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Bussy D'Ambois and The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois   By: (1559?-1634)

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Transcriber's Note: Words italicized in the original are surrounded by underscores . Words in bold in the original are surrounded by =equal signs=. Words in Greek in the original are transliterated and placed between plus signs. A complete list of corrections follows the text.

BUSSY D'AMBOIS

AND

THE REVENGE OF BUSSY D'AMBOIS

BY GEORGE CHAPMAN

EDITED BY

FREDERICK S. BOAS, M.A.

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN QUEEN'S COLLEGE, BELFAST

BOSTON, U.S.A., AND LONDON D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS 1905

COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY D. C. HEATH & CO.

Prefatory Note

In this volume an attempt is made for the first time to edit Bussy D'Ambois and The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois in a manner suitable to the requirements of modern scholarship. Of the relations of this edition to its predecessors some details are given in the Notes on the Text of the two plays. But in these few prefatory words I should like to call attention to one or two points, and make some acknowledgments.

The immediate source of Bussy D'Ambois still remains undiscovered. But the episodes in the career of Chapman's hero, vouched for by contemporaries like Brantôme and Marguerite of Valois, and related in some detail in my Introduction , are typical of the material which the dramatist worked upon. And an important clue to the spirit in which he handled it is the identification, here first made, of part of Bussy's dying speech with lines put by Seneca into the mouth of Hercules in his last agony on Mount Oeta. The exploits of D'Ambois were in Chapman's imaginative vision those of a semi mythical hero rather than of a Frenchman whose life overlapped with his own.

On the provenance of The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois I have been fortunately able, with valuable assistance from others, to cast much new light. In an article in The Athenæum , Jan. 10, 1903, I showed that the immediate source of many of the episodes in the play was Edward Grimeston's translation (1607) of Jean de Serres's Inventaire Général de l'Histoire de France . Since that date I owe to Mr. H. Richards, Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford, the important discovery that a number of speeches in the play are borrowed from the Discourses of Epictetus, from whom Chapman drew his conception of the character of Clermont D'Ambois. My brother in law, Mr. S. G. Owen, Student of Christ Church, has given me valuable help in explaining some obscure classical allusions. Dr. J. A. H. Murray, the editor of the New English Dictionary , has kindly furnished me with the interpretation of a difficult passage in Bussy D'Ambois ; and Mr. W. J. Craig, editor of the Arden Shakespeare, and Mr. Le Gay Brereton, of the University of Sidney, have been good enough to proffer helpful suggestions. Finally I am indebted to Professor George P. Baker, the General Editor of this Series, for valuable advice and help on a large number of points, while the proofs of this volume were passing through the press.

F. S. B.

Biography

George Chapman was probably born in the year after Elizabeth's accession. Anthony Wood gives 1557 as the date, but the inscription on his portrait, prefixed to the edition of The Whole Works of Homer in 1616, points to 1559. He was a native of Hitchin in Hertfordshire, as we learn from an allusion in his poem Euthymiæ Raptus or The Teares of Peace , and from W. Browne's reference to him in Britannia's Pastorals as "the learned shepheard of faire Hitching Hill." According to Wood "in 1574 or thereabouts, he being well grounded in school learning was sent to the University." Wood is uncertain whether he went first to Oxford or to Cambridge, but he is sure, though he gives no authority for the statement, that Chapman spent some time at the former "where he was observed to be most excellent in the Latin & Greek tongues, but not in logic or philosophy, and therefore I presume that that was the reason why he took no degree there... Continue reading book >>




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