good William. (4.1.26–31)

Ever since he had the Spaniard Armado salute the pedant Holofernes and Nathaniel the curate as ‘Men of peace’ (Love’s, 5.1.32) Shakespeare had been taking the Tudor ‘peace’ for a laugh. So here, taking ‘la piss’ out of the Roman Pax, William cheekily answers back in his Master’s voice. But the small boy’s ‘pee ball’ exposes what he may lack, as the Welshman menacingly intones: ‘Remember, William, the vocative is caret’: the Latin root for ‘missing’ Mistress Quickly mishears as a phallic ‘carrot’ (45). ‘By gar, I will cut all his two stones’, the French Doctor Caius had threatened Sir Hugh himself (1.4.98); and in a po-faced Lacanian decoding Elizabeth Pittenger proposes that William is constructed as a subject of humanist discourse by playing upon this lack, and the castration fears that transfix Windsor’s husbands, that Falstaff acts out in drag, and that Evans excites with his Welsh ‘p’s’ and ‘q’s’, warning his pupil ‘he’ll lose his keys (quies) to the [female] case (quaes) and his cods (quods) … to peebles’.66 In this bleak hermeneutic classical pedagogy masters such uprooting by gendering a grammar where it is woman who is the only ‘fuckative case’: an ‘O – vocative – O’, as William mimics back, like Falstaff’s duplicate love letters to Windsor wives. So young Page dutifully lives up to his name, Pittenger contends, by submitting to Evans’s print culture of ‘mechanically reproduced pages’, as prescribed texts like William Lily’s Short Introduction to Grammar are ‘inscribed in/on the boy’s body’, and a ‘standardized education that reinforces mechanical reproduction’ locks into the ‘mechanisms that enforce reproductive sexuality’.67 Imprinted with identikit roles, values and norms by the Tudor education system, William, on this neo-Orwellian view which leaves no scope for social action or autonomous individuation, will grow up to be an exact mechanical repeat of all the other Pages in the book. What such a dismal interpretation cannot hear, of course, is the creative havoc wreaked by William’s cod Welsh ‘p’s. A politically-correct criticism is deaf to cocky Will’s ‘peace’ offering. Likewise, in a depressing heteronormative reading, David Landreth argues that ‘those deviant meanings’ and ‘swerving’ erotic choices are crushed by Margaret Page’s obliviousness: ‘Mrs Page cannot control the bawdy, but she can, by ignoring it’, prevent her William becoming a ‘lecherous translator’ or himself ‘the object of pederasty’.68 Yet to reduce the lippy pupil to a textual effect like this, 66  Elizabeth Pittenger, ‘Dispatch Quickly: The Mechanical Reproduction of Pages’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 42 (1991): 404. 67  Ibid.: 398 and 405. 68  David Landreth, ‘Once More into the Preech: The Merry Wives’ English Pedagogy’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 55 (2004): 441.


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which was the aim of the Tudor grammar school, is to efface the agency of his subversively lavatorial answers. For what the pornographic story of ‘O’ teaches ‘naughty’ Will is the impertinency of the ‘British’ union of Welsh and English, a resistance, when the languages are combined, to Roman law and Latin logic which comes to the rescue when he is compelled to attend. It is, of course, now automatic to hear in this wag’s mimicry of Welsh ‘p’s only the racism that splits Windsor between insiders and outsiders, another instance, like jokes about Fluellen, of the ‘internal colonialism’ by which Welsh language and culture were negated.69 But that response ignores the crucial context of Latin as the cultural instrument of ‘British’ empire and a Roman road to Welsh empowerment. And it overlooks the fact that, as in Pistol’s St David’s Day coercion, it is the Welshman who is the colonist imposing ‘British’ identity with a real act of violence. For if ribaldry over Welsh pronunciation was habitual at Universities and Inns of Court, that itself indicates the hegemony of Welsh intellectuals as the ‘dominated dominators’ in the state apparatus led by their countrymen, and their ‘annexation’ of Tudor education.70 So something more creative and congenial than colonialism happens when this Welsh correction is exploited by the cheeky chap who only ‘wants to be excused’, and he takes his Master’s orders for a ‘peace’ as provocations to urine. This is the ‘perverse dynamic’ of ‘a sexual and political ordering always internally disordered by the deviations it produces’ which critics see running throughout the play.71 For as the linguistic medium of the ‘British’ unification, Welsh Latin is here allowed to undo itself, disintegrating the messianic ‘madness’ of ‘Roman Britain’ into its contradictions, as if the entire plot of Cymbeline were a revenge for those interminable afternoons with Thomas Jenkins. ‘Peace your tattlings! … I pray you peace … Prithee, hold thy peace’ (21; 25; 62): with Jenkins for a hectoring tutor, a Welsh grandmother in Alys Griffin, and a manager, it is said, in his wife’s relation Davy Jones – who was paid 13s. 4d by Stratford in 1583 for staging the ‘pastime at Whitsun’ when ‘pageants of delight were played’ (Two Gents, 4.4.166) – young Shakespeare was well qualified for the messianic role the Herberts foisted on him as the Bard of a ‘time of universal 69   See, for example, R.S. White, The Merry Wives of Windsor (Hemel Hempstead, 1991), p. 51; Sinfield, Faultlines, pp. 124–5. The problem was first considered in W.J. Lawrence, ‘Welsh Portraiture in Elizabethan Drama’, Times Literary Supplement, 9 November 1922, p. 724. 70   For Welsh ‘annexation’ of the Tudor education apparatus, see W.P. Griffith, Learning, Law and Religion: Higher Education and Welsh Society, c. 1540–1640 (Cardiff, 1996), p. 93; and Prys Morgan, ‘Wild Wales: Civilizing the Welsh from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries’, in Peter Burke et. al. (eds.), Civil Histories: Essays Presented to Sir Keith Thomas (Oxford, 2000), p. 269. 71   Wendy Wall, ‘Unhusbanding Desires in Windsor’, in Richard Dutton and Jean Howard (eds.), A Companion to Shakespeare’s Works: III: The Comedies (Oxford, 2003), p. 387, quoting Jonathan Dollimore, Sexual Dissidence: Augustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault (Oxford, 1991), p. 160.

Cackling Home to Camelot: Shakespeare’s Welsh Roots


peace’ (Antony, 4.6.4).72 Yet judging by his incontinent Will, he could not help taking the ‘peace’ for ‘piss’ when he heard the ‘British’ claim that ‘Never was a war did cease, / Ere bloody hands were washed, with such a peace’ (Cymbeline, 5.6.484–5). So if his blank Page is a self-portrait, Shakespeare’s reply to the messianism that would see him as the ‘Bard of Britain’ was like that of The Life of Brian: ‘He’s not … he’s a very naughty boy’. Schwyzer describes the process of ‘making safe (for the English) the highly volatile material of Welsh prophecy’ as ‘an anxious negotiation at an anxious time’.73 But Will’s ‘pissing’ on the Tudor myth also initiates the equally ‘British’ anti-imperialism of Dad’s Army or Monty Python. ‘He cut our roots in characters’: as these essays help us see, the alphabet soup Imogen cooks from ‘British’ roots in Cymbeline (4.2.51) epitomises the hospitality with which these plays turn threats of castration and ethnic violence into a peace, like the Windsor Host’s, that is multi-faith and supra-national: ‘Peace, I say, Gallia and Gaul, French and Welsh … Follow me, lads of peace, follow, follow, follow’ (Wives, 3.2.81–94). With its Pembrokeshire locale, Cymbeline can be read as Shakespeare’s swansong as ‘The Bard of Avon’, his final dues to the Herberts and the Welsh elite who had imposed their own idea of universal peace.74 Yet if it rains on their ‘British ensign’ and ‘crooked smokes’ in this parade that may be because the plot seems based on the cosmic joke that these ‘Roman Britons’ have been too busy fixing ‘peace and plenty’ for themselves (5.5.237; 5.6.442–77) to hear the really good news in that ‘gracious season’ (402) when the adventitious ‘decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed’ (Luke 2:1). ‘Hath Britain all the sun that shines?’ the play therefore asks. For though they pay the tax in the end, the irony is that these ‘Britons’ of the time of Christ will never know about the Saviour who is among the ‘livers out of Britain’ they resist (3.4.136–9). King James’s messianic projects for both a British Empire and a European Union were always contradictory, and in Cymbeline his Pax Britannica is put into a global perspective by these allusions to the coming of the Prince of Peace.75 This Shakespeare who cuts our national roots is more truly radical, therefore, than the patriotic ‘Bard’ digging for ‘British’ origins, and one who speaks like the soldier he gave the name of Williams, when he refuses not only Fluellen’s patronizing tip, 72

  For Davy Jones, who married first Elizabeth, daughter of the Shakespeares’ business associate Adrian Quiney, and in 1579 Frances Hathaway, see Mark Eccles, Shakespeare in Warwickshire (Madison, 1961), p. 83. 73   Schwyzer, Literature, Nationalism, and Memory, p. 24. 74   See Ronald Boling, ‘Anglo-Welsh Relations in Cymbeline’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 51/1 (2000): 33–66, esp. 64–5. 75   For the tension between the two narratives of the birth of Christ and ‘British’ origins, see Robin Moffet, ‘Cymbeline and the Nativity’, Shakespeare Quarterly, 13 (1962): 207–17. And for the contradictions of James’s twin projects of ‘British’ and Christian Union, reflected in Cymbeline, see W.B. Patterson, King James VI and I and the Reunion of Christendom (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 36–41 and 49–57.


Shakespeare and Wales

but the King’s own Shilling: ‘I will have none of your money’ (Henry V, 4.8.62). We ‘cannot delve him to the root’ (Cymbeline, 1.1.28), but Shakespeare and Wales invites us to hear the Border accent here of a later Williams. And as I write these words close to where Raymond Williams taught Shakespeare to Lewes workers, I am happy to raise a convivial glass to those Welsh colonists who thanks to Henry VII have long lorded over these Sussex Downs. So, which of our locals will it be? The Abergavenny, The Feathers, The King’s Head, The Talbot, The Trevor Arms, or simply the Tudor Rose and Crown?

Afterword Translating Shakespeare Katie Gramich

According to UNESCO’s Index Translationum, Shakespeare is the fifth most translated author in the world, after Lenin, Jules Verne, Agatha Christie and Walt Disney, in ascending order. This remarkable international line-up – two of them English – says something about both domination and diversity, as a Russian revolutionary, a French fantasist, an English crime writer and an American cartoonist usurp the authority of the world’s most privileged and prestigious playwright and poet, writing in arguably its most hegemonic language. No fewer than 3,435 translated editions of his plays have appeared – and that is only since 1932, which immediately indicates that the total number of translations of his work must far exceed this. Welsh is one of the languages into which his work has been translated, as indicated by the quotation from Gareth Miles’s recent translation of Hamlet in the Introduction, but the earliest translations into Welsh predate that by at least a century and a half. In fact it was in the National Eisteddfod at Llandudno in 1864, the Eisteddfod which was visited by the then Oxford Professor of Poetry, Matthew Arnold, that a prize was won by David Griffiths, a printer from Treffynnon, under the singularly unimaginative pseudonym of ‘William Stratford’, for the best Welsh translation of Hamlet. Griffiths’s Hamlet, Tywysog Denmarc, is certainly sonorous, though when one compares it with Gareth Miles’s supple and nuanced, idiomatic 2004 translation or even J.T. Jones’s 1958 version, also an Eisteddfod winner, it now seems the epitome of Victorian fustian. Meanwhile, Arnold, shivering peevishly in the Eisteddfodic tent on the seafront beneath the Great Orme there and then began to cook up – perhaps in order to keep warm – his infamous ‘Lectures on Celtic Literature’, in which he looked forward to the permanent demise of the Welsh language but hoped to retain something vaguely affective of ‘Celtic magic’ in order to reinvigorate the poetry of the overly pragmatic, Rugby-educated Saxon. Griffiths’s Hamlet, Tywysog Denmarc, was to my knowledge never performed but it was published in 1866, in the quarterly journal of the National Eisteddfod, alongside other prize-winning literary productions, all in Welsh, such as an essay on the damaging effects of alcoholic drink, one on auto-didacticism, and another, ultra-conservative, disquisition on the education of women, a 32 page poem on ‘The Return from Exile in Babylon’ and another, of more modest length, on ‘The Wedding Ring’. The latter was, in a touch of delicious irony, written by a Miss Sarah Jane Rees, later known by her bardic name of ‘Cranogwen’, whom


Shakespeare and Wales

subsequent Welsh critics have rather blushingly acknowledged, was almost certainly a lesbian. But what has this to do with Shakespeare and Wales? The way in which Shakespeare is translated not only into Welsh but into terms which the Wales of 1864 would know, understand and acknowledge, reveals to us something of the sheer adaptability, the cultural litheness, of his work. ‘William Stratford’s Welsh translation of Hamlet is prefaced by his analysis of the major characters in the play. In the context of essays on the proper domestic education of women and a poem entitled ‘The Wedding Ring’, it is perhaps not particularly surprising to find that Gertrude is transformed by her Welsh translator into a Welsh Mam manqué. Finding it impossible to exonerate Gertrude completely from blame, Griffiths finally admits that ‘Ar y cyfan, yr ydym yn tueddu i feddwl fod Gertrude yn gymeriad lled ragorol, ond ei bod yn anffodus wedi cael ei gosod mewn cysylltiad rhy agos â chwmni drwg.’ [On the whole, we tend to think that Gertrude is a really sterling character but that she has unfortunately come into too close a proximity with bad company]. Not only did Victorian Welshmen translate Shakespeare, they also imitated him in their own dramas. In the 1879 National Eisteddfod at Llanberis, for example, the play-writing competition was won by Beriah Evans from Llangattock, Carmarthenshire, writing under the pseudonym ‘Arthur’, for a play entitled Owain Glyndŵr, subtitled ‘Drama yn null Shakespeare’ [A play in the manner of Shakespeare]. It is written in quite accomplished blank verse, with rhyme being introduced at key moments at the end of scenes, very much in a Shakespearean mode. The play is again quite fascinating ideologically because, while clearly positioning Owain Glyndŵr as a Welsh Nationalist tragic hero, the last scene has the dying Glyndŵr literally passing on the mantle of Welsh authority to Owain Tudor and prophesying the future glorious reign of Harri of Monmouth, Henry V. For his dying prophecy, Glyndŵr shifts into rhyming iambic tetrameter, thus: Ar d’ysgwydd di, freintiedig ŵr, Fe syrthia mantell y Glyndŵr. Holl hawliau Cymru ddeli i’r lan. Mhlith pendefigion bydd dy ran. Yn agos saf i’r orseddfainc, Priodi ferch i frenin Ffrainc; Tydi a’th fab a ddygwch gledd Dros Loegr. – Eistedd ar ei sedd Wna’r wyr a ddaw o’th lwynau di: I Gymru yr enilla fri. Ei orwyr yntau fydd yn ben Unedig sedd yr Ynys Wen!    D. Griffiths, ‘Rhaglith gan y cyfieithydd’ [Translator’s Preface], Hamlet, Tywysog Denmarc in Yr Eisteddfod, 2/6 (Wrexham, 1866): 102.

Afterword: Translating Shakespeare


A chadw’i hiaith wna Cymru’n wir Tra pery’r môr gyfannu’r tir! [On your shoulders, man of power, Falls the mantle of Glendower. All Wales’s rights will come to you. Amid the lords you’ll have your due. Closely to the throne you’ll stand, The French King’s girl will give her hand; You and your son will bear the sword O’er England. – Become her lord Shall the grandson from your loins born: The fame of Wales will his name adorn. His great grandson will be head Of the White Island, united, firmly led! And Welsh will her true language be While all around her swells the sea !]

Neither David Griffiths nor Beriah Gwynfe Jenkins can be said to be acclaimed as great poets in their own right, but Shakespeare’s works did frequently draw the attentions of those who were. T. Gwynn Jones is a case in point: Jones was ‘the foremost poet of his generation’, a contemporary of Yeats, whose ode, Ymadawiad Arthur (Arthur’s Departure), for which he won the Chair at the 1902 National Eisteddfod, is generally considered to herald the astonishing Renaissance of Welsh-language poetry in early twentieth-century Wales. Gwynn Jones translated several of Shakespeare’s plays (along with Goethe’s Faust and a number of plays by Ibsen). In his foreword to the 1942 edition of his translation of Macbeth [Tragodia Macbeth Shakespeare], he alludes to the gestation of the work and the way in which it had first been published forty years previously: Dechreuwyd ar y trosiad hwn pan dywynnodd gogoniant Shakespeare gyntaf ar feddwl llanc o Gymro, ond gadawed y gwaith ar ei hanner. Daeth awydd eilwaith ar ôl darllen ‘Gem Llenyddiaeth Lloegr,’ ysgrif gan Syr Owen Edwards yn Y Llenor [yn] ... 1895, a chyhoeddwyd y trosiad fel yr oedd o wythnos i wythnos ym Mhapur Pawb ... yn 1902 ...

 Beriah Evans, Owain Glyndŵr: Chwareu-gan (drama) yn null Shakespeare (Llanberis, 1879), Act V, scene ii, ll. 58–71, p. 94.    My (free) translation.    Meic Stephens (ed.), The New Companion to the Literature of Wales (Cardiff, 1998), p. 409.   T. Gwynn Jones, Rhagair [Foreword], Tragodia Macbeth Shakespeare (Llundain, 1942), p. viii. 


Shakespeare and Wales [This translation was begun when the glory of Shakespeare first cascaded through the mind of a young Welsh lad, but the work was left half-finished. The desire was rekindled after reading ‘The Jewel of England’s Literature’, an essay by Sir Owen Edwards in Y Llenor (The Writer) in 1895, and the translation was published in monthly instalments in Papur Pawb (Everyone’s Paper) in 1902]

Papur Pawb, as its name suggests, was a genuinely popular and populist Welshlanguage weekly newspaper. The fact that a Welsh translation of Macbeth by a poet who might be seen as the Welsh equivalent of Yeats could feature for several months in its pages in 1902 tells us a great deal about Welsh attitudes to Shakespeare, to poetry, to culture generally. Moreover, T. Gwynn Jones’s Macbeth was published yet again in the popular monthly Cymru (Wales) in 1916. In this regard, Owen M. Edwards was instrumental both in inspiring the poet to try again with his translation and in publishing the work in his paper, Cymru. Edwards was an enormously influential figure in Wales throughout the late nineteenth century and in the first decades of the twentieth. In his autobiographical Clych Adgof: penodau yn hanes fy addysg (The bells of memory: chapters in the history of my education, 1906) he speaks with bitterness of the humiliation of having the ‘Welsh Not’ tied around his neck at school when the schoolmistress was trying to enforce the use of English in class. The memory for Edwards is clearly so intense that he uses it to account for some of his later attitudes and literary tastes: ‘Teimlwn fel Ismael, fod llaw pawb yn fy erbyn a’m llaw innau yn erbyn pawb. Byth er hynny y mae gennyf rhyw fath o gydymdeimlad â gwrthryfelwr a chwyldrowr … [E]dmygais innau Facbeth …. [I felt like Ishmael, that every hand was raised against me and that my hand was raised against everyone. Ever since I’ve had a kind of empathy with rebels and revolutionaries ... I particularly admired Macbeth]. Thus, Owen Edwards, virtually a one-man Welsh publishing industry, who rose from very humble beginnings in a peasant cottage in Llanuwchlyn to being an Oxford don and, ironically enough, a Government Inspector of Schools in Wales, gains inspiration from Shakespeare’s works, conveys it to the foremost Welsh poet of the age, and both contribute to a distinctively anti-colonial literary revival. These examples reveal how Wales in the wake of the damning Blue Books Report of 1847 which represented the Welsh as poor, ignorant, unchaste barbarians, kept ‘under the hatches’ by their ‘primitive’ language, fought back in a concerted campaign of cultural warfare, using Shakespeare as one of the weapons in their armoury. If the Welsh could translate Shakespeare, if they could read him in their popular newspapers, if they could hear his words translated and intoned on the stage of the National Eisteddfod, if they could imitate his style and stagecraft, how could the English ever again allege, as did Henry Vaughan Johnson, the    O.M. Edwards, Clych Adgof: Penodau yn hanes fy addysg (Caernarfon, 1906), p. 22.    Reports of the Commissioners of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales (London, 1848), pp. 3–4.

Afterword: Translating Shakespeare


Commissioner investigating North Wales for the Blue Books enquiry, conclude that the Welsh suffer under an ‘imperfect form of civilization?’ Shakespeare on stage in Wales Despite the lack of a national theatre and a long-lasting opposition to dangerous ‘theatricals’ on the part of Welsh Methodists in particular, Shakespeare’s plays have been performed in Wales with great frequency both in English and in Welsh. In the later eighteenth century, for instance, Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, a fabulously wealthy Welsh landowner, held his own drama festival in a converted kitchen in his country house. Cecil Price informs us that ‘between 1773 and 1787… eleven of Shakespeare’s works were represented and they ranged from Cymbeline to The Merry Wives of Windsor’. During the same period, the Welsh-language theatre was also flourishing, largely in the hands of Thomas Edwards, known as ‘Twm o’r Nant’, who was described in a newspaper report of 1789 as ‘the Welch Shakespeare’ and which goes on to eulogize him thus: To a fine political imagination, he unites strong judgement and great command of language. In the province of wit and humour, he stands unrivalled. The keenness of his satire is well known particularly to Welch lawyers. Like the Bard of Avon, he is little indebted to school education; Nature has been his tutoress. His dramatic compositions afford an excellent representation of the manners of the present Welch and abound in wit and genuine poetry.10

The English traveller, Joseph Craddock, in his Letters from Snowdon (1770) remarks on seeing a performance of King Lear staged in a Welsh barn which he felt was ridiculous since the parts of Lear’s daughters were played by ‘brawny ploughmen’.11 These testimonies suggest strongly that Shakespeare was ‘translating’ well in late eighteenth-century Wales, in both languages and across the gamut of social classes. Nor was this adoption of Shakespeare confined to rural north Wales. The new professional theatres springing up in the nineteenth century in Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff, for instance, each saw Shakespeare as a mainstay of the repertoire. In the mid twentieth century, in the continuing absence of a national theatre, again the Wynne family experimented with establishing their own theatre, Theatr Garthewin, in a disused barn on their estate and engaged the services of undoubtedly the greatest Welsh-language playwright of the age, Saunders Lewis. 

 Ibid., p. 520.  Cecil Price, The English Theatre in Wales in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Cardiff, 1948), p. 65. 10   Gloster Journal, 2 November, 1789, cited in ibid. p. 55. 11   Joseph Craddock, Letters from Snowdon (London, 1770), pp. 64–5. 


Shakespeare and Wales

Yet still Shakespeare is not written out of the theatrical plot; as the theatre critic of The Tablet noted in a 1964 review: This year the principal production [at Garthewin] was a Welsh translation of Hamlet … what was impressive was the intelligence of the performance, the total enthusiasm that made a four hours’ play into a deeply shared enjoyment … A magnificently idiomatic translation conveyed the universal strength of Shakespeare, proof enough that Welsh can bear strains more demanding than those of cottage comedies …12

Interestingly, here, Shakespeare’s language is seen as the test of a language’s richness and maturity. The fact that the Welsh language is capable of bearing the weight of Shakespeare, as it were, suggests at least to this critic that, pace Saunders Lewis, it has a future.13 At about the same time, Gareth Miles, the most recent translator of Shakespeare into Welsh was completing his BA degree in English and Philosophy at the University of Wales, Bangor, under the tutelage of John F. Danby. Miles acknowledges that at the time he reacted furiously against what he regarded as the Shakespeare-worship of his tutors, which he saw as a reflection of the imperialist presence of England in Welsh Wales. He confesses that he did not rediscover Shakespeare until reading James Baldwin’s Why I stopped hating Shakespeare and realized, through the enabling lens of the radical black American writer, that Shakespeare’s work could actually be seen to challenge and undermine what he calls ‘biwritaniaeth gul, philistaidd ac awdurdodol a arddelid – yn gyhoeddus, o leiaf – gan ddosbarthiadau llywodraethol Lloegr a’r Unol Daleithiau’14 [the narrow, philistine, authoritarian puritanism upheld – at least in public – by the ruling classes of England and the United States]. Miles and the director, Michael Bogdanov, create a version of Shakespeare’s play in Welsh which is both absolutely contemporary in diction and rhythm – with not a hint of deferential imitation of blank verse or rhyme – and powerfully political in import. Miles is both a committed Marxist and a much-admired campaigner for the Welsh language; his Hamlet is a Welsh Hamlet for our times and this place; as Bogdanov puts it, the themes of this Hamlet are ‘hanfodion grym gwleidyddol ynghyd â’r defnydd a’r cam-defnydd a wneir ohono; diorseddu teyrn; [a’]r awch imperialaidd, anorfod i oresgyn gwledydd’15 12   Father Illtud Evans, ‘The Future of Welsh’, The Tablet, 11 June 1964, cited in Hazel Walford Davies, Saunders Lewis a Theatr Garthewin (Llandysul, 1995), p. 232. 13  According to Saunders Lewis’s seminal BBC broadcast of 1962, Tynged yr iaith [The Fate of the Language] Welsh would die unless the Welsh people did something urgently to remedy the situation. The Welsh Language Society [Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg] was established as a direct result of Saunders’ cri de coeur. 14   Gareth Miles, Rhagair y Cyfieithydd [Translator’s Foreword], William Shakespeare, Hamlet (Cardiff, 2004), p. v. 15   Michael Bogdanov, Rhagair y Cyfarwyddwr [Director’s Foreword], ibid.. p. xi.

Afterword: Translating Shakespeare


[the essential characteristics of political power along with the use and abuse that is made of it; the deposing of a ruler; and the imperialist, ineluctable urge to conquer other countries]. Thus is Shakespeare constantly translated; most recently into a Welsh Marxist vision of a crumbling neocolonial present. Two snapshots from a Welsh childhood It is June 1970. Llandysul Grammar School’s Class 1D is outside, loitering selfconsciously in the shade of the enormous flowering cherry trees. The English teacher, known as Siân Pop, much fancied by all the boys in the class, is assigning parts for an impromptu performance of Act II, scene i of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I am 11 years old. To my chagrin, Siân Pop gives me the part of Titania while the rector’s son, Myrddin, gets that of Oberon. This play is full of words that make the lurking boys titter: Bottom, Puck, Titania, Fairy. ‘I have forsworn his bed and company’ I mumble and Myrddin mumbles back ‘am I not thy lord?’ Both of us are speaking in our second language. We are dimly aware of the sonority of the speeches but are too bashful to do them justice. I speak the lines and let my mind wander: ‘in the shape of Corin sat all day,/Playing on pipes of corn ...’: Oberon-Myrddin is translated into a giant spider (‘coryn’ in Welsh) which seems to fit entirely into this dream world of transformations and fairies as small as the tiniest insects. It is June 1975. A small group of sixth-formers from Llandysul Grammar School is sitting in the front row of rickety chairs in front of a makeshift stage in Ludlow Castle. Gloucester is dragged to the front of the stage: ‘Out, vile jelly! /Where is thy lustre now?’ Cornwall hurls the object in his hand towards us. We all cringe away, holding on to each other. ‘All dark and comfortless.’ Years later I read Gillian Clarke’s poem, ‘Llŷr’, spoken in a Welsh female voice reminiscing about her first visit to Stratford at the age of ten to see a performance of King Lear. The experience could have been mine, her reflections on: ‘The river and the king with their Welsh names’,16 her awakening to the ‘significance of little words’, her memories thirty years later ‘on the cliffs of Llŷn ...The landscape’s marked with figures of old men:/ The bearded sea; thin-boned, wind-bent trees;/ Shepherd and labourer and night-fisherman./ Here and there among the crumbling farms/ Are lit kitchen windows on distant hills,/ And guilty daughters longing to be gone.’17 Questions of loyalty and piety, fathers and daughters, going and staying, all coalesced for me in a castle on the Welsh border. Shakespeare was emphatically

  Gillian Clarke, ‘Llŷr’, Selected Poems (Manchester, 1985) p. 79, line 2. ‘Lear’ is a version of the Welsh name, Llŷr still a common boy’s name in Wales. The name of the river Avon is the Welsh word for river, afon (a single ‘f’ in Welsh is always pronounced as a ‘v’). 17  Ibid., lines 15, l23–8. 16

Shakespeare and Wales


not a remote figure for us Welsh girls of the later twentieth century; on the contrary, his world ‘translated’ into ours with an almost uncanny ease. Coda In May 2008 Cardiff City Football Club (the ‘Bluebirds’) reached the FA Cup Final. The last time the team had won the Cup had been in 1927, the only Welsh team ever to have done so; unsurprisingly, then, this was regarded as a very important event, not just in the capital, but in many other parts of Wales. BBC Wales ran a trailer for the final which had Frank Hennessy, a well-known Cardiffian singer and broadcaster, reading Henry V’s speech at Agincourt (Act IV, scene iii, ll. 40–67), slightly adapted for the occasion thus: This day is called the feast of Ninian: He that supports this day and comes safe home, Will stand a-tiptoe when the day is named, And rouse him at the cry of Cardiff City. He that shall see this day, and live to old age, Will yearly on the vigil recall the Bluebirds and say ‘Tomorrow is Cup Final Day.’ Then will he strip his coat, and show his shirt, And say, ‘This shirt I had on me at Wembley.’ Old men forget, yet all shall be forgot, But he’ll remember, with advantages, What feats they did that day. Then shall their names, Familiar in his mouth as household words, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Ledley and Enckelman Ramsey and Whittingham, Sinclair and Johnson, Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Cup Final Day shall ne’er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But those in it shall be remembered – We few, we happy few, we band of brothers: For he today that shouts their chants with me Shall be my brother … And gentlemen of Canton now abed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here Upon Cup Final Day.

Hennessy’s Cardiff accent was very pronounced, yet it was delivered not as a comedic episode but in all seriousness; indeed, with kingly aplomb. Accompanied

Afterword: Translating Shakespeare


by swelling martial music, the podcast of the speech became instantly popular on Youtube,18 despite the fact that Cardiff City went on to lose the vital match. The speech demonstrates the way in which Shakespeare’s speeches still retain instant recognition in Wales, even among a soccer-worshipping demographic one might not readily identify as play-goers. The makers of the broadcast were no doubt aware of the context of Henry V’s speech, coming just two scenes after the disguised Henry declares himself, unequivocally, to be a ‘Welshman’.19 On a superficial level, the use of a king’s speech haranguing his soldiers to battle is obviously applicable to the metaphorical battle ahead of the Cardiff City football club and their fans, who must of course exhibit an analogous unity and fraternity in order to win the day. The Welsh are, after all, ‘a verie warlike nation’, according to Camden, as Marisa Cull reminds us in this collection. But at another level, it is striking how effortlessly and aptly Frank Hennessy abrogates Shakespeare’s speech and makes it his own, our own; a postcolonial cultural critic might be tempted to see it as a gesture of appropriation, particularly in view of the fact that many famous performances of this speech – notably Laurence Olivier’s – have come to be regarded as resounding celebrations of English national identity. The details of the adaptation are cleverly achieved, moreover. ‘Crispin’ becomes ‘Ninian’, a genuine saint associated with Cardiff, who also lends his name to Cardiff City’s football ground. The reference to ‘the shirt I had on me at Wembley’ not only introduces internal rhyme and alliteration reminiscent of the ‘cynghanedd sain’ of traditional Welsh strict metre poetry but also introduces a third syllable into the pronunciation of ‘Wembley’ essential both for the line’s pentameter and for the echo of the football crowd’s chant. The naming of individual players in the Cardiff team is also far from random, cleverly echoing the rhythms of Shakespeare’s original list of names. And surely there is a wry self-knowledge in Hennessy’s enunciation of the ‘flowing cups’ with which Welshmen will celebrate these future memories? The final masterstroke is the reference to ‘the gentlemen of Canton’ who will rue the day they stayed abed: ‘Canton’ here is a substitute for the original speech’s ‘England’; it is a densely-populated, lively, and multi-cultural area of Cardiff quite near to the centre, in many ways an epitome of Cardiff identity, as is surely intended here. Thus, Shakespeare’s speech is ‘translated’ into Welsh: into very local and specific Welsh terms, while at the same time retaining the intense emotion and gravitas of the original. Just as Henry speaks to his own, his ‘band of brothers’, so Frank Hennessy speaks, in his distinctive tones, to his own, confidently borrowing and adapting Shakespeare’s words. Because, after all, they belong to us, the Welsh.

18   ‘cardiff citys cup run’: Accessed 31 January 2009. 19   William Shakespeare, Henry V, in The Norton Shakespeare, ed. Stephen Greenblatt et. al. (New York, 1997), 4.1.52.

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Aaron, Jane, 185n40 Adam of Usk, 45, 55 Adamson, Sylvia, 102n36 Adkins, Camilla, 179n11, 182n27 Albions England, 150, 151n26 Allington, Thomas, 197n32 Anderson, Benedict, 99, 100, 100n26, 106n47, 107n50, 116 Anderson, Perry, 87, 87n35 Antique linguae Britannicae … rudimenta, 36 ApMeurig-apMeurik-Ameriks, 196 Arcadia, 157, 192 Archer, William, 61n13, 180 Armin, Robert, 4, 34n51, 37, 111–26, 127–42, 179, 204 Arnold, Matthew, 211 The Arte of English Poesie, 99n23, 99n24, 109n55 Arthur, 109, 109n56, 125, 127, 128, 129, 135, 135n22, 160n10, 197, 204 Austern, Linda, 69n41 Babcock, Robert, 80n13, 178, 184n33 Back, L., 111n1, 112n6 Bailey, Richard, 93n5, 105n42 Baker, David, 4, 81n17, 85n28, 90n43, 97n17, 102n36, 113, 113n8.144n4, 160n9, 178n4, 195, 195n22, 197n32, 200n44, 201n46, 202n50 Baldo, Jonathan, 91, 91n3, 98n19, 178n3 Baldwin, James, 216 Baldwin, T.W., 205n61 Ball, George, 155n47 Barber, Sarah, 79n8 Bardolphe, George, 182 Barker, William, 206n64 Bartley, J.O., 21, 22, 22n49, 23, 23n7, 32n42, 36n60, 60n5, 61, 61n12, 62n14, 72n46

Batt, Catherine, 110n57 Baugh, Albert, 99n25 Bayrou, François, 155n46 Belsey, Catherine, 9, 10n7 Bennington, Geoffrey, 28n29, 206n63 Benson, Larry D., 168n27 Bergeron, David M., 170n32 Berns, J.B., 95n14 Benskin, M., 95n14 Bevington, David, 43n3 The Birth of Merlin, 34n51 Black, Jeremy, 200, 201n45 Blake, Norman, 102n36 Blank, Paula, 92n5, 95n13, 96n16, 106, 108 Blount, Charles (Lord Mountjoy), 82n21 Blunt, James, 195 Boadicea, 125 Boccaccio, Giovanni, 167 Bogdanov, Michael, 1, 216, 216n15 Boleyn, Anne, 201 Boling, Ronald, 138n33, 143n2, 146, 146n9, 147n11, 151, 151n29, 152n35, 169n30, 169n31, 209n74 Bolingbroke, Henry (Henry IV), 14, 50 Bonduca, 136n24 Bourdieu, Pierre, 198, 198n36, 205n60 Bowen, Ivor, 59n2, 65n22, 71n43, 71n44 Bowers, Fredson, 2n7, 32n43, 35n53, 94n7, 103n39 Bradbrook, Muriel, 134n21, 136n26 Bradbury, Nicola, 23n5 Bradshaw, Brendan, 32n44, 71n9 Braveheart, 203 Breeze, Andrew, 1n3 Brennan, Michael G., 191n1 Brenner, Robert, 195n23 A Briefe and a Playne Introduction, Teachyng How to Pronounce the Letters in the British Tong, 70n42


Shakespeare and Wales

Brockbank, J.P., 163n20 Bruce, Donald, 33n45 Brutus, 18, 24, 25, 31, 33, 52, 53, 145, 147, 148, 153, 155, 161, 163, 165, 200 Brynkir, Ann Wen, 16, 18, 19, 184 Buchanan, George, 31, 32n41 Bull, M., 111n1, 112n6 Bullough, Geoffrey, 43n2 Burgess, Glenn, 51n36, 139n33, 161n15 Burke, Peter, 208n70 Burnett, Mark Thornton, 3n9, 85n30 Butler, Martin, 137n27, 140, 140n47, 140n38, 167n25, 175n41 Buxton, John, 33n45 Cable, Thomas, 99n25 Caius, John, 108, 108n53 Camden, William, 100, 100n31, 129, 129n10, 148, 149, 161, 161n15, 161n16, 161n17, 163, 164, 164n21, 219 Campbell, Lily, 53n120 Cadwallader, 25, 53, 163, 171, 173, 197, 198 Canny, Nicholas, 81, 81n16, 185 Canterbury Tales, 106 Carew, Richard, 94n8, 105, 105 Carley, James P., 160n10 Carver, P.L., 177n2 Catherine of Valois, 56 Cawdrey, Robert, 93, 96, 96n16, 99 Cecil, Robert, 25, 26, 184, 197n32, 198, 201 Cecil, Thomas, Earl of Exeter, 197n32 Cecil, William, Lord Burleigh, 22, 25, 30, 184, 197n32, 198, 201 Charles, B.G., 146n10 Charles, Prince of Wales, 2 Charles II, 131n16 Charnell-White, Cathryn, 11 A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, 15, 34, 62, 62n14, 113, 198 Chaucer, Geoffrey, 106, 107n49, 167, 168, 168n27 Chedgzoy, Kate, 5, 7n1, 11n11, 14n18, 14n19, 21, 81n17, 184 Cheke, John, 91, 100, 100n30, 101, 103 Chettle, Henry, 15, 35, 62, 122n29 Chitty, C.W., 93n6

Christie, Agatha, 211 A chronycle with a genealogie declarying that the Brittons and Welshmen are lineallye dyscended from Brute (1547), 27 The Chronicle History of King Leir, 143, 144n3, 149 Churchyard, Thomas, 22, 27, 27n25, 28, 28n31, 32, 36, 36n59, 37, 37n62, 169 Clark, Arthur Melville, 7n3 Clark, Stuart, 51, 51n34 Clarke, Gillian, 217, 217n16, 217n17 Clarke, Simone, 12n12 Cohen, Walter, 91n1 Collingbourne, Richard, 119 A Commendacion of Welshmen (1546), 27 Condell, Henry, 193 Cooper, Helen, 157n2, 162n19, 170n33, 172n34 Cornish, Rory T., 179n8 Cornwall, Julian, 193n5 Cornwallis, William, 76, 79, 79n7 Craddock, Joseph, 215n11 Cromwell, Oliver, 195 Cull, Marisa Rose, 4, 219 Cunningham, J.S., 167n24 Curran, John, 39, 39n71, 127n1, 137, 137n28, 138n30, 147, 147n15, 148n16, 151n27, 152, 174, 174n40 Daemonologie, 51, 51n33, 51n35 Danby, John F., 216 Daniel, Samuel, 130n14, 138 Davies, Ceri, 36n57 Davies, Clifford, 200, 200n43 Davies, Hazel Walford, 216n12 Davies, Sir John, 118n19, 186 Davies, John, 65n21, 75n1, 80n11, 80n15, 185n38, 200n42 Davies, John (of Mallwyd), 36, 36n57, 37 Davies, Hazel Walford, 216n12 Davies, R.R., 3, 43n1, 45n12, 46, 46n16, 46n13, 46n14, 46n16, 46n17, 47n19, 48, 48n24, 51, 52n37, 52n39, 52n40, 53n43, 53n44, 53n45, 56n60, 66n28, 66n30, 67n32, 120n27, 126n32, 180n17,

Index 185n39, 186, 198 Davies, Richard, 13, 118 Davies, Windsor, 115n11 Deacon, Richard, 30n33 Dee, John, 18, 22, 24n8, 30, 30n35, 30n36, 31, 31n37, 31n38, 185, 197 The Defence of Poesy, 38, 38n64, 38n65, 38n66, 38n68 Dekker, Thomas, 2n7, 4, 15, 22, 32, 32n43, 34, 34n51, 34n52, 35, 35n53, 36, 62n14, 93, 94, 94n7, 102, 102n38, 103, 104, 105, 113, 113n7, 122n29 Dering, Edward, 122n30 Derrida, Jacques, 28, 28n29, 196, 196n26, 206n63 Description of Pembrokeshire, 169n31 Devine, T.M., 199, 199n41 Devereux, Dorothy, 147 Dickens, Charles, 23, 23n5 Dictionary in Englyshe and Welshe, 119, 19n20 Disney, Walt, 211 Dodd, A.H., 139n34, 147n12, 179n9, 184n32, 184n34, 191n2, 193n11, 193n14, 198n34, 199n39 Dollimore, Jonathan, 2n6, 183n30, 187n45, 199, 208n71 Donne, John, 40, 127n1 Doyle, Charles Clay, 5n11 Drayton, Michael, 22, 38, 39, 39n69, 39n71, 40 Duncan-Jones, Katherine, 38n64, 109n54, 194n19 Dunn, R.D., 100n31, 149n21§ Dutton, Richard, 82, 82n21, 83, 83n25, 85n27, 127n1, 208n71 Eccles, Mark, 209n72 Edward I, 17,66, 86 Edward I, 113, 143 Edward II, 40, 193 Edward II, 193n13 Edward VI, 26, 192, 192n4 Edward VII, 180, 181 Edwards, Owen M., 213, 214, 214n6 Edwards, Thomas, 215 Egan, Gabriel, 154, 155n45 Elizabeth I, 19, 22, 24, 25, 30, 65, 71,


75n2, 82n21, 139n34, 146, 147, 154, 155, 169, 192, 197, 200 Ellis, Steven, 79n8 Elton, G.R., 120n27 Epistolae Ho-elianae, 36n56, 37n63 Essex, Robert Devereux, Second Earl of, 3, 60, 82n21, 139, 139n34, 147, 184, 193, 194n15, 195, 199 Estrild, 154 Evans, Beriah, 212, 213n2 Evans, G.Blakemore, 63n15 Evans, Henry, 72 Evans, Hugh, 108, 109, 113, 120, 121 Evans, Illtud, 216n12 Evans, Maurice, 192n6 The Faerie Queene, 128, 135n22, 148, 148n18, 157 Falstaff, 73, 92, 93, 94, 95n22, 96, 97, 98n19, 98n22, 99, 101, 107, 109, 109n54, 110, 113, 121, 178, 186, 202, 204, 206, 207 Farmer, Alan, 127n1 Fawkes, Guy, 143, 184 Ferguson, Margaret, 12, 12n13 Fever, Charles, 204n58 Fineman, Daniel A., 177n2 Finnegan, Ruth, 10n8 Finnis, John, 194n17 Fisher, John, 96n14, 107n49 Flaubert, Gustave, 205 Fletcher, Anthony, 192n4 Fletcher, John, 136n24 Floyd-Wilson, Mary, 130n12, 137n29, 144, 144n4, 151n28, 152, 152n33, 153n40 Fluellen, 2, 4, 5, 18, 33n48, 60, 62, 65n20, 80n13, 81n19, 83, 83n25, 84, 85, 86, 90, 95, 97, 98, 99, 102n38, 105, 109, 113, 114, 115, 115n11, 117, 120, 121, 136n23, 178, 180, 181, 182, 185, 186-87, 189, 198, 199, 203, 208, 209, Fluellen, William, 182 Foakes, A.R., 72n46, 152, 152n37 Forker, Charles, 40n72 For the Honour of Wales, 36, 37, 41, 62n14, 179


Shakespeare and Wales

Foster, Roy, 187, 187n44 Foucault, Michel, 198 Frame, Robin, 81n16 Garner, Brian, 103n41 General and Rare Memorials Pertayning to the Perfect Arte of Navigation, 30, 31n37 Genet, Jean, 203n53 Geoffrey of Monmouth, 129, 147, 160, 162, 166, 171, 185, 197 George, Lloyd, 204n57 Gerald of Wales, 179, 185 Glendower, Catrin (Lady Mortimer), 5, 12, 14, 15, 19, 41, 45, 47, 59, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 67n36, 68, 68n37, 69, 70, 70n42, 71, 73, 89, 90, 121 Glendower, Owen, 4, 11, 13, 14, 19, 22, 41, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 50, 89, 90, 95, 95n11, 95n12, 97, 98, 99, 121, 122, 123, 126, 178, 179, 180, 185, 186 Glyn Dwr, Owen, 43–57, 197, 212 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 213 Goldberg, Jonathan, 127n1 Gómez, Paula Ma. Rodríguez, 2n5 Gooch, Jane Lytton, 145n5 Gorboduc, 148, 149, 149n19, 154 Gordon, Andrew, 27n24 Goughe, Robert, 181 Gower, Captain, 85, 86 Grafton, Richard, 46, 161, 174, 174n39 Gramich, Katie, 179n9 Grant, Alexander, 81n16, 128n7 Greenblatt, Stephen, 5n11, 8, 24n9, 91n1, 183, 183n30, 191n2, 192n6, 198, 198n37 Greene, Robert, 103n41 Greenfield, Matthew, 90n43, 97n17, 98n22 Greville, Fulke, 75n2 Grey, Reginald, 45 Grierson, H.J.C., 7n3 Griffin, Alys, 7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 26, 179, 208 Griffin, Benjamin, 154, 154n43 Griffith, W.P., 208n70 Griffiths, David, 211, 212, 213 Griffiths, Huw, 4, 14, 15, 149n20, 150, 150n25

Guinevere, 135 Gurr, Andrew, 46n13, 51n36, 82n21 Gwilym, Dafydd ap, 2 The Gypsies Metamorphosed, 37 Hadfield, Andrew, 122n29, 163n20, 173n37, 175n42, 196n25 Haggard, Rider, 144 Hakluyt, Richard, 197 Hall, Edward, 46, 180 Hamilton, A.C., 33n45, 128n6 Harry, George Owen, 25 Harries, Frederick, 5, 7, 7n3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 21, 21n1, 22, 31, 31n39, 47, 47n20, 177, 177n1, 180, 180n15, 181n18, 189, 189n50 Harris, Tim, 131n16 Harvey, Richard, 4n10, 22, 31, 31n39, 32, 32n42, 76n6 Hattaway, Michael, 152n37 Haughton, William, 15, 35 Hawkes, Terence, 14, 22, 22n3, 24n11, 30n32, 95, 95n11, 97, 97n18, 98, 98n21, 98n22, 100, 100n29, 177, 178n7, 189, 201, 202, 202n49, 203n51, 203n53, 203n54, 203n55, 206 Heal, Felicity, 119n23, 122n29 Hector, 24 Heminge, John, 193 Hen, Coel, 30 Henken, Elissa, 45n9, 47n22, 49, 50n28 Henry IV, 44, 45, 49 Henry V, 212 Henry VII (character in Richard III), 24 Henry VII, 25, 26, 29, 197, 210 Henry VIII, 26, 27, 199, 201 Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, 4, 127n2, 129, 130, 131, 132, 136, 138, 138n32, 139, 139n34, 142, 147, 173, 174 Hennessey, Frank, 218, 219 Henson, Eithne, 167n24 Herbert, Mary Herbert, Walter, 195 Herbert, Sir William, 17, 181, 191, 192, 194, 194n19 Herford, C.H., 138n32

Index Hewitt, Margaret, 205n62 Hey for honesty, down with knavery, 23 Highley, Christopher, 38n65, 69n41, 83, 83n23, 83n25, 186n43, 187 Hiller, Geoffrey, 39, 39n70 Hinman, Charlton, 82n21 Hiscock, Andrew, 179n9 Historia Regum Britanniae, 160 Historie of Cambria, 160 History of Britain, 33n47 Hodges, Geoffrey, 44n4, 44n5, 45n8, 47n21, 52n39 Holland, Hugh, 181 Holland, Philemon, 129n10, 161, 161n16 Holland, Robert, 146 Hoenselaars, Ton, 24n11, 179n7 Holinshed, Raphael, 43, 44, 46, 49, 52, 129, 129n9, 141n40, 152, 160, 161n12, 162, 163, 164, 165, 168n27, 171, 175, 180 Honigmann, E.A.J., 194n16 Hooper, John, 143, 143n1 Hopkins, Lisa, 4, 16n21, 24n11, 177, 179n7, 189 Hotspur, Harry (Sir Henry Percy), 43, 51, 52, 98, 98n22, 99, 123 Housman, A.E., 201, 201n45, 202, 203, 203n52 Howard, Jean, 8n4 Howell, James, 36, 37, 37n47 Howell, Rice ap, 193 Howells, Brian E., 23n6 Hoy, Cyrus, 34n52 Hughes, Alfred, 179 Hughes, Arthur, 5, 177, 179, 180, 180n13, 189 Hughes, Thomas, 24n13 Humphrey, Grace verch, 18 Humphreys, Emyr, 194n19 Hunt, Arnold, 106n45 Hutton, Catherine, 18n27 Iago, 153 Ieuan, Gruffydd ab, 12, 14, 15 Ioiefvll and Blessed Revniting the two mighty & famous kingdomes, England & Scotland into their ancient name of great Brittaine, 76,


76n6, 90n44 The Irish Masque at Court, 37, 38n65 Ivic, Christopher, 4n10, 32n42, 83n24 James VI/1, 4, 17, 19, 22, 25, 37, 51, 51n33, 51n35, 76n4, 88, 88n39, 88n40, 89, 128, 142, 143, 152, 153, 154, 173, 175, 179, 184, 193, 195 James, Mervyn, 195n24 Jamy, Captain, 85 Jenkins, Beriah Gwynfe, 213 Jenkins, Captain in Northward Ho!, 2 Jenkins, Geraint H., 17n25 Jenkins, Thomas, 205, 208 John of Gaunt, 84 Johnson, Henry Vaughan, 214 Johnson, Samuel, 187 Jones, Alice, 1n4 Jones, Ann Rosalind, 102n37 Jones, Charles, 111, 112 Jones, Davy, 208, 209n72 Jones, Emrys, 138n33, 151n32, 170n32, 174n38 Jones, Garmon W., 183n28, 183n31 Jones, Inigo, 128, 128n4, 197 Jones, J. Gwynfor, 23n6, 120n27 Jones, J.T., 211 Jones, T. Gwynn, 213, 213n5, 214 Jonson, Ben, 10, 22, 36, 36n56, 37, 38, 38n65, 88, 88n38, 89, 128, 128n4, 138, 179, 181 Joughin, John, 82n20 Kahn, Coppélia, 127n1, 137n29 Kamuf, Peggy, 196n26 Kearney, Hugh, 80n10 Kelton, Arthur, 22, 26, 27, 27n20, 27n21, 27n22, 27n23, 27n24, 161, 174, 175, 200 Kerrigan, John, 139n33, 197, 197n31 Kieckhefer, Richard, 50n30 King, Andrew, 4, 172n35 King, Ros, 170n32 King Solomon’s Mines, 144 Klein, Bernhard, 27n24 Knights, L.C., 188 Knowles, Ronald, 114n9 Kurland, Stuart M., 154, 154n44


Shakespeare and Wales

Kindera, Milan, 100n28 Kytö, Merja, 93n5 Lamb, Mary Ellen, 10, 10n7 Landreth, David, 207, 207n68 Lawrence, Jason, 139n33 Lawrence, W.J., 208n69 Leavis, F.R., 188 Leland, John, 160n10, 161 Lenin, V.I., 211 Leuvensteijn, J.A. Van, 95n14 Levack, Brian, 76, 76n5 Levin, Richard, 2n7, 186, 186n41, 187 Lewis, Ceri W., 13n15 Lewis, Saunders, 216, 216n12, 216n13 Lily, William, 207 Lindsey, Robert, 193n13 Lleweni Fychan, Gruffydd ab Ieuan ap (daughters Alis, Catrin and Gwen), 13 Lloyd, John Edward, 179 Lloyd, Lodowick, 24, 24n12 Lloyd, Megan, 5, 7n2, 14, 15, 41, 180, 192, 193n8, 197n33, 198n35 Lloyd-Morgan, Ceridwen, 11 Llwyd/Lhuyd, Humphrey, 28n30, 30n35, 160, 160n11 Locrine, 145, 145n5, 154, 155 Loomba, Ania, 10n10, 95n11, 178n7 Loughrey, Bryan, 34n51 Louis XIII, 155 Mabinogion, 33n45 MacCabe, Colin, 32n41 Machiavelli, Niccolo, 133, 155n47 MacDougall, Hugh, 101n35, 109n56 McEachern, Claire, 105–6 McGurk, John, 112n4 McIlwraith, A.K., 149n19 McIntyre, Andrew, 93n5 McLeod, Ian, 28n29 Macmorris, Captain, 81n19, 85 Maley, Willy, 2n7, 3n9, 81n17, 82n20, 90n43, 97n17, 102n36, 117n17, 153n41, 160n9, 178n4, 199, 199n40, 200n44 Malory, Thomas, 149 Marcus, Leah, 147n15, 152, 152n34

Marlowe, Christopher, 40, 40n72, 167n24, 193n13 Marshall, Tristan, 134n19, 139n35 Maro, Publius Virgilius, 148 Martin, Patrick, 194n17 Maurice, Sir William, 16, 17, 18, 150 Mawr, Rhodri, 30 May, Steven, 89n42 Mechain, Gwerful, 11, 12 Mehl, James, 80n13, 178n6 Melchiori, Giorgio, 91n2, 95n10 Meredith, John ap, 183 Merlin, 24, 31, 33, 125, 128, 129, 197, 204 Merriman, Marcus, 197n31 Middleton, Thomas, 15, 34n51, 62n14, 198 Miles, Gareth, 1n1, 211,216, 216n14 Milton, John, 33n47, 193 Mine Owne John Poynz, 173 The Miracvlovs and Happie Union of England and Scotland, 79n7 Mirror for Magistrates, 53, 53n42, 55, 55n55 The Misfortunes of Arthur, 24 Moffet, Robin, 209n75 Monipennie, John, 151, 151n31 Morgan, Gerald, 61n9, 65n25 Morgan, Prys, 208n70 Morgann, Maurice, 177, 177n2, 178 Morrill, John, 79, 79n8, 79n9, 81n16 Morte D’Arthur, 149 Mortimer, Edmund, 43, 44, 53, 59, 60, 63, 63n16, 66, 67, 67n36, 68, 68n37, 69, 70, 70n42, 71, 123 Mortimer, Ralph, 66 Mowat, Barbara, 83n22 Mugglestone, Lynda, 93n5 Mulcaster, Richard, 205 Mullaney, Steven, 95, 95n10, 95n12, 95n13 Munday, Anthony, 128n7 Murphy, Andrew, 3n9, 85n30, 86 My Own Private Idaho, 202 Neale, J.E., 194n16, 195n24 Neill, Michael, 64n19, 81n18, 83n22, 118n19 Newey, Vincent, 47n23 Nicolson, Adam, 192n4, 192n7, 194n18,

Index 194n20 The Night-Walker, 34n51 Norbrook, David, 32n41 Northward Ho!, 2, 34, 34n51, 62n14 Norton, Thomas, 149n19 Oberon, The Faery Prince, 138, 138n32 Octavian, 172 Oliver, H.J., 107, 107n52 Olivier, Lawrence, 219 O’Neill, Hugh, 45, 186 Ong, Walter, 206n65 Orgel, Stephen, 128n4 Orkin, Martin, 10n10, 95n11, 179n7 Orwell, George, 207 Owen, Dyfnallt, 4, 17n25, 64n18, 66, 66n27, 111, 111n2, 111n3, 169n31, 200n43 Owen, George, 146, 146n10 Owen, Hugh, 184 Owen, John, 200n42 Page, Ann, 92, 93 Page, George, 94, 100, 107 Page, Margaret, 205, 207 Parker, Patricia, 98n22, 102n36, 106n44, 178n4, 187 Parolin, Peter, 151n32 Parry, Blanche, 192 Parry, Graham, 161n15, 170n32, 173n37 Partridge, Eric, 117n16 Paston, John, 192n4 Patient Grissill, 15, 34, 34n51, 35, 41, 62, 62n14, 93, 102 Patterson, Annabel, 33n47 Patterson, W.B., 209n75 Peacham, Henry, 205 Peele, George, 113, 143 Percy, Henry, 43, 66n31 Perrot, James, 146 Perrot, Thomas, 147 Phaer, Thomas, 146 Philadelphus or a Defence of Brutes, 31 Philip II, 24n11 Philips, Katherine, 125, 125n31, 126 Phillips, Augustine, 181 Phillips, John, 146, Phillips, William, 146


Pinchbeck, Ivy, 205n62 Pistol, 86 Pitteger, Elizabeth, 207, 207n66, 297n67 Pocock, John, 16n20, 45, 45n10, 81n16 Pohlig, Veronika, 205n59 Poly-Olbion, 38, 39, 39n69 Portland, William, 95n14 Powel, David, 160n11 Powell, Nia, 11, 12n12, 13n14, 13n17 Powers, Alan, 88n37 Price, Cecil, 215n9 Prince Henry’s Barriers, 128, 128n4, 130, 130n13 Pugliatti, Paola, 97n17 Purchas, Samuel, 144 Puttenham, George, 99, 99n23, 99n24 Quiney, Adrian, 209n72 Quinn, David Beers, 4, 185 Quint, David, 85n27, 87n34 Rackin, Phyllis, 8n4, 69n41 Randolph, Thomas, 23, 23n4 Rees, Joan, 47, 47n23, 87n33, 181, 181n19 Rees, J.F., 197n28 Rees, Sarah Jane, 211 Remains Concerning Britain, 100n31, 149, 149n21, 153, 153n42 A Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, 107n44 Rhodes, Neil, 114n9 Rhys, John David, 61 Rhys, Sion Dafydd (John Davies of Brecon), 36 Ribner, Irving, 136n26 Rice, John, 181 Richard II, 54, 63n16, 68, 107n49 Richards, Jennifer, 7n1 Richards, Melville, 60n5, 62n14 Richardson, Malcolm, 95n14, 95n15 Riggs, David, 88n40 Robert, Gruffydd, 60 Roberts, Michael, 12 Roberts, Peter, 32n44, 60n4 Roderick, A.J., 60n4 Romaine, Suzaine, 93n5 Romany, Frank, 193n13 Rowley, William, 34n51


Shakespeare and Wales

Rowse, A.L., 24, 25n16, 25n17 Russell, Conrad, 81n16 Sackville, Thomas, Lord Buckhurst, 149n19, 154 Saint George, 135n22 Salesbury, William, 13, 70n42, 118, 119, 119n20, 119n21, 119n22, 120, 120n24 Salusbury, John, 194, 194n16 Salmon, David, 34, 34n50, 34n51 Satiromastix, 34, 34n51 Schafer, Murray, 111n1 Schmidt, Leigh Eric, 112, 112n6 Schoenbaum, Samuel, 191n1 The School of Complement, 34n51 Schwyzer, Philip, 4n10, 27n24, 28n30, 76n6, 86n31, 86n32, 98n20, 129, 129n8, 145, 145n7, 156, 150n24, 160n9, 161n13, 187, 193, 193n9, 196, 196n26, 197n29, 201, 201n48, 202n50, 209, 209n73 Seisyllt, Dafydd, 25 Selincourt, E. de, 24n14 Shakespeare, John, 26, 182 Shakespeare, William, All’s Well That Ends Well, 71 As You Like It, 172, 194, 194n18, 205 Cymbeline, 2, 4, 8, 15, 16, 40, 117, 117n18, 127–42, 143–55, 157–75, 181, 184, 209, 210, 215 Hamlet, 1, 5, 196, 211, 212 1 Henry IV, 2, 5, 8, 11, 12, 13, 16, 19, 41, 43, 43n3, 44n16, 48, 50, 53, 59, 61n13, 62, 63n16, 67, 67n35, 71, 73, 97, 98, 99, 114, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 178, 180, 184, 202 2 Henry IV, 2, 54, 54n46, 105n43, 198, 205 Henry V, 2, 3, 4, 5, 18, 26, 35, 62, 63, 71, 75–90, 91n3, 96, 97, 99, 105, 108, 109, 115, 121, 124, 178, 180, 183, 195, 196, 199, 201, 205, 210, 218, 219 King Lear, 2, 162, 204, 215, 217 Love’s Labour’s Lost, 201 Macbeth, 2, 3, 32n41, 152, 185, 213, 214 The Merchant of Venice, 180

The Merry Wives of Windsor, 2, 4, 62, 88, 91, 91n1, 91n2, 92, 93, 94, 94n9, 95n10, 96, 97, 98, 99, 103, 103n39, 105, 107n51, 107n52, 109, 113, 114, 118, 121, 178, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 215 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 9, 94n8, 205, 217 Much Ado About Nothing, 205 Othello, 153 Pericles, 154 Richard II, 2, 4, 195, 196 Richard III, 2, 24, 40, 143 Romeo and Juliet, 5 The Tempest, 154, 155, 185 Titus Andronicus, 124 Troilus and Cressida, 180 Twelfth Night, 159, 159n8 Two Gentlemen of Verona, 208 A Winter’s Tale, 155, 158, 158n5, 159 Sharpe, Kevin, 32n41 Sherman, William, 24, 24n8, 30n34 Shirley, James, 34n51 The Shoemakers Holiday, 34, 34n51 Shrank, Cathy, 93n5, 107n49 Sidney, Sir Henry, 38, 191, 191n2 Sidney, Philip, 22, 38, 38n64, 38n65, 38n66, 38n68, 139, 161, 161n14, 169n29, 191, 192, 192n4 Simonds, Peggy Muñoz, 151, 151n30, 153n38 Simpson, Percy, 138n32 Sinfield, Alan, 2n6, 32n41, 98n22, 199, 199n38, 208n69 Sir John Oldcastle, 113 Skelton, R.A., 75n2 Smith, Bruce, 116, 116n14 Smith, J.C., 24n14 Smith, Llinos Beverley, 65, 65n23, 65n26 Smith, Roland, 30n33, 34n49 Smith, Warren, 82, 82n21 Speed, John, 4, 75, 75n2, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 90 Spenser, Edmund, 10, 24, 24n14, 31, 148, 148n18, 172, 183 Stallybrass, Peter, 102n37 Stanley, William, 195 Stephens, Meic, 213n4

Index Stern, Tiffany, 162n18 Stevens, Wallace, 40 Stewart, Alan, 206, 206n65 Stewart, Andrew, 149, 149n23, 150n23 Stianax [Astyanax], 2 Stratford, William, 212 Stringer, Keith, 81n16, 128n17 Strong, Roy, 128, 128n3, 128n4, 130n15, 136n25 Suggett, Richard, 60n6 Sullivan, Garrett, 140n36, 148, 184, 184n35 Suzuki, Mihoko, 112n5, 114 Talbot, George, 195 Taliesin, 2 Tatlock, John, 18n14 Taylor, Gary, 82n21, 87n36, 98n19, 113n7, 158n5 Taylor, Neil, 34n51 Tethys Festival, 130n14, 138 Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine, 75, 79 Thomas, D. Lleufer, 177, 181n20 Thomas, Patrick, 125n31 Thomas, Rhys ap, 195 Thompson, Ann, 47n23 Thornborough, John, 4n10, 76, 76n6 Tillyard, E.M.W., 187 Tilney, Charles, 154 Tree, Beerbohm, 61n13, 180 Trumpener, Katie, 8n5 Tudeau-Clayton, Margaret, 4, 94n8, 102n36, 105n42 Tudor, Arthur, 127 Tudor, Henry, 143, 183, 184 Tudor, Owen, 25, 56, 201 Tudor, Siôn, 13 Two Maids of More-Clacke, 113, 115, 115n2, 118, 204 The Valiant Welshman, 4, 34n51, 37n61 Van Dorsten, Jan, 161n4 Van Es, Bart, 33n46 Vaughan, Henry, 162n18 Vaughan, William, 179 Vergil, Polydore, 27, 147, 148, 160, 166, 171, 174, 196, 197n31


Verne, Jules, 211 Verstegan, Richard, 92n4, 98n21, 101, 101n35, 106, 107n49 Virgil, 94n8 Walkington, Thomas, 88 Wall, Wendy, 208n71 Wandel, Lee Palmer, 106n46 Warner, William, 25, 25n15, 145n6, 150, 151n26 Warren, Michelle, 110n57 Warren, Roger, 117n18, 158n4, 165n22 Warwick, Earl of, 54 Webster, John, 2n7 The Wedding, 34n51 Weis, Rene, 54n46, 54n47, 55n48 Wells, Robin Headlam, 51n36, 161n15 Wells, Stanley, 158n4 The Welsh Embassador, 34, 34n51, 102n38 A Welsh Grammar, 68 Werstine, Paul, 83n22 Westward Ho, 94, 103 White, Eryn M., 17n25, 60n6 White, R.S., 107n51, 208n69 Whittier, Gayle, 178, 178n7 Wilcox, Helen, 12 Williams, Chris, 185n40 Williams, Glanmor, 18n26, 23n6, 24n10, 45n7, 45n11, 46n15, 46n18, 48n64, 52n38, 52n39, 52n40, 52n41, 55n2, 59n1, 60n4, 60n8, 61n12, 66, 66n29, 69n40 Williams, Gwyn, 1n2, 24n11, 26, 26n19, 30n32, 60n4, 182, 182n24, 191n3, 195n21, 196n27, 197, 197n30, 197n32, 199n39 Williams, Michael, 86–7 Williams, Morgan, 195 Williams, Penry, 60n4, 60n7, 69n40, 193n13, 194n15, 194n16, 201, 201n47 Williams, Raymond, 187, 187n45, 188, 188n46, 189, 189n49, 210 Williams, Roger, 33n48 Williams, W. Ogwen, 61n11, 63, 63n17, 65n24, 67n34, 69n39 Wilson, Thomas, 92, 93, 93n5, 101, 101n33, 102, 103, 104, 105, 108


Shakespeare and Wales

Wilson, Woodrow, 204n57 Woolf, D.R., 25n16, 161n17 Wormald, Jenny, 81n16, 128n7 The Worthines of Wales, 27, 27n25, 169 Wray, Ramona, 3n9, 85n30 Wright, Laura, 93n5 Wrightson, Keith, 23n6 Wyatt, Thomas, 173 Wylie, J.H., 183

Wymer, Rowland, 51n36, 139n33, 161n15 Wynn, Watkins William, 215 Yeatman, Pym, 8 Yeats, W.B., 213 Yewlett, Hilary Lloyd, 2n5 Zimmerman, Elizabeth, 127n1 Zitner, Sheldon Paul, 51n31, 61n13, 71n45 Zwicker, Steven, 32n41