« AnteriorContinuar »
round the globe? But to put the matter quite out of question, let us consider the meaning of this line :
There I couch when owls do cry. Where? in the cowslip's belt, and where the bee sucks, he tells us: this must needs be in summer. When? when owls cry; and this is in winter:
« When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
The Song of Winter in Love's Labour's Lost. The consequence is, that Ariel flies' after summer. Yet the Oxford editor has adopted this judicious emendation of Mr. Theobald.
WARBURTON. Ariel does not appear to have been confined to the island summer and winter, as he was sometimes sent on so long an errand as to the Bermoothes. When he says, On the bat's back I do fly, &c. he speaks of his present situation only, nor triumphs in the idea of his future liberty, till the last couplet :
Merrily, merrily, &c. The bat is no bird of passage, and the expression is therefore probably used to signify, not that he pursues summer, but that after summer is past, he rides upon the soft down of a bat's back, which suits not imprue perly with the delicacy of his airy being.
Shakspere, who, in his Midsummer Night's Dream, has placed the light of a glow-worin in its eyes, might, through the same ignorance of natural history, have supposed the bat to be a bird of passage. Owls cry aut in winter. It is well known that they are to the
full as clamorous in summer ; and as a proof of it, Titania, in the Midsummer Night's Dream, the time of which is supposed to be May, commands her fairies to---keep back The clamorous owl, that nightly hoots.
STEEVENS. 107. I drink the air - ] Is an expression of swiftness of the same kind, as to devour the way in Henry IV.
JOHNSON. 125. Thy dukedom I resign ; -] The dutchy of Milan being through the treachery of Anthonio made feudatory to the crown of Naples, Alonso promises to resign his claim of sovereignty for the future.
STEEVENS. 149. who three hours since] The unity of time is most rigidly observed in this piece. The fable scarcely takes up a greater number of hours than are employed in the representation, and from the very particular care which our author takes to point out this circumstance in so many other passages, as well as here, it should seem as if it were not accidental, but purposely designed to shew the admirers of Ben Jonson's art, and the cavillers of the time, that he too could write a play within all the strictest laws of regularity, when he chose to load himself with the critick's fe ers.
The boatswain marks the progress of the day again -which but three glasses since, &c. and at the beginning of this act the duration of the time employed on the stage is particularly ascertained ; and it refers to a
passage in the first act, of the same tendency. The storm was raised at least two glasses after mid-day, and Ariel was promised that the work should cease at the sixth hour.
STEEVENS. 153. I am woe for'l, sir.] i. e. I am sorry for it. To be woe is often used by old writers to signify, to be sorry. So Chaucer. See The Court of Love, p. 36.*
I wolde be wo,
“ But be ye sure I would be woe,
STEEVENS. 161. As great to me, as late ; --] My loss is as great as yours, and has as lately happened to me.
JOHNSON. 192.' Yes, for a score of kingdoms -] I take the sense to be only this: Ferdinand would not, he says, play her false for the world; yes, answers she, I would allow you to do it for something less than the world, for twenty kingdoms, and I wish you well enough to allow you after a little wrangle, that your play was fair. So likewise Dr. Grey. JOHNSON.
I would recommend another punctuation, and their the sense would be as follows:
Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle,
And I would call it fair play; because such a contest would be worthy of you.
STEEVENI. 225. Let us not burden our remembrance, -]
The old copy has-remembrances. The emendation was Mr. Pope's.
MALONE. 241. When no man was his own.] For when per-,' haps should be read where.
JOHNSON. When is certainly right ; i. e. at a time when no one was in his senses. Shakspere could not have written where [i. e, in the island), becalise the mind of Pro.. spero, who lived in it, had not been disordered. It is still said, in colloquial language, that a madman is not his own man, i. e. is not master of himself,
STEEVENS. 258. My tricksy spirit!] Is, I believe, my clever, adroit spirit. Shakspere uses the same word else. where:
" that for a tricksy word
“ Defy the matter." So in the interlude of the Disobedient Child, bl. let.
po date :
Linvent and seek out “ To make them go tricksie, gallaunt, and cleane."
STEEVENS. 262. ---dead asleep,] The old copy reads-of sleep. The emendation by Mr. Pope. STEEYENS.
277. -Conduel-} For conductor. So, in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour : " Come, gentlemen, I will be your condu&l."
Steevens. Conduct is yet used in the same sense : the person at Cambridge who reads prayers in King's and in Trinity College Chapels, is still so styled. Henley.
-with beating on
The strangeness, &c.] A similar expression occurs in one of the parts of Henry W.
-] The same phrase is found in The Two Noble Kinsmen, by Beaumont and Fletcher, 1634 :
6. This her mind beats on." The jailor's daughter, whose mind was disordered, is the person spoken of. A kindred expression occurs in Hamlet : Cudgel thy brains no more about it.”
MALONE. 283. (Which to you shall seem probable)] These words seem, at the first view, to have no use; some lines are perhaps lost with which they were connected. Or we may explain them thus: I will resolve you, by yourself, which method, when you hear the story [of, Anthonio's and Sebastian's plot], shall seem probable ; that is, shall deserve your approbation. JOHNSON.