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To the Rev. Mr. WARBURTON.
DEAR SIR, Wyan's Court, Dec. 4, 1729. I have received none from you since the three confessed in my last, viz. 29th of November. I hope, no miscarriage of the post.
I now proceed where my last left off.
What purpose? The old quarto reads as I think we ought to restore it:
To listen our propose. i. e. hearken to our conversation. So, above, in this very speech:
Proposing with the Prince and Claudio; i. e. conversing with. So in Othello, p. 326, wherein the toged Couns'lers (for so I read that passage) can propose as masterly as he.
And, besides, Hero repeats the very same thing, in other words, in the next page (95):
Close by the ground to hear our conference. P. 96. But she would spell him backward; if fair-fac'd,
She'd swear the gentleman should be her sis
ter; &c. Some of our Poet's modern Editors pretend he never imitates any passages in the Antients.
Methinks, this is so very like a remarkable description in Lucretius, iv. 1154, &c. that I cannot help suspecting Shakespeare had it in view :
Nigra, μελίχροος est: iminunda & fetida, άκοσμος
Magna atque immanis, natánangis, plenaque honoThe only difference is, that the Latin Poet's characteristics turn upon praise; our Countryman's, upon the hinge of derogation.
P. 99. She shall be buried with her face upwards.
What is there any ways particular in this ? are not all men and women buried so ? Sure the Poet means, in opposition to the general rule, with her heels upwards, or face downwards. P. 104. Thou should rather ask if it were possible any
villainy should be so RICH? for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.
If this be not mock-reasoning, I ought to submit to own myself very dull: for I cannot reconcile it to the sense that seems required. Should we not rather read ?
If it were possible any villainy should be so CHEAP? And Conrade's preceding question, I think, warrants this answer :
Is it possible that any villainy should be so DEAR ? P. 105. Conr. Masters, masters.
2d Watch. You'll be made to bring deformed
forth, I warrant you. Cour. Masters, never speak, we charge you,
let us obey you to go with us. I am confident something is wrong in the placing of part of these speeches. I allow, the Poet meant nonsense; but not nonsense without humour, as the Editors here thrust it upon him, and poor Conrade. I am persuaded you will approve my regulation of the place.
Conr. Masters, Masters
2d Wa. Never speak: - We charge you, &c. P.116. Your daughter here the PRINCESS (left for dead)
Let her awhile, &c. But how comes Hero to start up a Princess here? We have no intimation of her father being a Prince; and this is the first and only time she is complimented with this dignity. The remotion of a single letter and the parenthesis will bring her to her own rank, and the place to its true meaning.
Your daughter here the PRINCES left for dead;
Let her, &c. i. e. Pedro Prince of Arragon; and his bastard brother, who is likewise called a Prince. So again, p. 115:
To burn the error that these Princes hold
Against her maiden honour. And p.... there is some strange misprision in the Princes. And p. 129, I thank you, Princes, for, &c. P. 120. Write down, master Gentleman Conrade; Masters, do you serve God?
you serve God ? Masters, it is proved already, &c. It is plain, by Mr. Pope's list, he has never seen the quarto, in 1600, of this Play; or, if he has, I will soon make it plain that he never has collated it.
The Town-clerk here asks a question, and never stays for an answer to it. But the quarto supplies this defect; and adds something very humourous, and in character: To. Cl. Write down, master Gentleman Conrade.
Masters, do you serve God? Both. Yea, Sir, we hope. To. Cl. Write down, that they hope they serve God:
and write God first: for God defend but God should
go before such villains.—Masters, it is proved, &c. P. 122. If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard,
And hallow, wag, cry hem, when, &c. Mr. Rowe is the first authority that I can find for this reading. But what is the intention of it? If a man will
halloo and whoop, and fidget and wriggle about, to shew his pleasure, when he should groan?
The old quarto, and the first and second folio editions all read,
And sorrow, wagge, cry, &c. But we do not get much by this reading neither ; yet, I think, by a slight alteration, it will lead us to the true one:
And sorrow wage, cry bem, &c. i.e. combat with, strive against sorrow.
So So Lear, p. 397 :
To wage, against the enmity o'th' air,
Necessity's strong pinch.
Neglecting an attempt of ease and gain,
To wake and wage a danger profitless. P. 124. Canst thou so daffe me?
Is not Mr. Pope's explanation wrong here? daffe and doffe I take to be synonymous; and that the old man means,
Canst thou shake me off so? P. 125. And speak of half a dozen dang’rous words. Certainly; and speak off half, &c. So Twelfth Night, p. 229 :
A terrible oath with a swaggering accent sharply twang'd ofi, &c. P. 132. To have no man come over me? Why, shall
I always keep below stairs ?
It is evident to demonstration that Leonato must speak this; for Hero, his daughter, worked up Beatrice to be in love with Benedick.
P. 137. Leon. This same is she, and I do give you her.
Now it is as evident that this must be spoke by Antonio: for, in the preceding page, Leonato says to him,
You know your office, brother;
And give her to young Claudio.
One Hero dy’d, but I do live;
And surely as I live I am a maid. How is this made out? One Hero died, and she lives; but how is she another Hero.
The old quarto solves the difficulty, and makes the last line reasonable.
One Hero dy'd DEFIL’D; but I do live,
P. 138. Beat. I would not deny you, but by this good
day I yield upon good perswasion.
I would yet deny you, but, &c.
Nay, pray niece, don't keep up this obstinacy of
Bene. Peace, I will stop your mouth. For else, with what propriety does Pedro immediately reply, but upon seeing such an evidence of fondness,
How do'st thou, Benedick, the married man? The like expression for it, I remember we have in Troilus, p. 318: Cress.
Stop my mouth. Troil. And shall, albeit sweet musick issues thence, &c.
And so I end this Play, Sir, I hope, con la bocca dolce.
Now to the Merchant of Venice. -
(for when did Friendship take A breed of barren metal of his Friend?) A breed of metal, as Mr. Pope rightly observes, may signify money at usury; but then will barren metal breed? I rather think the Poet wrote,
A breed of BEARING metal. i. e. producing an increase, by usury, or interest. Consonant to this, you know, the Latins explained interest thus: fænus, fætum accepti; and the Greeks called it Tóxos. Both which expressions take in our Poet's idea of a breed. See Nonius Marcellus in v. Faenus & Mutuum ; and Gronovius de Sestertio, 4to, p. 414.
P. 158. And hedg’d me by his wit to yield myself.
Sure the father shewed rather whim and extravagance, than any grain of wit, in this compelled disposition of his daughter: for it guarded against no inconveniences, as the consent of trustees might VOL, II.