Rosalynd, the Euphuistic Novel of Thomas Lodge
and Edward de Vere’s As You Like It
By Charles Graves
Annual Meeting of the De Vere Society, Oxford
11 April 2015
The subject matter of my speech is Rosalynd, the ‘Euphuistic’ novel of Thomas Lodge, which has been taken over by Edward de Vere and his friends at ‘Fisher’s Folly’ house in north-east London. Edward presided over a group of writers there including John Lyly (Edward’s secretary); Robert Greene, Anthony Munday and probably also Thomas Lodge himself - the author of Rosalynd. (cf. Mark Anderson, ‘Shakespeare’ By Another Name, Gotham Press, New York 2005, p. 231). Rosalynd (which can be easily purchased at alibris.uk and one version is edited by Brian Nellist (Ryburn Renaissance Texts and Studies 1995, 128 pp.)) is a ‘Euphuistic’ pastoral comedy with the same theme as As You Like It – an exiled duke in Ardenne forest and a series of love-affairs and marriages which take place in a forest setting where some characters (the duke’s exiled court) are hunting deer and others (the young lovers) are wandering around or tending sheep.
The novel Rosalynd of Thomas Lodge has a lovely pastoral setting where budding, heterosexual love between young persons is illustrated by the most interesting conversations between various couples who, at the end, are married by the exiled duke, who later regains his kingdom, and rewards all the characters. Lodge has chosen France for this novel – but it is France without credible locations: there are widely-distanced places such as Bordeaux in the south-west and the Forest of Ardennes in the north-east, and including Lyons in the midst. The setting is purposefully vague since the real object of the story is, undoubtedly, to portray English courtly love and while repeating Thomas Lodge’s own personal problem of being a ‘second son’ who has been deprived of his father’s heritage and forced to live abroad. Lodge spent many years travelling in the Caribbean and South America but later studied medicine and, returning to his own university, practiced as a doctor here in Oxford.
The As You Like It version of Rosalynd most probably looks upon the earlier text’s ‘Ardenne forest’ as Britain’s own Warwickshire Forest of Arden. The connection of Edward de Vere and William Shakespeare with the Warwickshire Arden and Trussel families has been shown in my book (27 Essays on Edward de Vere and William Shakespeare, Amazon. com 2014, 399 pp) also in the lecture by Jan Cole here about the Warwickshire Throckmorton family. My research on the Trussel family (William Shakespeare and Edward de Vere both had Trussel grandmothers) and Jan Cole’s on the Arden and Throckmorton connections to both Edward de Vere and William Shakespeare, indicate that Edward de Vere and his Company of Players, when they visited Stratford upon Avon in 1584 – could have spoken with Mary Arden - Edward’s distant cousin - and taken William Shakespeare into the Company as an actor. Moreover, Arthur Throckmorton, Edward’s friend, had a manor at Alderminster a few miles south of Stratford and Arthur was Mary Arden’s second cousin. The conclusion is that William Shakespeare was launched into an acting career by his mother Mary Arden, using Edward de Vere and Arthur Throckmorton as sponsors.
Now, I wish to go through the text of As You Like It to show how it differs from Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynd. In general, the whole plot, setting and characters of Rosalynd are preserved by Edward de Vere and his colleagues. All of these were inspired by John Lyly’s Euphues books. Lodge’s Rosalynd is sub-titled ‘Euphues’ Golden Legacy: found after his death in his cell at Silexedra. Bequeathed to Philautus’ sons, nursed up with their father in England. The ‘legacy’ was fetched from the Canaries (Canary Islands in the Atlantic) by T.L., gent.’ (1)
The differences in the two texts are mainly in the names given to the characters and in the mild transformation of the sexuality of the main protagonists. Moreover, there are several characters added to Thomas Lodge’s story, namely Touchstone the clown, his girlfriend Audrey, the priest Sir Oliver Martext, the farmer-woodsman ‘William’, and the ‘melancholy’ philosopher-courtier Jaques.
We believe, in fact, that three of these new characters represent different aspects of the playwright himself, i.e. aspects of Edward de Vere. Even the principal character, Rosalynd (who is principal both in Thomas Lodge and also in As You Like It) is used to express some of Edward de Vere’s ideas.
Rosalynd is a novel, whereas As You Like It is a play. The discourse of the novel is transformed by the play into action upon a stage and new emotion brought to the watchers and hearers by the explosive entries of the various actors. This occurs with sometimes surprising but always pertinent extension of the plot as it moves towards the happy ending. Pitying, personal identification with the exiled characters is promoted whereas in Lodge’s Rosalynd the reader enters a certain utopia of pleasurable emotions but hardly any bringing forth of any real crises. Edward de Vere and his friends, in As You Like It, have injected real feeling into the original Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynd.
About the choice of new names for the characters there are many possible explanations, but we may propose a few: Orlando (originally called Rosater in Lodge’s work) may represent the famous musician Orlandus Lassus (Orlando de Lasso) (?1532-1594) a contemporary of Edward de Vere who visited England in 1574-1579. The character Orlando’s poems may reflect the musical sonnets of Orlando de Lasso); Sir Olivier Martext, the priest, may represent Job Throckmorton, putative author of the ‘Martin Marprelate’ essays – writings of a fictional ‘non-conformist’ English Protestant priest (Jan Cole will tell us more about him); Sir Rowland de Bois (who replaces Sir John of Bordeaux) as father of the main male protagonists – the name may have been chosen by Edward because of his family relations with the English de Bois family; ‘farmer-woodsman ‘William’ – certainly referring to William Shakespeare (Edward’s distant cousin in the Trussel and Arden lines). Then, Touchsone and his girlfriend Audrey (‘touchstone’ being a geological object used for testing the ‘truth’ of gold; ‘Audrey’ as representing certain homonyms such as ‘auditor’ (of a play), ‘author’ (of a play) ‘Aubrey’ (name of certain de Vere family members) etc.;
In Lodge’s novel there are three couples married (by the Duke) at the end of the play. As You Like It adds a fourth couple: Touchstone and Audrey. I believe this couple represents a comic metaphor for Edward de Vere’s bi-sexuality and also an assertion that it is Edward de Vere who is the author of the play and not William Shakespeare. But since Touchstone and Audrey are married like the others, it appears that Edward goes along with the public heterosexuality ideal.
One constant between Thomas Lodge and As You Like It is the character Rosalynd, but there seems to have taken place a subtle change in how she is presented in the play from how she was presented in the novel. For Lodge, Rosalyn goes into exile in the costume of the male page of Aliena, a woman (name in exile of Alinda, Rosalynd’s cousin). In As You Like It, Rosalynd is disguised as (and is to be known as) Ganymede – a character out of Greek classic lore – he who was the cup-bearer and page of King Zeus and the homosexual object of the King. Hence, by choosing to give Lodge’s unnamed female-male ‘page’ the name Ganymede the author of As You Like It is emphasizing the fact that the personage had to take upon herself a disguise of a known homosexual object.
Moreover, in As You Like It, Rosalynd has many male characteristics in her discourse along with the male dress on her body. She becomes the main female protagonist whereas in the novel Rosalynd Lodge keeps her subservient to Aliena as Aliena’s page boy. The character Rosalynd in As You Like It treats Phoebe (who has rejected her lover Silvius) with male-like ferocity when Phoebe (believing Rosalynd is a boy) falls in love with her.
I believe Phoebe represents the type of Anne Vavasour (Edward de Vere’s mistress with whom he had an illegitimate child ‘Edward Vere’). Phoebe’s ‘black hair, black eyes’ remind us of the female object of some of the Sonnets (she whom we have identified as Anne Vavasour). In my opinion Rosalynd in As You Like It is the female aspect of Edward de Vere’s personality. She is in love with Orlando and she rejects Phoebe’s love (that of Anne Vavasour, Edward’s mistress about whom he wrote in the Sonnets as having – like Phoebe- black hair, black complexion etc).
As for Touchstone and Audrey this couple signifies Edward de Vere as a person and as comic writer. The name Audrey signifies ‘auditors’, ‘author’, etc. the object of Touchstone’s attention. Touchstone is portrayed as bi-sexual (cf. Act 2, scene 4, lines 47 ff.) as seen in his comments about wooing the ‘piececods’ instead of Audrey (really ‘codpieces’ which 16th century males wore over their private parts) Touchstone would ‘take two cods’ that is, the male genitals, and ‘give them to her again and saying with weeping tears, ‘wear these for my sake’. He wished Audrey was a male. At the same time, however, he wanted heterosexual, ‘foul’ love with his prospective wife Audrey. Touchstone shows forth Edward’s bi-sexuality (cf. Edward’s early poems and Sonnets directed to men and women in my book op. cit., Essays number 1 and 4). Rosalynd, mentioning the shepherd Silvius’ love for Phoebe, says: ‘this shepherd’s passion is much like my fashion’, i.e. her love for Orlando. But Touchstone comments: ‘and mine (i.e. my passion) but (he says) it grows stale within me’ (perhaps indicating Touchstone’s (i.e. Edward de Vere’s) efforts to by-pass his forms of sexuality.
Later in the drama (Act 5, scene 1, lines 45 ff.) Touchstone threatens the farmer-forester ‘William’ that he must leave Audrey. It means that William Shakespeare (that has been taking credit in London for authoring Edward de Vere’s plays) must leave Audrey (his supposed fiancée) indicating William Shakespeare must leave the ‘auditors’ of plays and the ‘authors’ of plays: he is not the real author. The real author is ipse i.e. Touchstone who is Edward de Vere (this ipse is a reference to the Greek Pythagoras: when someone wished to know the author of a mathematical equation – it was Pythagoras ‘himself (ipse). If ‘William’ (Audrey’s lover) does not leave her and everyone, Touchstone (Edward de Vere) will force him to do so. Thus As You Like It includes an implicit public threat if William Shakespeare (farmer ‘William’ claiming ‘Audrey’) persists in claiming authorship of de Vere’s plays. (2)
Finally, we have the new character Jaques, a philosopher-courtier who wishes to escape society and live in the forest. At the end he will live in a cave. (3) Jaques makes comments about court life and its meanness - using the simile of a wounded deer who sheds needless tears in a river and is forsaken by other, unwounded deer. Here is a symbol of Edward’s many times spoken-about ‘disgrace’ at court. Moreover Jaques dwells upon the “Seven Causes” concerning interpersonal, inappropriate statements among courtiers and how a legal punishment can be avoided if the protagonists use the little ‘if’ meaning it may or may not be so. Edward’s word battles with Philip Sydney and Thomas Knyvett were of the type.
Why was the name ‘Jaques’ chosen for this personage in As You Like It? One likely parallel would be with Jacques Amyot, Edward’s French friend and fellow Renaissance literatus. Jacques Amyot did the translation from the Greek of Daphnis et Chloe, and in this book by Longus (4th century writer) there are several items relevant to Rosalynd and to As You Like It. The homosexual Gnathan in Daphnis et Chloe is rehabilitated at the end of the story and instead of being Daphnis’ oppressive lover, he becomes his faithful servant. The patron of the marriage feast of Daphnis et Chloe is the goddess Hymen (as in As You Like It but not in Rosalynd). The Daphnis et Chloe tale notes the character Ganymede ‘who was loved by Jupiter’ and was his page. This theme is included in AYLI and obliquely in Rosalynd. It is, thus, evident that Edward de Vere added material from Amyot’s translation into French of Daphnis et Chloe whereas Thomas Lodge did not include these in Rosalynd.
Jacques Amyot’s one other major translations from the Greek and Latin were the Works of Plutarch (1st century) and Amyot’s French version was quite widely available already in 1583, with his own corrections and was later annotated by the French Protestant scholar Simon Goulart. Goulart was drawing all the moral implications from Amyot’s writings in general including Les Oeuvres Morales de Plutarque- first printed in Paris in 1559-1567) and probably either William Cecil or Edward received the earlier versions. (4) John Lyly in his Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit, indirectly indicates that ‘Jaques’ in As You Like It may be an indirect reference to Jacques Amyot the French translator of Plutarch since both Euphues and Jaques retreat from active public life into a melancholic state. Of course, in As You Like It the implication is that the author of the play has similar sentiments to those of Jaques, i.e. how Edward de Vere might escape a public ‘disgrace’.
In conclusion, let us observe the pattern of literature that fed the Euphuistic group: At the origin Jacques Amyot the cleric and tutor of the French dauphins who translated Plutarch’s works as well as Longus’ Daphnis et Chloe; then John Lyly, the Oxford scholar and one-time secretary of Edward de Vere (to whom he dedicated his second volume entitled Euphues and his England). Lyly used Amyot’s Plutarch liberally and particularly the article from Plutarch’s Les Oeuvres Morales about a child’s education: Then comes Thomas Lodge who so-to-speak completed John Lyly’s work with his own Rosalynd, sub-titled Euphues Golden Legacy found after his death in his cell at Silexedra and bequeathed to Philautus’ sons (in England). Finally comes Edward de Vere in the play As You Like It who copies Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynd modifying some characters and adding others. These modifications build not only upon Lodge’s Rosalynd but also upon Lyly’s Euphues (note Euphues ending at Silexedra and Jaques ending in a forest cave):
LODGE DE VERE
According to Brian Nellist (see reference in my speech) the idea of Rosalynd began with an obscure Canterbury Tale poem entitled Gamelyn (often not printed in Chaucer), a story set in England of the smaller gentry with the three sons of ‘Sir John of Bounds – John, Ote, and Gamelyn’ and how the father favoured the youngest son and how Gamelyn is defrauded by the eldest brother John.
Thus both Edward de Vere and Thomas Lodge probably had this poem available as source material, and Edward had no need of Lodge’s Rosalynd to begin writing AYLI.
But I think AYLI came after Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynd. The tracts of Martin Marprelate appeared in 1588 (it appears that the ASYI character Sir Oliver Martext is an indirect reference to those tracts) and so ASYI was, no doubt, written after 1588. Lodge’s Rosalynd appeared in 1590 (date on the title page). Thus, if de Vere wrote AYLI prior to Lodge’s Rosalynd, it would have to have been made (produced, publicized etc.) before 1590.
Moreover, we believe AYLI has references to Shakespeare trying to claim - in some fashion or other - the authorship of de Vere’s writings (note: the person of the character ‘peasant ‘William’ in the play). But ‘William Shakespeare’ was ‘allowed’ (we believe) by Edward to be the ‘author’ of the poem Venus and Adonis which appeared only in 1593 and which was dedicated to Henry Earl of Southampton. If Edward de Vere was unhappy with his ‘creature’ William Shakespeare of Stratford before 1593 (i.e. if he wrote ASYI before Lodge’s Rosalynd) why did he then attribute the beautiful poem Venus and Adonis (1593) to W.S.?
I believe the inspiration for Venus and Adonis was Henry Wriothesley and that Edward de Vere came to know him at least around 1590 when Henry was a proposed husband of his daughter Elizabeth, and that Edward ‘fell in love’ with Henry at that time. That is the reason for the inspired poem about Venus and Adonis.
Hence we have to believe that AYLI appeared after 1590, perhaps at about 1593 when Edward was hearing that W.S. was beginning to claim authorship of his own works. Because of this the character ‘William’ was placed in AYLI and Touchstone denounced him.
I think the character Rosalynd in AYLI represents Edward’s womanish love for Henry, Earl of Southampton (‘Orlando’) and that Edward re-wrote Lodge’s novel to suit his own purposes (adding Touchstone, Audrey, William, Jaques etc.) . But both authors used John Lyly’s Euphues novels and ‘Touchstone’ was referring to an event in Euphues and his England where Philautus misunderstood Euphues’ ‘love of English women’). But they both were influenced by Canterbury Tales (note the use of the Knight’s Tale as important source for MSND).
However, there are a few problems with dating AYLI to 1593 or after. One is that by that late date inferences about Martin Marprelate would not be popular since hardly remembered and, moreover, Edward would already be involved in writing Venus and Adonis and he, and the public, would have little interest in Rosalynd. This seems to indicate an earlier writing of AYLI contemporaneous with the writing of Rosalynd . But, again, if AYLI was written before Venus and Adonis, how could W.S. be known as taking credit for Edward’s works when the first time W.S.’s name came before the public was in 1593? (dedication by W.S. to Henry Wriothesley)?
So, it may appear, we could hypothesise, that AYLI was written at approximately the same time as Venus and Adonis, between 1590-1593, and it was based upon Thomas Lodge’s Rosalyn. It included a ‘warning’ to W.S. as Shakespeare’s name was about to be used as author of Venus and Adonis.
Referring to the beginning of this paper, if Edward de Vere wrote AYLI prior to Lodge’s Rosalynd because he read the ‘Canterbury Tale’ of ‘Gamelin’ (see above), why use such a tale and develop it into AYLI? The subject matter, although interesting, did not relate to Edward’s preoccupations; he was not ‘English gentry’, like ‘Sir John of Bounds’ or his sons, and he was not disinherited (as Thomas Lodge appears to have been, at least partially). Thomas Lodge, as ‘gentry’ would be very interested in that story as being a ‘disinherited’ son at the profit of an older brother.
On rhe other hand, Edward had many reasons to adapt Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynd (already, or about to be, published) for his own purposes – namely to show his newly- found love for Henry Wriothesley and justify his personality (using the character ‘Touchstone’ reflecting John Lyly’s use of the term ‘touchstone’ in Euphues and his England) (see above). So we return to my theory (outlined in my book 2014) that Edward de Vere’s ‘Muse’ (and an important impetus for his writing career after 1590) was his love for Henry Wriothesley, as demonstrated in the Sonnets. Lodge’s Rosalynd was a public success and, following that success, de Vere penned AYLI to (1) follow-up on Lyly’s Euphues and his England (Lodge did the same); (2) show his own personality, using Touchstone, Audrey, Jaques etc.(3) refer to his acquaintance with the translator of Daphnis et Chloe and Plutarch’s Lives - Jacques Amyot; and (4) warn W.S. about any presumption to ‘marry Audrey’ (i.e. be the ‘author’ of ‘Shakespeare’s’ works).
Thus, I believe AYLI was written and perhaps performed circa. 1590-1592 i.e. after Edward knew Henry Wriothesley (circa. 1590) and after Lodge’s Rosalynd was published (1590) but before Martin Marprelate would be forgotten.
13 March 2015
ADDENDA TO 27 ESSAYS
Photograph: Hedingham Castle, Essex, by Derek Voller