Obscure French History

 

The author of "Love's Labour's Lost" had knowledge of a very obscure event in the History of Navarre, an event that would be unknown in England in Shakespeare's time.

Monstrelet in his chronicles tells us that Charles, King Of Navarre, surrendered to King Henry IV of France his castle of Cherbourg and all other lordships he possessed withing the Kingdom of France, in consideration of King Henry transferring to him the castle of Nemours and undertaking to pay him 200,000 gold crowns.

This incident is referred to in "Love's Labour's Lost" as follows:
"Madam, your father her doth intimate
The payment of a hundred thousand crowns,
Being but one half of an entire sum,
Disbursed by my father in his wars.
But say that he or we(as neither have)
Received that sum; yet there remains unpaid
A hundred thousand more.
-Act 2, Scene 1

 

As the chronicles of Monstrelet were not translated into English until 1809, or more than two hundred years after the play was written, it follows that "Shakespeare" must have been able to read Monstrelet in the original French, but, as before stated, there is no evidence that Will Shaksper could read French.

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