The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0004  Sunday, 3 January 1999.

From:           Dave Sohmer <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 31 Dec 1998 20:16:50 EST
Subject:        Re: Help!

Can anyone help me identify an article (or book) in which Muir and
Maxwell cite a passage of Cicero as one of Shakespeare's sources for
Richard II?

"Kenneth Muir and J.C. Maxwell demonstrated that Shakespeare borrowed
from a passage in Tusculan Disputations which alludes to Callanus. In
Richard II, as Bollinbroke anticipates his banishment he ruminates:

O, who can hold a fire in his hand
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus,
Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite
By bare imagination of a feast,
Or wallow naked in December snow
By thinking on fantastic summer's heat?
O no, the apprehension of the good
Gives but the greater feeling to the worse.
Fell sorrow's tooth doth never rankle more
Than when he bites, but lanceth not the sore. (1.3.257-66)

Muir and Maxwell (283ff) cite this passage of Cicero as Shakespeare's

Quae barbaria India vastior aut agrestior? in ea tamen gente primum ei,
qui sapientes habentur, nudi aetatem agunt et Caucasi nives hiemalemque
vim perferunt sine dolore, cumque ad flammam se applicaverunt, sine
gemitu aduruntur . . . .

What barbarous country more rude and wild than India? Yet amongst its
people those, to begin with, who are reckoned sages pass their lives
unclad and endure without show of pain the snows of the Hindu Kush and
the rigour of winter, and when they throw themselves into the flames
they let them-selves be burnt without a moan (Cicero Tusculan 505)."

Any help would be deeply appreciated.

Happy New Year!

Steve Sohmer

Subscribe to Our Feeds


Make a Gift to SHAKSPER

Consider making a gift to support SHAKSPER.