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ACT I. SCENE I.
LINE 1. In this naval dialogue, perhaps the first example of sailor's language exhibited on the stage, there are, as I have been told by a skilful navigator, some inaccuracies and contradictory orders.
Line 3. Fall to't yarely,--] i. e. Readily, nimbly. Our author is frequent in his use of this word. STEEVENS.
Line 7. -blow, till thou burst thy wind,-] Perhaps it might read, blow till thou burst, wind, if room enough. JOHNSON. Perhaps rather, -blow till thou burst thee, wind! if room enough. Beaum. and Fletcher have copied this passage in The Pilgrim.
-Blow, blow west wind,
Blow till thou rive.
Line 10. Play the men.] i. e. Act like men. The same expression occurs in scripture, 2 Sam. x. 12. "Be of good courage, "and let us play the men for our people.
Line 29. Gonzalo.] It may be observed of Gonzalo, that, being the only good man that appears with the king, he is the only man that preserves his cheerfulness in the wreck, and his hope on the island.
Line 49. -unstanch'd-] i. e. incontinent.
Line 50. Lay her a-hold, a-hold;] To lay a ship a-hold, is to bring her to lie as near the wind as she can, in order to keep clear of the land, and get her out to sea.
Line 51. -set her two courses off to sea again,—] The courses are the main-sail and fore-sail.
The passage, as Mr. Holt has observed, should be pointed, Set
her two courses; off, &c.
merely] In this place signifies absolutely. In
which sense it is used in Hamlet, Act 1. Sc. 3.
"Possess it merely.".
to glut him.] Shakspeare probably wrote, t'englut him, to swallow him; for which I know not that glut is ever used by him. In this signification englut, from engloutir, French, occurs frequently, as in Henry VI.
-Thou art so near the gulf
"Thou needs must be englutted."
And again in Timon and Othello. Yet Milton writes glutted offal for swallowed, and therefore perhaps the present text may stand. JOHNSON.
Line 67. Farewell, brother!] All these lines have been hitherto given to Gonzalo, who has no brother in the ship. It is probable that the lines succeeding the confused noise within should be considered as spoken by no determinate characters, but should be printed thus.
1 Sailor. Mercy on us!
We split, we split!
2 Sailor. Farewell, my, &c.
3 Sailor. Farewell, brother, &c.
Line 72. -long heath,-] This is the common name for
the erica baccifera.
ACT I. SCENE II.
or e'er] i. e. before.
Line 91. Pro. No harm.] I know not whether Shakspeare did
not make Miranda speak thus:
O, woe the day! no harm?
To which Prospero properly answers:
I have done nothing but in care of thee.
Miranda, when she speaks the words, 0, woe the day! supposes, not that the crew had escaped, but that her father thought differently from her, and counted their destruction no harm.
Line 95. -more better] This is one of those ungrammatical expressions frequently made use of by the oldest writers. Line 96. full poor cell,] i. e. A cell in great poverty: an expression used as a degree of comparison; thus in Henry VIII. -"full surely his greatness is a ripening"-and in Anthony and Cleopatra, Act I. "I am fully sorry."
meddle] i. e. Interfere, mingle.
103. Lie there my art-] a common phrase in the time of queen Elizabeth.
virtue of compassion] Virtue: the most efficacious part, the energetic quality; in a like sense we say, The virtue of a plant is in the extract.
Line 108. that there is no soul-] Thus the old editions read, but this is apparently defective. Mr. Rowe, and after him Dr. Warburton, read that there is no soul lost, without any notice of the variation. Mr. Theobald substitutes no foil, and Mr. Pope follows him. JOHNSON.
-no soul] Such interrupted sentences are not uncommon to Shakspeare: he sometimes begins a sentence, and before he concludes it, entirely changes the construction because another, more forcible, occurs.
Line 123. Out three years old.] i. e. Quite three years old. abysm] i. c. Abyss.
-thou his only heir, &c.] Perhaps and thou his
Perhaps we should read,
-no worse issu'd.
Romeo and Juliet:
-teen- -] Is sorrow, grief, trouble. So in
-to my teen be it spoken."
Line 174. To trash for over-topping;—
To trash, as Dr.
Warburton observes, is to cut away the superfluities.