Imágenes de páginas

men of the latter kind; and it may be observed, that persons of a similar character, who still range the woods beyond the precincts of Virginia and the reach of laws, subsist entirely on the deer they can shoot; are not only famed for being the best marksmen, but are called woodmen, to the present hour.

'Henley. 779.

-then had my prize

Been less; and so more equal ballasting] The meaning is—Had I been less a prize, I should not have been too heavy for Posthumus. JOHNSON.

791. That nothing gift of differing multitudes)] The poet must mean, that court, that obsequious adoration, which the shifting vulgar pay to the great, is a tribute of no price or value. I am persuaded therefore our poet coined this participle from the French verb, and wrote:

That nothing gift of d.fering multitudes. i. e. obsequious, paying deference. -Deferer, Ceder par respet à quelqu'un, obeir, condescendre, &c.—Deferent, civil, respectueux, &c. Richelet. THEOBALD.

He is followed by Sir T. Hanmer and Dr. Warburton; but I do not see why differing may not be a general epithet, and the expression equivalent to the manyheaded rabble.

JOHNSON. Should not the passage be pointed thus:

-laying by That nothing, gift of differing multitudes The sense seems to be :-throwing out of the account shew of respect, which has nothing in it intrinsically good, but is the mere tribute of his numerous INFERI


ORS :-differing is here used, as in various passages of Scripture, to express the inferiority of one object when contrasted with another.

HENLEY. 805. That since the common men are now in action

'Gainst thi Pannonians and Dalmatians;
And that, &c.] These facts are historical.


-and to you, the tribunes,
For this immediate levy, he commands

His absolute commission.--] The meaning is, he commands the commission to be given to you. So we say, I ordered the materials to the workmen.



Line 14

IMPERSEVERANT—] Imperseverant may mean no more than perseverant, like imbosom’d, impassion'd, immask'd. STEEVENS.

18. -before thy face :) Posthumus was to have his head struck off, and then his garments cut to pieces before his face; we should read her face, i.e. Imogen’s, done to despight her, who had said, she esteemed Posthumus's garment above the person of Cloten.

WARBURTON, 38. Stick to your journal course: the breach of custom Is breach of all.] Keep your daily course

uninterrupted ;


uninterrupted; if the stated plan of life is once broken, nothing follows but confusion.

JOHNSON. 46. How much the quantity,- -] I read, As much the quantity.

JOHNSON. 64. So please you, sir.] I cannot relish this courtly phrase from the mouth of Arviragus. It should rather, I think, begin Imogen's speech. Tyrwhitt.

72. I could not stir him :] Not move him to tell his story.

JOHNSON 73. gentle, but unfortunate ;] Gentle, is well born, of birth above the vulgar.

JOHNSON. 100. Mingle their spurs together.] Spurs, an old word from the fibres of a tree.

РОРЕ. stinking elder,-] Shakspere had only seen English vines which grow against walls, and there. fore may be sometimes entangled with the elder. Perhaps we should read-untwine from the vine.

JOHNSON. Sir John Hawkins proposes to read entwine. He says, Let the stinking elder (Grief ] entwine his root with the vine [Patience], and in the end Patience must outgrow Grief."

STEEVENS. There is no need of alteration. The elder is a plant whose roots are much shorter lived than the vine's, and as those of the vine swell and outgrow them, they must of necessity loosen their hold.

HENLEY. 104. It is great morning.-) A Gallicism. Grand jour. The same expression occurs also in Troilus and Cressida,


130. No, nor thy tailor, rascal,

Who is thy grandfather; he made those clothes,

Which, as it seems, make thee.] See a note on a similar

in a former scene : “ Whose mother was her painting.. STEVENS. 157. Yield, rustic mountaineer.] I believe, upon examination, the character of Cloten will not prove a very consistent one. Act I. scene 4. the lords who are conversing with him on the subject of his rencontre with Posthumus, represent the latter as having neither put forth his strength or courage, but still advancing forwards to the prince, who retired before him; yet at this his last appearance, we see him fighting gal. lantly, and falling by the hand of Arviragus. The same persons afterwards speak of him as of a mere ass or idiot; and yet, act iii. scene 1. he returns one of the noblest and most reasonable answers to the Roman envoy: and the rest of his conversation on the same occasion, though it may lack form a little, by no means resembles the language of folly. He behaves with proper dignity and civility at parting with Lucius, and yet is ridiculous and brutal in his treatment of Imogen. Belarius describes him as not have ing sense enough to know what fear is (which he defines as being sometimes the effect of judgment); and yet he forms very artful schemes for gaining the affection of his mistress, by means of her attendants, to get her person into his power afterwards ; and seems to be no less acquainted with the character of his father, and the ascendancy the queen



over his uxorious weakness, We find Cloten, in short, represented at once as brave and dastardly, civil and brutal, sagacious and foolish, without that subtilty of distinction, and those shades of gradation between sense and folly, virtue and vice, which constitute the excellence of such mixed characters as Polonius in Hamlet, and the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet.

STEEVENS. 162. the snatches in his voice,

And burst of speaking,– -] This is one of our author's strokes of observation. An abrupt and tumultuous utterance very frequently accompanies a confused and cloudy understanding. JOHNSON. 168. In the old editions :

Being scarce made up,
I mean, to man, he had not apprehension
Of roaring terrors: for defect of judgment

Is oft the cause of fear,-] If I understand this passage, it is mock reasoning as it stands, and the text must have been slightly corrupted. Belarius is giving a description of what Cloten formerly was; and in answer to what Arviragus says of his being so fell. Ay, says Belarius, he was so fell; and being scarce then at man's estate, he had no apprehension of roaring terrors, i. e. of any thing that could check him with fears.” But then, how does the inference come in, built upon this ? For defect of judgment is oft the cause of fear. I think the poet meant to have said the mere contrary, Cloten was defective in judgment, and therefore did not fear. Apprehensions


« AnteriorContinuar »