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tors read-winding brooks. The old copywindring. STEEVENS. P. 15, c. 1, l. 11. Leave your crisp channels,] Crisp, i. e. curling, winding. Crisp, however, allude may to the little wave or curl (as it is commonly called) that the gentlest wind occasions on the surface of waters. STEEVENS. Id. 1. 31. This is most strange :] Malone reads: "This is strange :" I have introduced the word-most, on account of the metre, which otherwise is defective.-In the first line of Prospero's next speech there is likewise an omission, but I have not ventured to supply it. STEEVENS.
Id. l. 43. all which it inherit,] i. e. all who possess, who dwell upon it. MALONE. Id. . 44. And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,] Faded means here-having vanished; from the Latin, vado. To feel the justice of this comparison, and the propriety of the epithet, the nature of these exhibitions should be remembered. The ancient English pageants were shows exhibited on the reception of a prince, or any other solemnity of a similar kind. They were presented on occasional stages erected in the streets. Originally they appear to have been nothing more than dumb shows; but before the time of our author, they had been enlivened by the introduction of speaking personages, who were characteristically habited. The speeches were sometimes in verse; and as the procession moved forward, the speakers, who constantly bore some allusion to the ceremony, either conversed together in the form of a dialogue, or addressed the noble person whose presence occasioned the celebrity. On these allegorical spectacles very costly ornaments were bestowed.
Id. l. 45. Leave not a rack behind:] "The winds (says lord Bacon) which move the clouds above, which we call the rack, and are not perceived below, pass without noise." Mr. Steevens would explain the word rack somewhat differently, by calling it the last fleeting vestige of the highest clouds, scarce perceptible on account of their distance and tenuity. What was anciently called the rack, is now termed by sailors-the scud. The word is common to many authors contemporary with Shakspeare. But sir Thomas Hanmer reads tract, for which there are some authorities; and Mr. Malone wrack, a misspelling for wreck; and after producing authorities, says, it has been urged, that "objects which have only a visionary and insubstantial existence, can, when the vision is faded, leave nothing real, and consequently no wreck behind them." But the objection is founded on misapprehension. The words "Leave not a rack (or wreck) behind," relate not to "the baseless fabrick of this vision," but to the final destruction of the world, of which the towers, temples, and palaces, shall (like a vision, or a pageant), be dissolved, and leave no vestige behind.
Id. 1. 58. Thy thoughts I cleave to:] To cleave to, is to unite with closely.
Id. l. 60.- to meet with Caliban.] To meet with is to counteract; to play stratagem against stratagem.
Id. l. 74. pricking goss,] I know not how Shakspeare distinguished goss from furze; for what he calls furze is called goss or gorse in the midland counties. STEEVENS.
By the latter, Shakspeare means the low sort of gorse that only grows upon wet ground, and which is well described by the name of whims in Markham's Farewell to Husbandry. It has prickles like those of a rose-tree or a gooseberry. TOLLET.
Id. c. 2, 1. 4. For stale to catch these thieves.] Stale is a word in fowling, and is used to mean a bait or decoy to catch birds. STEEVENS. Id. 1.7. Nurture can never stick;] Nurture is education.
Id. 1. 8. all, all lost,] The first of these words was probably introduced by the carelessness of the transcriber or compositor. We might safely read-are all lost. MALONE. Id. 1. 9. And as, with age, his body uglier grows, So his mind cankers:] Shakspeare, 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 cankered, 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 written in the time of king James, these obnoxious words might be safely repeated. MALONE.
l. 16. the blind mole may not
Hear a foot fall: This quality of hearing, which the mole is supposed to possess in so high a degree, is mentioned in Euphues, 4to. 1581, p. 64: " Doth not the lion for strength, the turtle for love, the ant for labour, excel man? Doth not the eagle see clearer, the vulture smell better, the moale heare lightlier?"
Id. l. 21. has done little better than played the Jack with us.] i. e. he has played Jack with a lantern; has led us about like an ignis fatuus, by which travellers are decoyed into the mire.
1. 46. Trin. O king Stephano! O peer! 0 worthy Stephano! look, what a wardrobe here is for thee! An allusion to an old celebrated ballad, which begins thus: "King Stephan was a worthy peer"—; and celebrates that king's parsimony with regard to his wardrobe.
ld. l. 48. we know what belongs to a frippery: A frippery was a shop where old clothes were sold. Fripperie, Fr. The person who kept one of these shops was called a fripper. Strype, in his life of Stowe, says, that these frippers lived in Birchin-lane and Cornhill.
Id. 1. 53. "Let it alone,”—MALONE. Id. l. 59. —— under the line:] An allusion to what often happens to people who pass the line. The violent fevers which they contract in that hot climate, make them lose their hair. Id. 1.68.---put some lime, &c.] That is, bird-lime. Id. 1. 71. to barnacles, or to apes-1 Skinner
says, barnacle is Anser Scoticus. The barnacle is a kind of shell-fish growing on the bottoms of ships, and which was anciently sup posed, when broken off, to become one of these geese.
Id. 1.72 With foreheads villainous low.] Low foreheads were anciently reckoned among deformities.
Id. l. 78. A noise of Hunters heard.] Shakspeare might have had in view Arthur's Chase, which many believe to be in France, and think that it is a kennel of black dogs followed by unknown huntsmen with an exceeding great sound of horns, as if it was a very hunting of some wild beast.
ACT V. SCENE I.
P. 16, c. 1, l. 20. - and time
Goes upright with his carriage.] Alluding
Id. 1. 63. (Weak masters though ye be.)] The meaning of this passage may be, Though you are but inferior masters of these supernatural powers though you possess them but in a low degree; or, ye are powerful auxiliaries, but weak if left to yourselves;employment is then to make green ringlets, and midnight mushrooms, and to play the idle pranks mentioned by Ariel in his next song; yet by your aid I have been enabled to invert the course of nature."
Id. 1.72. —— But this rough magic, &c.] This speech of Prospero sets out with a long and distinct invocation to the various ministers of his art yet to what purpose they were invoked does not very distinctly appear. Had our author written - "All this," &c. instead of But this," &c. the conclusion of the address would have been more pertinent to its beginning. STEEVENS.
Id. c. 2, 1. 9. — A solemn air, and the best
fumes of ignorance.
Id. 1. 25. Thou'rt pinch'd for't now, Sebastian. Flesh and blood,] Thus the old copy: Theobald points the passage in a different manner, and perhaps rightly :
"Thou'rt pinch'd for't now, Sebastian, flesh and blood."
Id. 1.27 remorse and nature;] Remorse is by our author and the contemporary writers generally used for pity, or tenderness of heart. Nature is natural affection. MALONE. Id. l. 41. —— In a cowslip's bell I lie ] So, in Drayton's Nymphidia :
"At midnight, the appointed hour; And for the queen a fitting bower, Quoth he, is that fair cowslip flower On Hipcut hill that bloweth." The date of this poem not being ascertained, we know not whether our author was indebted to it, or was himself copied by Drayton. I believe, the latter was the imitator. Nymphidia was not written, I imagine, till after the English Don Quixote had appeared in 1612 MALONE.
Id. 1. 42. Mr. Malone reads, "There I couch When owls do cry," la. 1. 42 when owls do cry ] i. e. at night. Id. 1. 44 After summer. merrily:] This is the reading of all the editions. Yet Mr. Theobald has substituted sun-set, because Ariel talks of riding on the bat in this expedition. shall I live now,
Id. l. 46.
Under the blosson that hangs on the bough.] This thought is not thrown out at random. It composed a part of the magical system of these days. The idea was probably first suggested by the description of the venerable elm which Virgil planted at the entrance of the infernal shades.
Id. l. 54. I drink the air-] To drink the air- is an expression of swiftness of the same kind as to devour the way in K. Henry IV. l. 65 Whe'r thou beest he, or no,] Whe'r for whether.
l. 72. Thy dukedom I resign;] The duchy of Milan being through the treachery of Antonio made feudatory to the crown of Naples, Alonso promises to resign his claim of sovereignty for the future.
17, c. 1, l. I.
You do yet taste
Some subtilties o'the isle, This is a phrase adopted from ancient cookery and confectionary. When a dish was so contrived as to appear unlike what it really was, they called it a subtilty. Dragons, castles, trees, &c. made out of sugar, had the like denomination. 1. IS who three hours since 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, should seem as if it were not accidental, but purposely designed to shew the cavillers of the time that he could write a play within all the strictest laws of regularity, when he chose to load himself with the critic's fetters. Id. 1. 22. I am woe fort, sir.] i. e. I am sorry for it. To be woe, is often used by old writers to signify, to be sorry.
Id. 1. 30. As great to me, as late ;] My loss is as great as yours, and has as lately happened to me. JOHNSON.
Are natural breath :] An anonymous correspondent thinks that their is a corruption, and that we should read these words. His conjecture appears not improbable. The lords had no doubt concerning themselves. Their doubts related only to Prospero.
Id. l. 63. Yes, for a score of kingdoms, &c.] I take the sense to be only this: Ferdinand would not, he says, play her false for the world: Yea, 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.
Id. c. 2, 52. My tricksy spirit!] is, my clever, adroit spirit. Shakspeare uses the same word in The Merchant of Venice. Id. 1. 56. - dead of sleep,] Thus the old copy. Modern editors asleep. Mr. Malone has substituted on sleep" as the ancient English phraseology.
conduct of:] Conduct for con
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
P. 17, c. 2, l. 76. The strangeness, &c.] Beating may mean hammering, working in the mind, dwelling long upon.
Id. 1. 78. (Which to you shall seem probable,)] I will inform you how all these wonderful accidents have happened; which, though they now appear to you strange, will then seem probable. MALONE.
P. 18, c. 1, l. 10.
Coragio!] An exclamation
Id. 1. 20. Is a plain fish,] That is, plainly, evidently a fish; but it is not easy to determine the shape which our author designed to bestow on his monster. That he has hands, &c. we gather from circumstances in the play. Perhaps Shakspeare himself had no settled ideas concerning the form of Caliban.
Id. 1. 22. true:] that is, honest. A true man is, in the language of that time, opposed to a thief.
Id 1. 24. His mother was a witch; and one so strong
That could control the moon, &c.] This was the phraseology of the times. After the statute against witches, revenge or ignorance frequently induced people to charge those against whom they harboured resentment, or entertained prejudices, with the crime of witchcraft, which had just then been declared a capital offence.
Id. 1. 25. And deal in her command, without her power: I suppose Prospero means, that Sycorax, with less general power than the moon, could produce the same effects on the sea. STEEVENS.
Id. 1. 35. And Trinculo is reeling ripe: Where should they
Find this grand LIQUOR that hath gilded them?] Warburton thinks that Shakspeare, to be sure, wrote-grand 'LIXIR, alluding to the grand elixir of the alchymists, which they pretend would restore youth and confer immortality. But Mr. Steevens says that, as the alchymist's elixir was supposed to be a liquor, the old reading may stand.
1. 39. fly-blowing.] This pickle alludes to their plunge into the stinking pool: and pickling preserves meat from fly-blowing. Id. 1. 41. - but a cramp,] i. e. I am all over a cramp. Prospero had ordered Ariel to shorten up their sinews with aged cramps. Touch me not alludes to the soreness occasioned by them.
Id. 1. 43. I should have been a sore one then.] The same quibble occurs afterwards in the Second Part of King Henry VI.: "Mass, 'twill be sore law then, for he was thrust in the mouth with a spear, and 'tis not whole yet." Stephano also alludes to the sores about him. STEEVENS.
SOME of the incidents in this play may be supposed to have been taken from The Arcadia, book i chap. vi., where Pyrocles consents to head the Helots. (The Arcadia was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company, Aug. 23, 1588.) The love adventure of Julia resembles that of Viola in Twelfth Night, and is, indeed, common to many of the ancient novels. STEE
Mrs. Lenox observes, and I think not improbably, that the story of Proteus and Julia might be taken from a similar one in the Diana of George of Montemayor.-"This pastoral romance," says she, "was translated from the Spanish in Shakspeare's time." I have seen no earlier translation than that of Bartholomew Yong, who dates his dedication in November, 1598; and Meres, in his Wit's Treasury, printed the same year, expressly mentions the Two Gentlemen of Verona. Indeed, Montemayor was translated two or three years before, by one Thomas Wilson; but this work, I am persuaded, was never published entirely; perhaps some parts of it were, or the tale might have been translated by others. However, Mr Steevens says, very truly, that this kind of loveadventure is frequent in the old novelists. FAR
There is no earlier translation of the Diana entered on the books of the Stationers' Company, than that of B. Younge, Sept. 1598. Many translations, however, after they were licensed, were capriciously suppressed. Among others, "The Decameron of Mr. John Boccace, Florentine," was "recalled by my lord of Canterbury's commands." STEEVENS.
It is observable (I know not for what cause) that the style of this comedy is less figurative,
and more natural and unaffected, than the greater part of this author's, though supposed to be one of the first he wrote. POPE.
It may very well be doubted whether Shakspeare had any other hand in this play than the enlivening it with some speeches, and lines thrown in here and there, which are easily distinguished, as being of a different stamp from the rest. HANMER.
To this observation of Mr. Pope, which is very just, Mr Theobald has added, that this is one of Shakspeare's worst plays, and is less corrupted than any other. Mr Upton peremptorily determines, that if any proof can be drawn from manner and style, this play must be sent packing, and seek for its parent elsewhere. How otherwise, says he, do painters distinguish copies from originals? and have not authors their peculiar style and manner, from which a true critic can form as unerring judgment as a painter? I am afraid this illustration of a critic's science will not prove what is desired. A painter knows a copy from an original by rules somewhat resembling those by which critics know a translation, which, if it be literal, and literal it must be to resemble the copy of a picture, will be easily distinguished. Copies are known from originals, even when the painter copies his own picture; so, if an author should literally translate his work, he would lose the manner of an original.
Mr Upton confounds the copy of a picture with the imitation of a painter's manner. Copies are easily known, but good imitations are not detected with equal certainty, and are, by the best judges, often mistaken. Nor is it true that the writer has always peculiarities equally distinguishable with those of the painter. The
peculiar manner of each arises from the desire, natural to every performer, of facilitating his subsequent work by recurrence to his former ideas; this recurrence produces that repetition which is called habit. The painter, whose work is partly intellectual and partly manual, has habits of the mind, the eye, and the hand; the writer has only habits of the mind. Yet, some painters have differed as much from themselves as from any other; and I have been told that there is little resemblance between the first works of Raphael and the last. The same variation may be expected in writers; and if it be true, as it seems, that they are less subject to habit, the difference between their works may be yet greater.
But by the internal marks of a composition we may discover the author with probability, though seldom with certainty. When I read this play,
I cannot but think that I find, both in the serious and ludicrous scenes, the language and sentiments of Shakspeare. It is not, indeed, one of his most powerful effusions; it has neither many diversities of character, nor striking delineations of life; but it abounds in you beyond most of his plays, and few have more lines or passages, which, singly considered, are eminently beautiful. I am yet inclined to believe that it was not very successful, and suspect that it has escaped corruption, only because being seldom played, it was less exposed to the hazards of transcription. JOHNSON.
This comedy was written in 1591, according to Mr Malone, who supposes it to have been our author's first play; and, viewed as a first production, he thinks it may be pronounced a very elegant and extraordinary performance.