46. More of the “Arden” Passage in North’s Marked Chapter

As we saw in the previous posts, in 1591-2, North marked up his own copy of The Dial of Princes, using it as a workbook for plays he was either revising or writing at that time, especially working from chapters that he underscored in the table of contents. In one of these chapters, on page 149v, he marked a passage that would inspire a passage in the opening of scene 4 in Arden of Faversham. Now if you turn this page over, from 149v to 149, you find Aurelius’s description of a pained husband: “lifting up his eyes unto the heavens, fetching a grievous sigh from the bottom of his heart, [the husband] said these words…” And this is precisely how Franklin describes the pained-husband Arden, and he does so in the very same scene and exchange in which Arden, borrowing from 149v, talks about “the fear of God or common speech of men….” 

The Dial (149-149v), on fear of God, speech of men, malicious wives–and the description of suffering husband (same exchange)Arden, on fear of God, speech of men, malicious wives–and the description of suffering husband (same exchange)
If the fear of the gods…and the speech of men
do not restrain the woman, all the
chastisements of the world will
not make her refrain from vice (149v; 232)  
…deeply rooted in vices (147r; 229)
If fear of God or common speech of men
Might join repentance in her wanton thoughts
No question then but she would turn the leaf
But she is rooted in her wickedness…
And reprehension makes her vice to grow (4.3-12)
lifting up his eyes unto the heavens,
fetching a grievous sigh
from the bottom of his heart, said these words(149)  
What pity-moving words, what deep-fetched sighs,
What grievous groans and overlading woes…
Now will he cast his eyes up towards the heavens(4.40-46)
Isolated Correspondences Isolated Correspondences
If the fear of the Gods…and the speech of men If fear of God or common speech of men
rooted in vices rooted in wickedness
chastisements…will not make her refrain from vice Reprehension makes her vice to grow
lifting up his eyes unto the heavenscast his eyes up towards the heavens
fetching a grievous sigh … wordsWords, what deep-fetched sighs, / What grievous

We showed in the prior post that the “fear of God…speech of men” connection is unique. And so too is the rest. Indeed just a search of EEBO for word NEAR/10 sigh NEAR/10 fetch NEAR/10 grievous yields 9 records – and North is responsible for five of them: two editions of The Dial, one from North’s Nepos’ Lives, and two other works quoting North’s Nepos Lives.  Arden of Feversham and three other works have the other examples. When we include his eyes and the heavens, the match is unique.[1]

Yet again, in this same exchange, Franklin also observes that the distracted Arden frequently interrupts himself: “in the middle cutteth off his tale.” In the quarto version, off is spelled of. An EEBO search for cut PRE/0 “of his tale” yields only four results – North’s Plutarch, North’s Doni, Arden and one other work. Even a search for cut off the tale yields only 3 other results, and King John in the First Folio is one of them.[ii]  This is another Northern fingerprint in a passage that begins with a unique Northern grouping.


[1] For example, an EEBO-ProQuest search for word NEAR/10 fetch NEAR/10 sigh NEAR/10 grievous AND his PRE/0 eyes PRE/10 the PRE/0 heavens yields only The Dial and Arden of Feversham.

[2] The original EEBO may have had as many as nine examples of “cut off his tale.”

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