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lb. 1. 18. My tear. Read—a tear.
Ib. 1. 21. While thou, on Tereus descants better still. Descants for descant'st -' this kind of error occurs in almost every line of our author's plays.
Philomel, the daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, was ravished by Tereus, the husband of her sister Progne. According to the fable she was turned into a nightingale, Tereus into a lapwing, and Progne into a swallow.
There seems to be something wanting to complete the sense—with better skill—but this will not suit the metre. In a preceding line, however, the preposition with, though equally wanting to complete the sense, is omitted as here:—
"For day hath nought to do what's done by night."
Perhaps the author wrote, (I say, perhaps,, for in Shalespeare's licentious grammar nothing is very certain)—
"I'll hum on Tarquin's ill,
While thou on Tereus descant'st better still."
Ib. 1. 26. Who, if it wink. Shatespeare seldom attends to the last antecedent. The construction is— which heart, if the eye wink, &c. Malone.
P. 98,1. 10. Or once. Read—One.
Ib. 1. 14. And death reproaches debtor. Reproaches is here, I think, the Saxon genitive case.—When death is the debtor of reproach, she debates whether she should not rather destroy herself than live; life being disgraced in consequence of her violation, and her death being a debt which she owes to the reproach of her conscience. Malone.
Though, I confess, there be much ingenuity in the above remark, yet I do not think it was Shakespeare's meaning. The debate is-~-to live or die. The argument against life is—it is sham'd, disgrac'd. The argument against death is—that death; i. e. suicide reproaches, censures the act of taking away that life for which we are indebted to beaven: this, however, is reconciled by further arguing, as in the following stanza— that the soul may suffer pollution as well as the body, ficc.
"My body, or my soul, which was the dearer? "When the one pure the other made divine," &c.
Ib, 1. 19. A merciless conclusion; i.e. a merciless practice; a cruel experiment. Malone.
Ib. 1. 25. From heaven. Read—-for heaven.
P. 99,1. 13. Which by him tainted. The first copy has, by an apparent error of the press—which for him tainted. The correction was made in the octavo, 1598. Malone.
P. 100, 1. 8. When Celatine shall oversee this will. Read, according to the quarto:—
"Thou, Colatine, shalt oversee," &c.
The overseer of a will was, I suppose, designed as a check upon the executors. Our author appoints John Hall and his wife for his executors; and Thomas Russel and Francis Collins as bis overseers. Steevens.
Overseers were frequently added in wills, from the superabundant caution of our ancestors; but our law acknowledges no such persons, nor are they (as contradistinguished from executors) invested with any legal rights whatsoever. In some old wills the term overseer is used instead of eiecutor. Sir Thomas Bo'dley, the founder of the Bodleian Library, in Oxford, was not content with appointing two executors, and two overseen, but likewise added three supervisors. Malone.
Ib. 1. 13 and 14. Yield to my hand, &c. Other copies read-—
"Yield to my hand, my hand shall conquer thee, "Thou dead, both die, and both shall victors be." Ib. 1. 24. And sorts a sad look. To sort, is to choose out. So before,—
"When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end."
P. 101,1.8. A pretty while. Pretty seems formerly to have sometimes had the signification of petty—as in the present instance.
Ib. 1. 13. Other smarts. Read—others'.
Ib. 1. 16. And therefore they are form'd as marble will. Other copies read—ore they formed &c.
Hence do they (women) receive whatever impression their marble-hearted associates (men) choose. The expression is very quaint. Malone.
Ib. 1. 22. Like an even champaign plain. Other copies read—like a goodly champaign plain.
P. 102,1. 1 and 2. No maninveighs, &c. The quarto edition reads—inveigh and chide, making it the imperative mood—Let no man inveigh, &c. Editor.
Ib. 1. 4. Be held. The quarto reads—hild, for the sake of rhyme.
Ib. 1. 5. They are so fulfill'd. Fulfilled had formerly the sense ot filled. It is so used in our liturgy. Malone.
Fulfilled means completely filled, till there be no room for more. The word, in this sense, is now obsolete. Steevens.
Ib. 1. 7. Make weak mad women. Read—weak' made. ,
Ib. 1. 13. Tlie dying. Read—That dying.
Ib. 1. 16. To the poor counterfeit of her complaining. To her maid, whose countenance exhibited an image of her mistress's grief. A counterfeit, in ancient language, signified a portrait. Malone.
Ib. 1. 20. Gentle wench. Wench was formerly understood as a simple, innocent, girl; though now a name of reproach. Editor.
P. 103,1.18. Blotted still with will. Other copies, read—blotted straight with will.
Ib. 1. 27. So I commend me, &c. Shakespeare has here closely followed the practice of bis own timesMalone.
P. 104, 1. 5. She dares not therefore, &c. Read— thereof, &c.
Ib. 1. 7. Strain'd excuse. Read—Stain'd excuse.
Ib. 1. 17. The heavy motion that it doth beheld. Our author seems to have been thinking of those heavy motions, called dumb-shows, which were exhibited on the stage in his time. Motion, in old language, signifies a puppet-show, and the person who spoke for the puppets was called the interpreter. Malone.
lb. 1. 20. Deep sounds make lesser noise, &c. Thus the quarto, 1594, and all the subsequent copies. The author probably wrote :—
"Deep floods make lesser noise," &c. So before,—
"Deep woes roll forward like a gentle flood."
The old reading is, perhaps, the true one. A sound, in naval language, is such part of the sea as may be sounded. We have all heard of Plymouth Sound, the depth of which is sufficient to carry vessels that draw the most water. The contradiction in term is of little moment. We still talk of the bach -front of a house; and every ford or sound is comparatively deep. Steevens.
I suspect that Shakespeare wrote not sounds, but floods, for these reasons:—
1. Because there is scarce an English poet that has not compared real sorrow to a deep water; and loquacious and counterfeited grief to a bubbling shallow stream. The comparison is always between a river and a brook ; nor have I observed the sea once mentioued, in the various places in which this trite thought is expressed. Shakespeare, we see, has it in this very poem, in a preceding passage, in which deep woes are compared to a gentle flood.
2. Because, supposing the poet to have had the sea in his contemplation, some reason ought to be assigned why he should have chosen those parts of it called sounds. To give force to the present sentiment, they must be supposed to be peculiarly still; whereas the