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with Shakspere. So, in the Faithful Shepherdess, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
shall I ştray
« The sailing rack.”.
“ Beating the clouds into their swiftest rack." Again, in the prologue to the Three Ladies of London, 1584: “ We list not to ride the rolling rack that dims
the chrystal skies." Again, in Shakspere's 33d Sonnet :
“ Anon permits the basest clouds to ride
“ With ugly rack on his celestial face.” Mr. Pennant in his Tour in Scotland observes, there is a fish called a rack-rider, because it appears in winter or bad weather. Rack, in the English of our author's days, signifying the driving of the clou by tempests.
Sir T. H. instead of rack reads track, which may be supported by the following passage in the first scene of Timon of Athens :
“ But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on, « Leaving no tract behind.”
STEEVENS. Track, I am persuaded, was the author's word,
Rack is generally used for a body of clouds, or rather for the course of clouds in motion ; so, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ That which is now a horse, even with a thought, * The rack dislimns."
But no instance has yet been produced, where it is used to signify a single small fleeting cloud, in which sense only it is at all applicable here.
The stanza which immediately precedes the lines quoted by Mr. Steevens from Lord Sterline's Darius, may serve still further to confirm the conjecture, that one of these poets imitated the other. Our author was, I believe, the imitator.
“ And when the eclipse comes of our glory's light,
66 Then what avails the adoring of our name; " A mere illusion made to mock the sight, " Whose best was but the shadow of a dream."
MALONE. Wreck, in former editions, and on Shakspere's monument in Westminster-Abbey, could never have been the original reading; for objects that have only a visionary and insubstantial existence, can, when the vision is faded, leave nothing real, and, consequently, no wreck behind them. The same observas tion is equally conclusive against tract: for what is the vestige of a phantom? The RACK, Shakspere's expression, is in the seaman's phrase, the loftiest drift of clouds, resembling the milky way, and though perceptible, yet in a progressive state of evanescence. HENLEY. 172. -Sir, I am vexed ;
Bear with my weakness; my old brain is troubled :] Prospero' here discovers a great emotion of anger on his sudden recollection of Caliban's plot. This appears from the admirable reflection he makes on the insignificancy of human things. For thinking men
are never under greater depression of mind than when they moralize in this manner; and yet, if we turn to the occasion of his disorder, it does not appear, at first view, to be a thing capable of moving one in Prospero's circumstances ; the plot of a contemptible savage and two drunken sailors, all of whom he had absolutely in his power. There was then no apprehension of danger. But if we look more nearly into the case, we shall have reason to admire our author's wonderful knowledge of nature.
There was some. thing in it with which great minds are most deeply affected, and that is, the sense of ingratitude. He recalled to mind the obligations this Caliban lay under for the instructions he had given hiin, and the conveniencies of life lie had taught him to use. But these *reflexions on Caliban's ingratitude would naturally recall to mind his brother's; and then these two working together, were very capable of producing all the disorder of passion here represented.-That these two, who had received at his hands the two best gifts mortals are capable of, when rightly employed, regal power, and the use of reason ; that these, in return, should conspire against the life of the donor, would surely afflict a generous mind to its utmost bearing.
WARBURTON., 181. Thy thoughts I cleave to :] To cleave to, is to unite with closely. So, in Macbeth: “ Like our strange garments cleave not to their mold."
Again " If you shall cleave to my consent."
STEEVÈNS. 183. to meet with Caliban.] To meet with is to counteract; to play stratagem against stratagem.The parson knows the temper of every one in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices, or advances their virtues. HERBERT's Country Parson.
JOHNSON. 194. Advanc'd their eye-lids, &c.] Thus Drayton, in his Court of Fairie of Hobgoblin caught in a Spell :
“ But once the circle got within,
• For as he thus was busy,
“ Alas, his brain was dizzy.
" And through the bushes scrambles,
JOHNSON 197. -pricking goss,-) I know not how Shakspere distinguished goss from furze; for what he calls furze is called goss or gorse in the midland counties.
This word is used in the first chorus to Kyd's Cornelia, 1595: “ With worthless gorse that yearly, fruitless dies."
STEEVENS. By the latter, Shakspere means the low sort of gorse that only grows upon wet ground, and which is well described by the name of whins in Markham's Farewell to Husbandry. It has prickles like those on a rose-tree or a gooseberry. Furze and whins occur together in Dr. Farmer's quotation from Holinshed. TOLLET.
205. For stale to catch these thieves.] Stale is a word in fowling, and is used to mean a bait or decoy to catch birds. So in A Looking Glass for London and England, 1617:
“ Hence tools of wrath, stales of temptation !" So in Green's Mamillia, 1595:
-that she might not strike at the stale, lest she were canvassed in the nets."
STEEVENS. 208. Nurture can never stick ; -] Nurture is edua cation.
STEEVENS, 210. And
his body uglier grows, So his mind cankers : -] Shakspere, when he wrote this description, perhaps recollected what his patron's most intimate friend, the great lord Essex, in an hour of discontent, said of queen Elizabeth;" that she grew old and canker'd, and that her mind was become as crooked as her carcase :". -a speech, which, according to Sir Walter Raleigh, cost him his head; and which, we may therefore suppose, was at that time much talked of. This play being manifestly