Imágenes de páginas

37. this carle,] Carl or churl (ceonl, Sax.) is a clown or husbandman.

REMARKS. Mr. Reed remarks from Verstigan, that ceorle, now written churle, anciently signified a sturdy fellow.

Carlot is a word of the same signification, and occurs in our author's As You Like It. Again, in an ancient interlude or morality, printed by Rastell, without title or date,

" A carlys sonne, brought up of nought." The thought seems to have been imitated in Philaster :

“ The gods take part against me; could this boor 66 Have held me thus else?"

STEEVENS. 70. Close by the battle, &c.] The stopping of the Roman army by three persons, is an allusion to the story of the Hays, as related by Holinshed in his History of Scotland, p. 155: “ There was neere to the place of the battell, a long lane, fensed on the sides with ditches and walles made of turfe, through the which the Scots which fed were beaten downe by the enemies on heapes.

“ Here Haie with his sons supposing they might best staie the fight, placed themselves overthwart the lane, beat them backe whom they met fleeing, and spared neither friend nor foe; but downe they went all such as came within their reach, wherewith divers hardie personages cried unto their fellowes to returne backe unto the battell,” &c.

It appears from Peck's New Memoirs, &c. article 88, that Milton intended to have written a play on this' subject.

MUSGRAVE. 76. The country base, - ) i. l. A rustick game


called prison-bars, vulgarly prison-base. So, in the Tragedy of Hoffman, 1632 :

-I'll run a little course " At base or barley-brake Again, in the Antipodes, 1638 :

-my men can run at base.Again, in the 30th Song of Drayton's Polyolbion : “ At hood-wink, barley-brake, at tick, or prison.

base." Again, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. V. c. viii. “ So ran they all as they had been at bace."

STEEVENS, 78. for preservation cas'd, or shame)] Shame for modesty.

WARBURTON. 107. -bugs.] Terrors. JOHNSON. So, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1605: " Where nought but furies, bugs, and tortures

So, in the Battle of Alcazar, 1594 :

" Is Amurath Bassa such a bug,
“ That he is mark'd to do this doughty deed ?"

STEEVENS. 110. Nay, do not wonder at it: -] Posthumus first bids him not wonder, then tells him, in another mude of reproach, that wonder is all that he was made for.


-1, in mine own woe charm’d,] Alluding to the common superstition of charms being powerful enough to keep men unhurt in battle. It was derived from our Saxon ancestors, and so is common to us Gii

with with the Germans, who are above all other people given to this superstition ; which made Erasmus, where, in his Moriæ Encomium, he gives to each nation its proper characteristick, say,

“ Germani corporum proceritate & magie cognitione sibi placent.” And Prior, in his Aima :

“ North Britons hence have second sight;
“ And Germuns free from gun-shot fight.

WARBURTON. See a note on Macbeth, act v. sc. ult. So, in Drayton's Nymphidia:

Their seconds minister an oath
Which was indifferent to them both,
That, on their knightly faith and troth,

No magick them supplied ;
And sought them that they had no charms
Wherewith to work each other's harms,
But came with simple open arms
To have their causes tried.

STEEVENS. 133. --favourer to the Roman,] The editions before Hanmer's for Roman read Briton; and Dr. Warburton reads Briton still.

JOHNSON 138. ---great the answer be] Answer, as once in this play before, is retaliation.


silly habit,] Silly is simple or rustick. So in King Lear : " --twenty silly ducking observants".

STEVENS. 146. That gave the affront with them.] That is, that turned their faces to the enemy.




So, in Ben Jonson's Alchymist :

“ To-day thou shalt have ingots, and to-morrow " Give lords the affront.

STEEVENS. 156. You shall not now be stolen,-] The wit of the gaoler alludes to the custom of putting a lock on a horse's leg, when he is turned to pasture.


to satisfy,
If of my freedom 'tis the main part, take

No stricter render of me, than my all.] Posthumus questions whether contrition be sufficient atonement for guilt. Then, to satisfy the offended gods, he desires them to take no more than his present all, that is, his life, if it is the main part, the chief point, or principal condition of his freedom, i.e. of his freedom from future punishment. This interpretation appears to be warranted by the former part of the speech.

STEEVENS. 184. -cold bonds.] This equivocal use of bonds, is another instance of our author's infelicity in pathetic speeches.

JOHNSON, 186. Solemn musick, &c.] Here follow a vision, a masque, and a prophesy, which interrupt the fable with. out the least necessity, and unmeasurably lengthen this act. I think it plainly foisted in afterwards for mere show, and apparently not of Shakspere. Pope.

Every reader must be of the same opinion. The subsequent narratives of Posthumus, which render this masque, &c. unnece-sary (or perhaps the scenical directions supplied by the poet himself), seem to have Giij


excited some manager of a theatre to disgrace the play by the present metrical interpolation. Shakspere, who has conducted his fifth act with such matchless skill, could never have designed the vision to be twice described by Posthumus, had this contemptible nonsense been previously delivered on the stage. The following passage from Dr. Farmer's Essay, will shew that it was no unusual thing for the players to indulge themselves in making additions equally unjustifiable.

“ We have a sufficient instance of the liberties taken by the actors, in an old pamphlet, by Nash, called Lenten Stuffe, with the Prayse of the Red Herring, 4to. 1599, where he assures us, that in a play of his called The Isle of Dogs, foure acts, without his consent, or the least guess of his drift or scope, were supplied by the players,"

STEEVENS. 249. Jupiter descends

-] It appears from Acolastus, a comedy by T. Palsgrave, chaplain to King Henry VIII. bl. let. 1540, that the descent of deities was common to our stage in its earliest state. whyche the lyke thyng is used to be shewed now-adays in stage-plaies, when some God or some Saynt is made to appere forth of a cloude, and succoureth the parties which seemed to be towardes some great danger, through the Soudan's crueltie." The author, for fear this description should not be supposed to extend itself to our theatres, adds in a marginal note, “ the lyke maner used nowe at our days in stage playes."

STEEVENS. 274. Prunes the immortal wing,-) A bird is

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »