« AnteriorContinuar »
The ruddock is the red-breast, and is so called by Chaucer and Spenser :
“ The tame ruddock, and the coward kite." The office of covering the dead is likewise ascribed to the ruddock, by Drayton, in his poem called The Owl:
“ Cov’ring with moss the dead's unclosed eye, 6. The little red-breast teacheth charitie.”
STEEVENS. - the ruddock would, &c.] Is this an allusion to the babes of the wood, or was the notion of the redbreast covering dead bodies, general before the writing that ballad ?
Percy. This passage is imitated by Webster in his tragedy of The White Devil; and in such a manner, as confirms the old reading.
FARMER. Which of these two plays was first written, cannot now be determined. Wesbter's play was published in 1612, that of Shakspere did not appear in print till 1623. In the preface to the edition of Webster's play, he thus speaks of Shakspere :
" And lasily (without wrong last to be named), the right happy and copious industry of M. Shakspere," &c.
STEEVENS. We may fairly conclude that Webster imitated Shakspere; for in the same page to which Dr. Farmer has referred the foregoing lines, is found a passage taken almost literally from Hamlet. It is spoken by a distracted lady:
-you're very welcome ; “ Here's rosemary for you, and rue for you ; “ Heart's-ease for you; I pray make much of it;
“ I have left more for myself." The lines cited by Dr. Farmer stand thus in The White Devil:
“ Call for the robin-red-breast and the wren,
warm." Dr. Warburton hath asked, “What sense is there in winter-grounding a corse with moss ?" But winterground does not refer to moss, but to the last ante. cedent, flowers. The passage should therefore, in my opinion, be printed thus :
Yea, and furr'd moss beside-when flowers are
To winter-ground thy corse. i. e. you shall have also a covering of moss, when there are no flowers to adorn thy grave with that ornament with which Winter is usually decorated. So, in Cupid's Revenge, by Beaumont and Fletcher, 1625 : " He looks like Winter, stuck here and there with fresh flowers."
MALONE, 332. He was paid for that : -] Hanmer reads, He has paid for that: Fiij
rather plausibly than rightly. Paid is for punished, So Jonson : “ Twenty things more, my friend, which you
know due, “ For which, or pay me quickly, or I'll pay you."
reuerence ( That angel of the world), -] Reverence, or due regard to subordination, is the power that keeps peace and order in the world.
JOHNSON. 354. Fear no more, &c.] This is the topic of consolation that nature dictates to all men on these occasions. The same farewel we have over the dead body in Lucian. Τέκνον άθλιον έχετε διψήσεις, έχετει σεινήσεις, &c.
WARBURTON. 358. The sceptre, learning, &c.] The poet's sentiment seems to have been this :- All human excel. lence is equally subject to the stroke of death: neither the power of kings, nor the science of scholars, nor the art of those whose immediate study is the prolongation of life, can protect them from the final destiny of man.
JOHNSON. 362. Fear not slander, &c.] Perhaps,
Fear not slander's censure rash. JOHNSON, 365. Consign to thee, -] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
-seal A dateless bargain to engrossing death. To consign to thee, is to seal the same contrait with thee, î, e. add their names to thine upon the register of death.
370. Quiet consummation have;] Consummation is used in the same sense in K. Edward III. 1599 :
My soul will yield this castle of my flesh, “ This mangled tribute, with all willingness, “ To darkness, consummation, dust, and worms."
STEEVENS. 371. -thy grave!] For the obsequies of Fidele, a song was written by my unhappy friend, Mr. William Collins, of Chichester, a man of uncommon learning and abilities. I shall give it a place at the end of the play, in honour of his memory.
JOHNSON. 383. 'Ods pittikins !- -] This diminutive adjuration is used by Decker and Webster in Westward Hoe, 1607; in the Shoemaker's Holiday, or the Gentle Craft, 1610 : It is derived from God's my pity, which likewise occurs in Cymbeline.
STEEVENS. 401. -his Jovial face] Jovial face signifies, in this place, such a face as belongs to Jove. It is frequently used in the same sense by other old dra, matick writers. So Heywood, in The Silver Age:
-Alcides here will stand, “ To plague you all with his high jovial hand." Again, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630 :
“ Thou, jovial hand hold up thy sceptre high." Again, in his Golden Age, 1611, speaking of Jupiter:
-all that stand, " Sink in the weight of his high jovial hand.”
405. Conspird with, &c.] The old copy reads thus :
it should be,
JOHNSON. Irregulous (if there be such a word) must mean lawless, licentious, out of rule, jura negans sibi nata. In Reinolds's God's Revenge against Adultery, p. 121, I meet with “ irregulated lust.” STEVENS.
439. Last night the very gods shew'd me a vision ;] The very gods, the gods themselves immediately, and not by the intervention of other agents or instruments.
-] To do a picture, and a picture is well done, are standing phrases; the question therefore is, who has altered this picture, so as to make it otherwise than nature did it?
JOHNSON. Olivia speaking of her own beauty, as of a picture, asks Viola, if it “is not well done 2." STEEVENS.
Fecit was, till lately, the technical term universally annexed to pictures and engravings. HENLEY.
474. Richard du Champ.--] Shakspere was indebted for his modern names (which sometimes are mixed with ancient ones), as well as his anachronisms, to the fashionable novels of his time, In a collection