Jacobean Muscovites: Winter, Tyranny, and Knowledge in The Winter's Tale
Daryl W. Palmer
Muscovy matters to the English imagination in ways that have scarcely been remarked. To some observers in Jacobean England, mention of the place would have conjured up stories of wintry exploration and icy imperialism, beginning, no doubt, with the image of Sir Hugh Willoughby, frozen along with his company in a Lapland river. Sailing north for Cathay in 1553, Willoughby gave new meaning to the telling of tales in winter. The note detailing his final ice-bound days in the month of September, discovered in one of his two ships, inscribes the event: "Thus remaining in this haven the space of a weeke, seeing the yeare farre spent, & also very evill wether, as frost, snow, and haile, as though it had beene the deepe of winter, we thought best to winter there."1 Here is a story of winter coming before winter, of winter as fate and alien world, a narrative that breaks off because no one survives to finish it. The cold destruction of this winter's tale meshes in fascinating ways with the narrative of Richard Chancellor, who, having become separated from Willoughby in a tempest, voyaged on to make contact with Ivan the Terrible, emperor of Russia and the embodiment of rough, cold extremes. Chancellor, it was said, had discovered Russia.2 A flourishing trade developed alongside fragile diplomatic ties. Russian ambassadors visited London in 1557, 1569, 1582, and 1600. A little group of Muscovite students came in 1602 to study at Winchester, Eton, Cambridge, and Oxford.3 And tales proliferated, so that the mere mention of Muscovites would have brought to mind a picture of this terrible Ivan IV,4 the burly ruler who proposed marriage to one of Elizabeth's ladies and subsequently chastised the queen for allowing men to rule in her place, for ruling "'in your maydenlie estate like a maide.'"5 Muscovy would have suggested the famously unhappy Boris Godunov. It would have triggered images of the wintry port of Archangel, a stormy place of tentlike encampments and of reindeer pulling sleds. Above all, it would have suggested the many narratives of Muscovy Company agents, rehearsed in the pages of Hakluyt and Purchas: stories of the emperor, his customs, jealousies, and violent deeds; accounts of Russian households and ceremonies; chorographies of Russian landscapes; and so on into a wintry prose that stands, I think, as prologue to Shakespeare's Winter's Tale.6
The play encourages such associations even when it seems focused thematically and geographically elsewhere. When the king of Sicilia accuses his queen "of high treason, in committing adultery with Polixenes, king of Bohemia' (3.2.14-15),7 Hermione's defense, remarkable both for its pertinence and eloquence, nonetheless exceeds the local terms of Leontes's Sicilia and King James's London. As the court waits breathlessly for the oracle's word, Hermione adds,
The Emperor of Russia was my father:
O that he were alive, and here beholding
His daughter's trial! that he did but see
The flatness of my misery, yet with eyes
Of pity, not revenge!
In the note to line 119 of his Arden edition of the play, J.H.P. Pafford echoes H. B. Charlton, who believes that the Muscovite reference lends "'a sense of majesty and pathos'" to Hermione's plight. Peter Erickson has proposed that "this recourse to the benign father provides a microcosm of the play's resolution."8 But in its particularity the passage surely demands more aggressive questioning, especially since we know that Shakespeare went out of his way to alter his source so that it was Hermione who would have a Russian father. In Greene's Pandosto, the main character contemplates the obstacles to his revenge: "yet he saw that Egistus was not only of great puissance and prowess to withstand him, but had also many kings of his alliance to aid him, if need should serve, for he married to the Emperor's daughter of Russia."9 In Greene's story, that is, the Russian connection is to the Polixenes character and matters incidentally, but Shakespeare keys Hermione's public display of innocence and outrage to the invocation of Russia.
What difference do trace elements of faraway cultures, their climates and their rulers, make to a grand and complex romance meant for the stage? Topicality, intertextuality, and influence are but a few of the terms scholars have traditionally employed in answering this kind of question; and the choice of rubric indicates a corresponding emphasis on culture, textuality, and the author, respectively. Regardless of the emphasis, the scholar's work depends on a process of identification whereby equivalent patterns are uncovered. For Glynne Wickham and David M. Bergeron the investigation of a topical Winter's Tale leads them, despite differing theoretical orientations, to identifications of the play's characters with the Stuart royal family.10 Similarly, when Leah Marcus reads Measure for Measure, she pursues an identification of Vienna with London.11 Louise Schleiner, following Julia Kristeva's subtle formulation of intertextuality, sees an identification between Greek versions of the Oresteia and Hamlet.12 In The Winter's Tale "Autolycus may incarnate the unemployed vagrant" of the period's pamphlet literature for Barbara Mowat.13 For Howard Felperin the old codes of the morality play and the early revenge play influence vestigially key scenes in Hamlet.14 In each case the process of identification seems to authorize the scholar's retelling of the Shakespeare story. In each case the question is not whether identifications can be avoided but whether the scholar's descriptions of these identifications can admit obvious gaps and contradictions and still have value as interpretive enterprises.15 Marcus offers on this score, noting "meanings generated by a given text may well be multiple or self-canceling, or both. Instead of striving for a single holistic interpretation of a text, we may find ourselves marking out a range of possibilities or identifying nexuses of contradiction."16
In light of these precedents, taking up Hermione's reference to the emperor of Russia becomes a precarious business for several reasons, the most important being that, unlike Schleiner or Felperin, I have no one or two rich texts to hold up against Shakespeare's play. Instead, my proposed mode of attenuated reading actually leads to a scattering of identifications between and among dozens of jostling texts born of decades of English contact with Russia. Such reading ensures that I will not be able to tell Shakespeare's tale anew and whole.17 This apparent diffuseness will prove unsettling to some, reassuring to others.18 But ultimately the issue has less to do with my ability to account for Shakespeare's play than with my responsibility to that play's dialogue with its culture of origin. If the play dangles identifications of Jacobean Muscovites in front of me, then I want to be able to describe what made those identifications provocative. When, for instance, Shakespeare invokes a Russian ruler, he encourages his audience to undertake a fleeting albeit bracing "passage from one sign system to another," from English questions about kingship to Russian queries on the same theme.19 Marking these passages, I can give shape to my reading by respecting fields of cultural doubt, regions of common anxiety, what Marcus calls "nex-uses of contradiction."20 In the pages that follow, I attend to three such fields—winter, tyranny, and knowledge. At the end of the essay, neither the play nor these fields will be reduced to neat individual tales; instead I shall have mapped a series of entertaining and half-fulfilled identifications that played out with urgency for a Jacobean audience.
The fact that any careful observer could have noticed certain resemblances between the apparently disparate worlds of England and Muscovy seems to have encouraged certain habits of analysis in the pages of Hakluyt and Purchas. To be sure, voyaging led English writers into a host of alien worlds where they developed and refined rhetorical strategies for constructing—even consuming—otherness.21 Nevertheless, Muscovy posed a special challenge because the region always appeared uncomfortably similar to England; indeed, from their first contact in 1553, English merchants and diplomats asked their readers to understand Muscovy as an imperfect analogue to England. This analogical thinking underlies both the composition and the reception of Shakespeare's romance. Richard Chancellor inaugurates the convention: "Mosco it selfe is great: I take the whole towne to bee greater then London with the suburbes: but it is very rude, and standeth without all order." Following the same rhetorical plan, he begs his reader to see the emperor of Russia in terms of the English monarch: "then I was sent for againe unto another palace which is called the golden palace, but I saw no cause why it should be so called; for I have seene many fayrer then it in all poynts: and so I came into the hall, which was small and not great as is the Kings Majesties of England."22 Invoking a favorite notion of the age, we might say that Russia existed as a kind of looking-glass for England and its ruler. The land and its people seemed to encourage projection. So when John Merrick, chief agent for the Muscovy Company, returned to England in the autumn of 1612, he asked James I to envision Russia as his own. Less than a year earlier Shakespeare had toyed with such identifications in The Winter's Tale. Now Merrick was proposing that the king make Russia a protectorate, and James fancied the notion.23 "A King," James asserted, "is trewly Parens patriae, the politique father of his people."24 Perhaps, with his noble prince Henry taken ill, James found comfort in imagining his fatherly duties elsewhere: he would be imposing parental order on the orphaned country. James was still contemplating the project when The Winter's Tale was performed at court on the occasion of Princess Elizabeth's wedding in February 1613. For a brief moment it seemed that the English monarch might actually take the place of the emperor of Russia, that the world of fractured courts might merge with the world of happy plays: but the election of Michael Romanov later that same year put an end to this fantasy of Jacobean Muscovites. James never saw his daughter again and hardly spoke to his wife. Any careful observer could have pointed out that none of these reflections had ever been stable.
What unsettled these reflections more than anything else was the famed Russian temperament, made available (as such notions often are) through an atmospheric discourse of season and place. Shakespeare could hardly have avoided the influence of this seductive matter.25 When Clement Adams set down Chancellor's account, he tried to capture the environment in a paradoxical scene of wonder:
The north parts of the Countrey are reported to be so cold, that the very ice or water which distilleth out of the moist wood which they lay upon the fire is presently congealed and frozen: the diversitie growing suddenly to be so great, that in one and the selfe firebrand, a man shall see both fire and ice.26
The idea of winter in Russia gave Englishmen a profoundly concrete way of writing about the yoking of elemental opposites. Accounts published in the decades preceding composition of The Winter's Tale nurtured the extraordinary vernacular of ice and fire. Giles Fletcher put the evolving aesthetic succinctly: "The whole countrie differeth very much from it selfe, by reason of the yeare; so that a man would mervaile to see the great alteration and difference betwixte the winter and the sommer in Russia."27 Here was a Russian world whose climate modeled the unstable psychologies of its inhabitants and also of the characters of English romance, who very often differ from themselves.
Then, in the 1590s, the Dutch explorer William Barents undertook three voyages to a string of islands off the northern coast of Russia, a region known as Nova Zemlya. On the third voyage, in 1596, the expedition found itself trapped in the thickening ice. Against incredible odds, the party survived the winter there. In 1598 Gerrit De Veer published his account of Barents's voyage in Dutch; Latin, French, and German editions of De Veer soon circulated throughout Europe. An English translation, by William Phillip, appeared in 1609. In a 1942 article Sarah M. Nutt recounts this publishing history and describes the resemblances between Claudio's "Thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice" in Measure for Measure and De Veer's narrative. Nutt characterizes the narrative as possessing
that quality of interest and enthusiasm which might have served as a model for Claudio's delighted spirit. At times his descriptions of nature become intensely poetic. He often speaks of the terrific movements of the pack-ice and the strength of tremendous polar bears as "admirable."28
In the same essay Nutt catalogs the variety of icy allusions in seven other plays by Shakespeare, pointing out that
the year 1609 saw a revival of interest in the search for a northeast passage. The Dutch East India Company had persuaded Henry Hudson to leave the employ of the Muscovy Company to make a new trial for them and a rival group of Dutch merchants immediately sent out another expedition. The open-polar-sea theory gained new adherents. Thomas Pavier finally printed Phillip's translation of De Veer's narrative; it was dedicated to the governor of the Muscovy Company.29
As Shakespeare composed his romance for staging in 1611, winter and Muscovy were in fashion. Moreover, Nutt correctly suggests that this language of alien winter could function quite effectively for a playwright interested in the extremes of romance characters.
A decades-old dialogue between poetry and commerce affirmed that great profits were to be made by moving between England and Russia as long as Englishmen were prepared for the attendant risks—both physical and political. In fact, the published communications between England and Muscovy suggested an evolving language of suspicion, secrecy, and spying. On the one hand was the court of Ivan IV, where the ruler so distrusted his subjects that he wrote to Elizabeth in 1565 of "'the perverse and evill dealinge of our subjects, who mourmour and repine at us; forgettinge loyall obedience they practice againste our person.'"30 This distrust gradually extended to the English queen herself. By 1568 the emperor had become so frustrated with Elizabeth's inattention to his overtures for greater princely intimacy that Thomas Randolph, the queen's ambassador, met with royal suspicion on his arrival in Moscow. He complained of being "'straightlie kepte prisonere with suche uncourtoyse usage of the sergeaunt that kepte them, as worse coulde not have byn shewed to an eniemy.'"31 On the other hand was Richard Eden, who described the English "discovery" of Muscovy "by the direction and information of the sayde master Sebastian who longe before had this secreate in his minde."32 During the 1550s and 1560s this single English secret grew into a distinctive mode of operation for Cabot's company. As part of their instructions to the purser and other servants of the third voyage to Muscovy in 1556, the Company commanded the men to "spie and search as secretly as you may," probing for abuses by Englishmen and Muscovites alike. These merchants were asked to have "Argos eyes" and to "keepe a note thereof in your booke secretly to your selfe."33 Refining these aims in a letter to their agents in Russia in 1557, officials of the Muscovy Company noted the emperor's mistrust of the ambassador and reminded the agents to write in "cyphers."34 Such examples, drawn from the actions of Muscovites and Englishmen alike, could be multiplied many times over. Taken together, they amount to a veritable code of diplomatic interaction between two kingdoms whose rulers never forgot to address each other as "sister" and "brother," where travelers could never be certain of the line between "prisoner" and "guest."
From within a context of suspicion and spying, contemporary observers began to compare the two realms in order to articulate a virulent notion of tyranny. Writing of his journey to Muscovy in 1557, Anthony Jenkinson explains that "This Emperour is of great power: for he hath conquered much, as well of the Lieflanders, Poles, Lettoes, and Swethens. … He keepeth his people in great subjection: all matters passe his judgement, be they never so small. The law is sharpe for all offenders."35 George Turberville ville devotes one of his verse letters to a description of Russia as the
… savage soyle,
where lawes doe beare no sway
But all is at the King his wil,
to save or els to slay.
And that saunce cause God wot,
if so his minde be such
But what meane I with kings to deale
we ought no Saints to touch.
Conceave the rest your selfe,
and deeme what lives they leade:
Where lust is law, and subjectes live
continually in dread.36
The poet's couplets suggest that "the emperor of Russia" was synonymous with arbitrary and extreme violence. To the English mind the emperor of Russia meant torture. Purchas relates how Ivan's own brother was "put to exquisite tortures first, and after to death; his wife stripped and set naked to the eyes of all, and then by one on horse-backe drawne with a rope in to the River and drowned." Purchas also tells how Ivan's "Chancellor Dubrowsti sitting at table with his two Sonnes, were also upon accusation without answere cut in pieces, and the third sonne quartered alive with foure wheeles, each drawne a divers way by fifteene men." Purchas describes Ivan's dissatisfaction with his supreme notary, whose "wife was taken from him, and after some weeks detayning was with her hand-maid hanged over her husbands doore, and so continued a fortnight, he being driven to goe in and out by her all that time."37 Writing directly to Elizabeth, Giles Fletcher explains that "In their [the Russians'] maner of government, your Highnesse may see both a true and strange face of a tyrannical state (most unlike to your own), without true knowledge of God, without written lawe, without common justice."38 In his "Maxims of State," Sir Walter Ralegh emphasizes the need for "proportion" in the government of a nation, a balance of power, "so that a monarch be not too monarchical, strict, or absolute, as the Russe kings."39 At the end of James's reign, Purchas concludes: "We Englishmen under the government of his Majestie, have enjoyed such a Sunshine of peace, that our Summers day to many hath beene tedious," while the Russian emperors have engendered a "Hellmouth centre, there pitching the Tents of Destruction, there erecting the Thrones of Desolation."40 In the manifold elaboration of these comparisons, the writers have begun to use the idea of the emperor of Russia and his propensity for violence in their measurements of early modern England. We can certainly imagine, I think, a mature Shakespeare musing over Turberville's couplets and their sense that "lust is law." In crafting the unstable blank verse of Leontes, the playwright simply extends a poetic assay that was decades in the making.
At this juncture it ought to be apparent that Hermione's invocation of a Russian father resonates with far more specificity than the play's critics have previously noted. In her awful moment of persecution, Hermione appeals to a land famous for subjection. In their imaginations the English audience might remember Ivan IV for many things, certainly for revenge; but pity would not be the obvious choice.41 So the daughter of the Russian emperor turns out to be what we would call an "expert witness." She testifies:
if I shall be condemn'd
Upon surmises, all proofs sleeping else
But what your jealousies awake, I tell you
'Tis rigour and not law.
Hermione can grasp the difference between rigor and law in such clear monosyllabic terms—"I tell you"—because her own father epitomizes its abuse. I suggest that her search for pity from the Russian emperor marks the extremity of Leontes's tyranny; or else, perhaps even at the same time, it marks her great capacity for hope. The queen knows the emperor of Russia and still imagines a sympathetic gaze.
What I want to emphasize here is the extraordinary way that identifications multiply in light of Hermione's paternal invocation. For instance, Bergeron has shown in convincing detail how this mimetic relationship translates in The Winter's Tale into an emphasis on fathers and royal succession, re-presenting the ongoing conflict between James and his son Henry, suggesting to a courtly audience in 1613 "Henry's death painfully fresh in their minds."42 In Shakespeare's play, of course, Leontes exceeds Jacobean fury by angling for the destruction of his own newborn child: "Go, take it to the fire" (2.3.140). Having lost both his wife and son, Leontes listens to the oracle define the crisis: the king of Sicilia "shall live without an heir, if that which is lost be not found" (3.2.135-36). So the Sicilian problem is a Jacobean concern is a Russian fate, because, as Turberville puts it, "best estates" have "none assurance good / Of lands, of lives nor nothing falles / unto the next of blood."43 As in Shakespeare's play, the emperor of Russia also had to endure the effects of his own tyranny. On 9 November 1581 Ivan entered his daughter-in-law's chamber and began to rebuke her for her attire. When his son. Ivan, answered his wife's cries, the father and son fought and the son was killed.44 Jerome Horsey relates the course of events, how Ivan
strake him in his furie a box on the ear; whoe toke it so tenderly, fell into a burninge feavour, and died within three daies after. Wherat the Emperor tore his hear and byrd like a madd man, lamentinge and morninge for the loss of his sonn. But the kingdom had the greatest loss, the hope of their comfortt, a wise, mild and most woorthy prince, of heroicall condicion. …45
When Ivan died in 1584, disputed successions rocked his empire. The "Thrones of Desolation" described by Purchas were, in part, attributable to the emperor's violence against his own offspring. Of equal importance for our understanding of the Russian emperor's relation to Shakespeare's play is the way that, over time, the historical specificity of Ivan's familial violence collapsed into a simple notation of psychological extremes. By 1674 a historian writing about Muscovy could conclude that Ivan killed his son "upon no other provocation than that of his violent Temper."46 Hermione's "father" had already become an archetype.
Finally, if we are to understand something of English theatrical pleasure and its relation to Ivan's cruel ways, then we must confront the bear's part in Shakespeare's romance. Many critics have noted, as Nutt does, that "there was really no necessity for this scene; Antigonus could just as easily have been taken out of the action by the shipwreck."47 So why the bear? In part, as Sir Walter Raleigh pointed out at the beginning of this century, the creature functions as a bridge, leading the audience toward the spring world of comedy.48 And, in part, Shakespeare surely understood that the bear carries symbolic and cultural associations: ideas of winter and tyranny mingled with his audience's taste for bearbaitings.49
I want to suggest that the bear alludes here (as it always did in sixteenth-century Moscow) to Ivan and the play's investment in notions of kingship. By 1603 this connection could be dealt with in shorthand by Purchas: "Cutting out tongues, cutting off hands and feet of his complayning Subjects, and other diversified tortures I omit; as also the guarding his father in lawes doores with Beares tyed there." Ivan, he explains, liked "recreating himselfe with letting Beares loose in throngs of people."50 As it did for the common audience in early modern London, the bear embodied for Muscovites Ivan's particular tastes in sport. Nowhere is this ursine association more telling than in Fletcher's narrative about Ivan's "private behavior":
One other speciall recreation is the fight with wilde beares, which are caught in pittes or nets, and are kepte in barred cages for that purpose, against the emperour be disposed to see the pastime. The fight with the beare is on this sort. The man is turned into a circle walled round about, where he is to quite himselfe so well as he can, for there is no way to flie out. When the beare is turned loose, he commeth upon him with open mouth. … But many times these hunters come short, and are either slaine, or miserably torne with the teeth and talents of the fierce beast. If the party quite himselfe well in this fight with the beare, he is carried to drinke at the emperour's seller door, where he drinketh himselfe drunke for the honor of Hospodare. And this is his reward for adventuring his life for the emperours pleasure. To maintaine this pastime the emperor hath certein huntsmen that are appointed for that purpose to take the wild beare. This is his recreation commonly on the holy daies.51
Fletcher's formula is seductive: know the tyrant through his "recreation" and the origins of his "pleasure." I would, in turn, apply this formula to Shakespeare's theater and suggest that we understand the romance of tyranny as a psychological triumph in which the audience learns how to take pleasure from cruel re-creation.52 Traces of violence from alien cultures contribute to this end because they can be mingled with native tastes while retaining an aura of alterity, of "not
Shakespeare manages this negotiation with dexterity. Near the end of the play, Autolycus has the Clown by his ears, regaling him with Polixenes's planned barbarities against the Shepherd's son. "who shall be flayed alive, then 'nointed over with honey, set on the head of a wasps' nest, then stand till he be three quarters and a dram dead …" (4.4.785-88). But most fascinating, the narration of tyranny (Paulina's old task) has been taken over by the fooling thief and ballad-hawker. At this distance, near the play's end, a tyrant's atrocities become the stuff of "merrie tragedie,"53 leading the frightened Clown to seek out Autolycus's help and to spell out a marketable version of kingship: "and though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is oft led by the nose with gold" (11. 803-4). The Clown's proverbial wisdom sharpens the significance of the Russian emperor in Shakespeare's vision of royal romance. The existence of Ivan and Muscovy allowed English writers to imagine authority as a wild, raging bear, a creature of spectacle that entertained both kings and commoners alike. The trope of Ivan as beast fable enabled the English audience to become fanciful when thinking about political exigencies, to imagine that courtly capacities for envy and cruelty belonged to old tales from faraway lands of winter. So the detail that startles and makes us question its necessity actually leads toward a more thoughtful consideration of the royal households on which succession depends.
Both the historian Felicity Heal and I have argued that the idea of hospitality exists as a profound nexus for English Renaissance thought.54 In one prose tract after another, writers shaped evolving humanist ideals in terms of household structure and management. But the impulse to define the household that inspired Tasso flowed through Muscovy as well. In Shakespeare's day the grand Muscovite text on the subject was the Domostróy, compiled during Ivan's reign. In a distinctly Muscovite fashion, the Domostróy codifies household discipline and punishment. It advises: "Punish your son in his youth, and he will give you a quiet old age" and "If you love your son, punish him frequently."55 Expanding the uses of familial rigor, the book codifies hospitable conventions in an explanation of the wife's discipline. We find an uncanny prologue to the matter of The Winter's Tale: "Let her be sure that her husband wants her to keep company with the guests she invites, or the people she calls upon." In this context the household text enjoins, "A woman ought to talk with her lady-friends of handwork and housekeeping."56 The husband's control of the woman's company and talk are absolutely crucial to the life of the household. In his account Jenkinson confirms this fact: "The women be there very obedient to their husbands, & are kept straightly from going abroad, but at some seasons."57 To these bits of cultural proscription, I would append a scene of Muscovite hospitality.
In his account of Chancellor's arrival in Muscovy, the schoolmaster Adams pays special attention to the Russian emperor's hospitality, his royal "Cupboorde," "the vessels, and goblets" of gold. Adams notes how "the ghests were all apparelled with linnen without, and with rich skinnes within, and so did notably set out this royall feast."58 Adams notices many things, but Ivan's handling of the bread fascinates him most:
… and before the comming in of the meate, the Emperour himselfe, according to an ancient custome of the kings of Muscovy, doth first bestow a piece of bread upon every one of his ghests, with a loud pronunciation of his title, and honour. … Whereupon al the ghests rise up, and by & by sit downe againe.59
Adams goes on with his narration, but this ceremony so catches his imagination that he returns to it once more: "The Russes tolde our men, that the reason thereof, as also of the bestowing of bread in that maner, was to the ende that the Emperour might keepe the knowledge of his owne houshold: and withal, that such as are under his displeasure, might by this meanes be knowen."60 I find in this account the kind of cultural motive that ties the many foregoing scenes of Muscovite life together. The emperor's practice and his ordinance come together as a special version of Renaissance government. Whereas the traditional ideal of "the Renaissance" is absolutely defined by the humanist impulse to recover, translate, and share knowledge, Muscovy in the same age is positively defined by the keeping of knowledge. Royal displeasure is taken for granted. Talk and company must be controlled and limited. The ruler must be able to name and summon servants at will. Men keep knowledge, while women simply take their disciplined place under male confinement.
With its strange cartographic accretions and what Stephen Orgel has dubbed its incomprehensibility,"61The winter's Tale makes sense in terms of this makes sense in terms of this alien model. Since Chancellors's first voyage to the frozen land of Ivan IV, English writers had probed this kind of linkage. I suggest, then, that we might place—if not understand—Leontes's jealousy. The king inhabits a world of secrecy, suspicion, and spying that has no proper name until the playwright asks his audience to think on the emperor of Russia. When Leontes confronts Camillo, he complains of his servant's powers of observation: "not noted, is't, / But of the finer natures?" (1.2.225). The Sicilian king is trapped in a Muscovite bind, struggling to control wife's talk in (what seems to him) a precarious court while attempting to be hospitable. He tells her to speak, so Hermione pleads with Polixenes: "How say you? / My prisoner? or my guest?" (11. 54-55). As in Muscovy, the difference between prisoner and guest is dangerously ambiguous. The ruler's mounting jealousy over her winning conversation comes in an aside: "O, that is entertainment / My bosom likes not, nor my brows" (11. 118-19). Leontes struggles to put into public speech what the factors of the Muscovy Company committed to "cyphers": the need to discipline talk and negotiate suspicion. This leads the king aggressively toward his son and heir and on toward a nearly incomprehensible rage. In lines that recall Fletcher's poetical account of fire and ice in the Russian winter, Camillo describes Leontes as "one / Who, in rebellion with himself, will have / All that are his, so too" (11. 354-56). Seen from a Muscovite perspective, the Sicilian predicament is clear: they can fathom neither the ways nor the consequences of keeping knowledge. Shakespeare's romance is, among many other things, a grand interrogation of competing versions of how human beings ought to treat knowledge.62
The playwright has Polixenes announce the theme in straightforward terms when he presses Camillo: "If you know aught which does behove my knowledge / Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not / In ignorant concealment" (11. 395-97). "Ignorant concealment" stands as a wonderfully crabbed epither for what the rest of the play is about. By the end of The Winter's Tale, all of the major characters have engaged in a version of this practice. Polixenes, Camillo, Florizel, Perdita, Autolycus, Paulina, and Hermione—all conceal knowledge in order, for better and for worse, to breed ignorance in their relations with others. Along the way, each character attempts to assert a distinctive mastery over the others, that special prerogative that Ivan so violently protected. In this spirit Leontes complains, "Alack, for lesser knowledge!" (2.1.38). The king then returns to the language of hospitality to explain his sense of betrayal, invoking the fanciful notion of the cup poisoned by the spider which cannot kill if the spider is unseen because the drinker's "knowledge / Is not infected" (11. 41-42). Properly kept knowledge, we may presume, would make the keeper inviolable, but Leontes confesses with fury: "I have drunk, and seen the spider" (1. 45). Weakened by infected knowledge, the king is vulnerable to the challenges of the women. When Leontes accuses Hermione of being a "bed-swerver" and cohort in the escape of Polixenes and Camillo, the queen chides, "No, by my life, / Privy to none of this. How will this grieve you, / When you shall come to clearer knowledge …" (11. 93 and 96-97). Hermione's innocence is founded on honest ignorance, and her retort has authority because she discriminates between kinds of knowledge. From the same solid ground, Paulina challenges the king's anger, obtaining the baby daughter by command: "The keeper of the prison, call to him; / Let him have knowledge who I am" (2.2.1-2). Informed of the woman's arrival, Leontes's bitter, perhaps comic conclusion sums up his tangled position of knowing and commanding: "I charg'd thee that she should not come about me. / I knew she would" (2.3.43-44).
Lest we miss the ubiquity of the problem Shakespeare is dramatizing and casually attribute the whole question to the failings of the Sicilian king, we need to look ahead into the springtime world of Bohemia, where Florizel is contemplating marriage to Perdita. When the disguised Polixenes questions Florizel about the absence of the father, the son replies: "for some other reasons, my grave sir, / Which 'tis not fit you know, I not acquaint / My father of this business" (4.4.412-14). In ways familiar from the preceding discussion, we find the prince keeping knowledge and the father spying out his suspicions. With an eye toward dramatic intensity, the playwright modulates this confrontation by constructing a series of shared verse lines in which the stakes become explicit before the recognition occurs:
POLIXENES Let him know 't.
FLORIZEL He shall not.
POLIXENES Prithee, let him.
FLORIZEL No, he must not.
SHEPHERD Let him, my son: he shall not need
At knowing of thy choice.
The urgency of this pleading heightens the king's anger, a rage quite akin to Leontes's wrath in its violence and origin. "Know't" and "not," "know" and "no," knowledge and negation collapse in similar sounds, in a way of being in the world. Polixenes tells Perdita: "I'll have thy beauty scratch'd with briers and made / More homely than thy state" (11. 426-27). He threatens the Shepherd with a "cruel" death and threatens to deny his son's claim to the throne. Florizel accepts the doom and, like Leontes, the king is without an heir because of the way men keep knowledge.
Tyranny is always about the control of knowledge, but what moved early modern audiences most, as it still does today, is tyranny's endlessly expanding ripples of violence, a movement that begins in The Winter's Tale with Leontes's entrance in 2.1 and achieves extraordinary closure with the Clown's description of the bear's feast in 3.3. Ironically, Leontes tries to restrain his ranting when addressing the emperor of Russia's daughter lest he become the very "precedent" of "barbarism" (2.1.84). Leontes, in other words, is fearful of exchanging places with Hermione's father. Perhaps it is too late. For the king's rage breeds, even in the best-intentioned of his servants, a crude language of reciprocal ferocity. Antigonus both pleads and threatens: "If it prove / She's otherwise, I'll keep my stables where / I lodge my wife; I'll go in couples with her" (11. 133-35). Reducing his own family to hounds and horses, Antigonus seems transported by the possibility of violent punishment for offending women, so that he promises: "Be she honour-flaw'd, /I have three daughters … If this prove true, they'll pay for 't" (11. 143-44, 46). When the mother of these three daughters rebukes Leontes, he simply spins the rage to new heights: "Hence with it, and together with the dam / Commit them to the fire!" (2.3.93-94). In the face of so much fury, Paulina has the courage to invoke the term "tyranny" (1. 119), only to have Leontes pose a question that would have puzzled even the observers of Ivan's court: "Were I a tyrant, / Where were her life? she durst not call me so, / If she did know me one" (11. 121-23).
Solving the problem of knowledge in this play means, from the outset, that Leontes will never become Ivan. As Dion puts it, Leontes's request for the truth of the oracle ensures that "something rare / Even then will rush to knowledge" (3.1.20-21). In Sicilia things "rare" still have the force of sudden, public discovery, a poetics not admitted in Ivan's world. It is at the early spectacle of revelation that Hermione wishes her father present as spectator, a whimsically appropriate thought since the superstitious Ivan might well have contributed to such a spectacle. Leontes submits but quickly discounts the revelation as "mere falsehood" (3.2.141). And it is here, in this moment of analogy, that the king's son dies and Hermione dies (it seems), too. But unlike Ivan, who seems to have waded through great scenes of death with little recognition, Leontes reckons the impact immediately: "the heavens themselves / Do strike at my injustice" (11. 146-47). By letting go of the private domain of suspicion and admitting the public rush to knowledge, Leontes has allowed himself a conversion. The playwright seems to be suggesting, as he so often does, the positive effects of spectacle in relation to personal and communal knowledge.
Finally, though, we must notice the difference gender makes to this troubled state of knowledge. Shakespeare proposes a decidedly female and English solution, precisely the kind of thing that infuriated Ivan in his dealings with Queen Elizabeth decades before. On the heels of Leontes's epiphany, Paulina steps forward in a way no Russian woman would ever have dared: "What studied torments, tyrant, hast for me? / What wheels? racks? fires? what flaying? boiling … ?" (11. 175-76).63 Leontes permits the rough speech and more, for Paulina has been keeping her own knowledge of the king's household. She reports of the queen, "I say she's dead: I'll swear 't" (1. 203). Under the cover of her chiding, Paulina keeps the knowledge of the royal family, of Leontes's wife and queen, at her "poor house" (5.3.6). In the wake of the reunion that Shakespeare chooses to report rather than stage,64 the First Gentleman agrees that the spectators ought to hurry to Paulina's house, where the families have gathered: "Every wink of an eye, some new grace will be born: our absence makes us unthrifty to our knowledge" (5.2.110-12). As everyone gathers around the queen's statue, it is Paulina who speaks:
So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
Excels whatever yet you look'd upon,
Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it
It is a thrifty Elizabethan solution to a Muscovite problem: women keep the house of knowledge where their labors do excel what the "hand of man hath done."
The Winter's Tale, as Autolycus puts it, ends "When daffodils begin to peer" (4.3.1). We may hearken back to the words of Clement Adams: "When the winter doth once begin there it doth still more & more increase by a perpetuitie of cold: neither doth that colde slake, untill the force of the Sunne beames doth dissolve the cold, and make glad the earth, returning to it againe."65 In Shakespeare's hands the English dramatic plot has resolved itself in the manner of a Russian spring, in what Purchas called "the Sunshine of peace" under James. Theater concludes with such resolutions; discussions of knowledge, as every English commentator on Russia well understood, do not. Writing to Elizabeth in 1589 about the decay of the Russian trade, Fletcher complained of the Company's servants, the "lack of good discipline among them selves, specially of a preacher to keap them in knowledge and fear of God, and in a conscience of their service towards their Maisters."66 In a curious set of objections that will serve as epilogue for my own reading of Shakespeare's romance, Purchas complains most vociferously about the interaction of Englishmen and Muscovites. It seems that Ivan's
love to our Nation is magnified by our Countrimen with all thankfulnesse, whose gaines there begun by him, have made them also in some sort seeme to turne Russe (in i know not what loves or feares, as if they were still shut up in Russia, & to conceale whatsoever they know of Russian occurrents) that I have sustayned no small torture with great paines of body, vexation of minde, and triall of potent interceding friends to get but neglect and silence from some, yea almost contempt and scorne.67
This is what happens when England meets Russia: seeming conversion and concealed knowledge; Englishmen "turne Russe" and hide "whatsoever they know." 68 What began in 1553 as an adventure of exploration and contact has become a problem of "no small torture," a problem of knowledge and its oblique ethnographic consequences. Englishmen have become what they meant to probe: Jacobean Muscovites.
For this reason Shakespeare's romance may be seen as marking an epoch of sorts, a new age of dispute that even Shakespeare's contemporaries could recognize. Indeed, even as the playwright was busy with his romance, Sir William Lower, having heard of Galileo's experiments, wrote to Thomas Hariot: '"Me thinkes my diligent Galileus hath done more in his three fold discoverie than Magellane in openinge the streightes to the South sea or the dutch men that were eaten by beares in Nova Zembla. I am sure with more ease and saftie to him selfe and more pleasure to mee.'"69 Here were brave empirical options, the roots of modern disciplinary division, new born, knowledge derived from the calculation of distant bodies as opposed to knowledge gleaned through contact with different cultures. Shakespeare's romance stands as a provocative assay of the latter, with all its attendant pleasures and strains, knowing and negation, bears and reunions.
1 This poignant document appears in Richard Hakluyt's Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation, 8 vols. (London: J. M. Dent, 1932), 1:253. Unless otherwise stated, subsequent references to English descriptions of Muscovy will come from this edition of Hakluyt and be cited parenthetically in the text. For a discussion of Hakluyt's handling of materials in the two major editions (1589 and 1598-1600) of his project, see J. S. G. Simmons, "Russia" in The Hakluyt Handbook, ed. D. B. Quinn, 2 vols. (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1974), 1:161-67.
2 Francesca Wilson, in Muscovy: Russia Through Foreign Eyes, 1553-1900 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1970), describes quite succinctly the exceptions to this English perception (19-20). As imperial ambassador, Sigismund von Herberstein saw the country firsthand in 1517 and 1526. The ambassador's account, Rerum Moscoviticarum commentarii, was published on the Continent in 1551; the first English translation did not appear until 1576.
3 John Chamberlain, "To Dudley Carleton," 4 November 1602, The Letters of John Chamberlain, ed. Norman Egbert McClure, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1939), 1:169.
4 Samuel Purchas, in Purchas His Pilgrimes (20 vols. [Glasgow: James MacLehose, 1906]), gives the reader a sense of how archetypal "Ivan Vasilowich, the Great Great Muscovite," had become, describing him as a ruler who had earned "supersuperlatives of crueltie" (14:110).
5 Quoted in H. G. Koenigsberger and George L. Mosse, Europe in the Sixteenth Century (London: Longmans, 1968), 196.
6 Two studies have documented the major points of contact between English literature and Muscovy: Robert Ralston Cawley, The Voyagers and Elizabethan Drama (Boston: D. C. Heath, 1938), 253-71; and Karl Heinz Ruffmann, Das Russlandbild in England Shakespeares (Gottingen: Wissenschaftlicher Verlag, 1952).
7William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, Arden edition, ed. J.H.P. Pafford (London: Methuen, 1963). Quotations of this play and of its source. Robert Greene's Pandosto, follow Pafford's edition.
8 Peter Erickson, Patriarchal Structures in Shakespeare's Drama (Berkeley: U of California P, 1985), 152.
9Quoted here from Pafford, ed., 191.
10 Glynne Wickham's argument develops over three essays: "The Winter's Tale: A Comedy with Deaths" in Shakespeare's Dramatic Heritage: Collected Studies in Mediaeval, Tudor and Shakespearean Drama (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1969), 249-65; "Shakespeare's Investiture Play: The Occasion and Subject of 'The Winter's Tale,'" Times Literary Supplement, 18 December 1969, 1456: "Romance and Emblem: A Study in the Dramatic Structure of The Winter's Tale " in Elizabethan Theatre III, David Galloway, ed. (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1973), 82-99. David M. Bergeron develops his approach to Jacobean topicality in Shakespeare's Romances and the Royal Family (Lawrence: UP of Kansas, 1985), 1-25.
11Leah S. Marcus, Puzzling Shakespeare: Local Reading and Its Discontents (Berkeley: U of California P, 1988), 162.
12 Louise Schleiner, "Latinized Greek Drama in Shakespeare's Writing of Hamlet," Shakespeare Quarterly 41 (1990): 29-48, esp. 29.
13Barbara A. Mowat, "Rogues, Shepherds, and the Counterfeit Distressed: Texts and Infracontexts of The Winter's Tale 4.3," Shakespeare Studies 22 (1994): 58-76, esp. 69.
14 Howard Felperin, Shakespearean Representation: Mimesis and Modernity in Elizabethan Tragedy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1977), 44-48.
15That critics have been carried away in the past with such projects is the subject of Richard Levin's famous attack on "The King James Version" of Measure for Measure and what he calls "occasionalism" in New Readings vs. Old Plays (Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P, 1979), 171-93. For admirable defenses of topical readings that respond to Levin's objections, see Bergeron, 12-13; and Marcus, 164.
16 Marcus, 37-38. Marcus enacts this more subtle method as she investigates the identification of Vienna with London in Measure for Measure: "What Shakespeare accomplished through the play's restlessly oscillating topicality was the initiation of a theatrical event which could be taken as Stuart propaganda, or as the expression of a contemporary nightmare, or most likely as both together" (200). Mowat concentrates on the same kinds of instabilities when describing "the struggle between infracontexts" (69).
17 Particularly relevant to my predicament is Bergeron's representation of the royal family as a text among texts: "No privileged texts, absolutely ruling out competing texts, exist; nor are there autonomous texts; all are dependent on pre-texts, written or observed" (21). Marcus aptly categorizes the kinds of topical effect in such a system as either scattering "interpretation in a number of directions" or narrowing "it along a single axis of political allegory" (109).
18 Marcus, for instance, is relentless in her urging that topical reading always de-essentializes (38). For a cogently argued exception to Marcus's commitment on this account, see Michael D. Bristol's review of Puzzling Shakespeare in SQ 41 (1990): 375-79. esp. 379.
19 The quoted phrase originates with Julia Kristeva, Revolution in Poetic Language, trans. Margaret Waller (New York: Columbia UP, 1984), 59.
20 In his brilliant work on Measure for Measure, Jonathan Goldberg, in James I and the Politics of Literature: Jonson, Shakespeare, Donne, and Their Contemporaries (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins UP, 1983), establishes a precedent for what I propose by concenrating on how the play "manages to catch at central concerns" (235).
21 See, for example, Steven Mullaney's notion of "the rehearsal of cultures" in The Place of the Stage: License, Play, and Power in Renaissance England (Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P, 1988), 69.
22 Hakluyt, 1:255-56.
23 Inna Lubimenko, "A Project for the Acquisition of Russia by James I," English Historical Review 29 (1914): 246-56; Chester Dunning, "James I, the Russia Company, and the Plan to Establish a Protectorate Over North Russia," Albion 21 (1989): 206-26.
24 Quoted in Bergeron, 28.
25 Commentators' explanations of Mamillius's winter tale-telling in 2.1 of The Winter's Tale have depended on this connection between temperature and temperament; see A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare, ed. Horace Howard Furness (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1898), 72-73.
26 Adams's account was published in London in 1554 in an edition no longer extant; I quote this passage from Hakluyt, 1:278-79.
27 Giles Fletcher, Of the Russe Common Wealth in Russia at the Close of the Sixteenth Century, ed. Edward A. Bond (New York: Burt Franklin, 1963), 1-152, esp. 5.
28 Sarah M. Nutt, "The Arctic Voyages of William Barents in Probable Relation to Certain of Shakespeare's Plays." Studies in Philology 39 (1942): 241-64, esp. 246. Perhaps the most comprehensive discussion of this sphere of exploration is found in Sir Clements R. Markham's The Lands of Silence: A History of Arctic and Antarctic Exploration (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1921).
29 Nutt, 260.
30 Quoted in Bond, ed., xxxviii-xxxix.
31 Quoted in Bond, ed., xxv.
32 Richard Eden, The Decades of the Newe Worlde (London, 1555), 256 (my emphasis).
33 Hakluyt, 1:332.
34 Hakluyt, 1:389-90.
35 Hakluyt, 1:416.
36 George Turberville, "The Author Being in Moscovia," Epitaphes, Epigrams, Songs and Sonets (1567) and Epitaphes and Sonnettes (1576), intro. Richard J. Panofsky (Delmar, NY: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1977), 442.
37 Purchas, 14:111.
38 Fletcher in Bond, ed., cxxxvii.
39 Sir Walter Ralegh, "Maxims of State," Works of Sir Walter Raleigh, 8 vols. (Oxford: University Press, 1829), 8:5.
40 Purchas, 14:108-9.
41 Koenigsberger and Mosse make this point in passing; see 196, n. 2.
42 Bergeron, 163.
43 Turberville, 442.
44 Robert O. Crummey, The Formation of Muscovy 1304-1613 (London: Longman, 1987), 175-76. Ivan's motives have been disputed. See note 45, below.
45 Jerome Horsey, Travels in Bond, ed., 153-266, esp. 195. Horsey says that Ivan was angry with the prince for showing mercy to some of Ivan's Christian victims, and other minor offenses (195). For further discussions, see Koenigsberger and Mosse, 202-3. A Jacobean frame for these events comes from Purchas: "His last crueltie was on himselfe, dying with griefe, as was thought, for the death of his eldest sonne Ivan, whom falsly accused he struck with a staffe wrought with Iron, whereof he dyed in few dayes after" (Purchas, 14:112-13).
46 M. R., The Russian Impostor: or, the History of Muskovie (London, 1674), 2.
47 Nutt, 260. Decades before Nutt, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, in Shakespeare's Workmanship (New York: Henry Holt, 1917), called the bear a "naughty superfluity" (264). As Nutt acknowledges, Chambers suggested long ago (1:489) that there were two white bears in London and that Jonson may have used them in his Masque of Oberon.
48 Sir Walter Raleigh, Shakespeare (New York: Macmillan, 1907), 138.
49 For the best surveys of these interpretations, see Dennis Biggins, "'Exit pursued by a Beare': A Problem in The Winter's Tale, "SQ 13 (1962): 3-13; Michael D. Bristol, "In Search of the Bear: Spatiotemporal Form and the Heterogeneity of Economics in The Winter's Tale," SQ 42 (1991): 145-67, esp. 159-60. Bristol connects these complex significations in a fascinating examination of space and time in the romance. Identifying Shakespeare's bear with the myth of Callisto opens up a range of interpretations for Jonathan Bate in Shakespeare and Ovid (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993), 225-27.
50 Purchas, 14:112.
51 Fletcher in Bond, ed., 143. Horsey provides a distinct version of this spectacle in his narrative. When Ivan demanded great sums of wealth from the religious houses in his country, he met with resistance. So he summoned twenty of the organizers: "About seaven of those principali rebellious bigg fatt friers were brought forthe, one after another … and, through the Emperowr's great favour, a bore spare [spear] of five foate in length in the other hand for his defence, and a wild bear was lett lose, rainginge and roaring up against the walls with open mouth, sentinge the frier by his fatt garments, made more mad with the crie and shoutinge of the people, runs fearsly at him, catches and crushes his head, bodie, bowells, leggs and arms, as a cate doth a mous, tears his weeds in peces till he came to his flesh, bloud and bones, and so devours his first frier for his prey" (Bond, ed., 178).
52 Rebecca W. Bushnell, in Tragedies of Tyrants: Political Thought and Theater in the English Renaissance (Ithaca, NY, and London: Cornell UP, 1990), describes what Sidney calls the "sweet violence" of tragedy: "What Foucault does not discuss is what Sidney re-counts, the possibility that the audience enjoyed the spectacle for its own sake, whether for the pleasure of sorrow or pity, or more cynically, for the pleasure of seeing blood or watching the elaborate ritual that let that blood" (4). It should also be pointed out that the playful waywardness of identification makes this kind of pleasure possible. Bears devour but they also dance. So Chamberlain wrote to Carleton on 27 May 1601 that the "Moscovie ambassador [who] tooke his leave at court on Sonday was sevenight like a dauncing beare" (1:123).
53 The phrase is used by Horsey when he introduces his own narrative of "death by bear" (Bond. ed., 178).
54 See Heal's Hospitality in Early Modern England (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990); and Daryl W. Palmer, Hospitable Performances: Dramatic Genre and Cultural Practices in Early Modern England (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue UP, 1992), 1-49.
55Domostróy in Anthology of Russian Literature: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, ed. Leo Wiener, 2 vols. (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1902), 1:127.
56Domostróy in Wiener, ed., 1:128-29.
57 Hakluyt, 1:417.
58 Hakluyt, 1:281.
59 Hakluyt, 1:281-82.
60 Hakluyt, 1:282 (my emphasis).
61 Stephen Orgel, in "The Poetics of Incomprehensibility" (SQ 42 : 431-37), argues that a certain obscurity, appropriate to the action of The Winter's Tale, indeed to any Shakespeare play, cannot be escaped. Orgel points out that "modern interpretation represents an essentially arbitrary selection of meanings from a list of diverse and often contradictory possibilities and does not so much resolve the linguistic problem as enable us to ignore it" (432).
62 Stanley Cavell, in Disowning Knowledge in Six Plays of Shakespeare (New York: Cambridge UP, 1987), is surely right when he suggests that the play "is understandable as a study of skepticism" (198).
63 There did exist a precedent for this kind of rebuking of royal authority, in the Muscovite notion of "the fool in Christ (iurodivyi)." Jerome Horsey describes the extraordinary confrontation at Pskov between Ivan (who intended to destroy the city) and "an impostur or magician, which they held to be their oracle, a holly man, named Mickula Sweat, whoe, by his bold imprecacions and exsorsims, railings and threats, terminge him the Emperour bloudsuccer, the devourer and eater of Christian flesh, and swore by his angeli that he should not escape deathe of a present thounder boltt" (Bond, ed., 161).
64 Shakespeare's play concludes with reunions not unlike those described by Gerrit de Veer, who explains that it was "as if either of us on both sides had seene each other rise from death to life again" (Purchas, 13:159).
65 Hakluyt, 1:279.
66 Fletcher to Queen Elizabeth, The English Works of Giles Fletcher, the Elder, ed. Lloyd E. Berry (Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1964), 377.
67 Purchas, 14:113.
68 Purchas continues in the most resonant terms: "This for love to my Nation I have inserted against any Cavillers of our Russe Merchants: though I must needs professe that I distaste, and almost detest that (call it what you will) of Merchants to neglect Gods glorie in his providence, and the Worlds instruction from their knowledge; who while they will conceale the Russians Faults, will tell nothing of their Facts; and whiles they will be silent in mysteries of State, will reveale nothing of the histories of Fact, and that in so perplexed, diversified chances and changes as seldome the World hath in so short a space seene on one Scene" (14:114).
69 Quoted in Nutt, 249.
Source: "Jacobean Muscovites: Winter, Tyranny, and Knowledge in The Winter's Tale," in Shakespeare Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 3, Fall, 1995, pp. 323-39.