« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
double, like Antipholis in The Comedy of Errors. The last word is corrupt. We should read,
-if he be but one KIND.
He thought his master was a kind of knave; however, he keeps himself in countenance with this reflection, that if he was a knave but of one kind, he might pass well enough amongst his neighbours. This is truly humourous. WARBURTON.
This alteration is acute and specious, yet I know not whether, in Shakspeare's language, one knave may not signify a knave on only one occasion, a single knave. We still use a double villain for a villain beyond the common rate of guilt. JOHNSON.
Line 277. —a team of horse shall not pluck— -] I see how Valentine suffers for telling his love-secrets, therefore I will keep mine close. JOHNSON.
Line 292. With my master's ship?- -] How does Launce mistake the word? Speed asks him about his mastership, and he replys to it literatim. But then how was his mastership at sea, and on shore too? The addition of a letter and a note of apostrophe makes Launce both mistake the word, and sets the pun right it restores, indeed, but a mean joke; but, without it, there is no sense in the passage. Besides, it is in character with the rest of the scene; and, I dare be confident, the poet's own conceit. THEOBALD.
Line 307. -St. Nicholas be thy speed!] St. Nicholas presided over scholars, who were therefore called St. Nicholas's clerks. Hence, by a quibble between Nicholas and Old Nick, highwaymen, in The First Part of Henry the Fourth, are called Nicholas's clerks. WARBURTON.
-stock.] i. e. Hose.
Line 317. 330. copy reads,
-she is not to be kiss'd fasting,- -] The old -she is not to be fasting, &c. The necessary word kiss'd was first added by Mr. Rowe. STEEVENS.
-sweet mouth.] This I take to be the same with what is now vulgarly called a sweet tooth, a luxurious desire of dainties and sweetmeats. JOHNSON. Line 352. —praise her liquor.] That is, shew how well she likes it by drinking often. JOHNSON. Line 355. —she is too liberal.] Liberal, is licentious and
gross in language. So in Othello, "Is he not a profane and very "liberal counsellor ?" JOHNSON. Line 360. - -she hath more hair than wit.] An old English proverb. See Ray's Proverbs:
"Bush natural, more hair than wit."
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 399. Trench'd in ice ;] Cut, carved in ice. Trencher, to cut, French.
Line 428. with circumstance,- -] With the addition of such incidental particulars as may induce belief. JOHNSON. Line 444. -as you unwind her love―] As wind off you her love from him, make me the bottom on which you wind it. The housewife's term for a ball of thread wound upon a central body, is a bottom of thread.
-lime,- -] i. e. Birdlime.
471. For Orpheus' lute was strung with poet's sinews ;] This shews Shakspeare's knowledge of antiquity. He here assigns Orpheus his true character of legislator. For under that of a poet only, or lover, the quality given to his lute is unintelligible. But considered as a lawgiver, the thought is noble, and the imagery exquisitely beautiful. For by his lute is to be understood his system of laws; and by the poet's sinews, the power of numbers, which Orpheus actually employed in those laws to make them received. by a fierce and barbarous people. WARBURTON.
Line 480. 491.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
· Line 6. If not, we'll make you sit, and rifle you.] The old copy reads as I have printed it. Paltry as the opposition between stand and sit may be thought, it is Shakspeare's own. The editors read, -we'll make you, Sir, &c. STEEVENS
Line 13. 40.
-a proper man.] i. e. A good-looking man. -Robin Hood's fat friar,] Robin Hood was cap
tain of a band of robbers, and was much inclined to rob church
-inherit―] i. e. Obtain.
-I will pardon you.] I will excuse you from
Line 52. awful men;] Reverend, worshipful; such as magistrates, and other principal members of civil communities. JOHNS. I think we should read lawful, in opposition to lawless men. In judicial proceedings the word has this sense. HAWKINS. The author of The Revisal has proposed the same emendation. STEEVENS.
Line 55. An heir, and near allied unto the duke.] All the impressions, from the first downwards, An heir and niece allied unto the duke. But our poet would never have expressed himself so stupidly, as to tell us, this lady was the duke's neice, and allied to him for her alliance was certainly sufficiently included in the first term. Our author meant to say, she was an heiress, and near allied to the duke; an expression the most natural that can be for the purpose, and very frequently used by the stage poets.
ACT IV. SCENE II,
Line 96. sudden quips,] That is, hasty passionate reproaches and scoffs. So Macbeth is in a kindred sense said to be sudden; that is, irascible and impetuous. JOHNSON. Line 131. beauty lives with kindness:] Beauty without kindness dies unenjoyed, and undelighting. JOHNSON. Line 162. out of all nick.] Beyond all reckoning or count. Reckonings are kept upon nicked or notched sticks or tallies.
Line 182. You have your wish; my will is even this,―] The word will is here ambiguous. He wishes to gain her will: she tells him, if he wants her will he has it. JOHNSON.
Line 220. But, since your falshood shall become you well] This is hardly sense. We may read, with very little alteration,
But since you're false, it shall become you well.
JOHNSON. This simple comment of Dr. Johnson's gives the author's meaning, without quoting Mr. Tyrwhitt, Mr. Ritson, and Mr. Malone.
Line 232. -most heaviest.] The double superlative may be frequently observed in our author.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 256. Upon whose grave thou vow'd'st pure chastity.] It was common in former ages for widowers and widows to make vows of chastity in honour of their deceased wives or husbands. In Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, page 1013, there is this form of a commission by the bishop of the diocese for taking a vow of chastity made by a widow. It seems that, besides observing the wow, the widow was, for life, to wear a veil and a mourning habit. The same distinction we may suppose to have been made in respect of male votarists; and therefore this circumstance might inform the players how Sir Eglamour should be drest; and will account for Silvia's having chosen him as a person in whom she could confide without injury to own character. STEEVENS, grievances;] Sorrows, sorrowful affections.
275. Recking as little what betideth me,] i. e. Caring as little what befalleth me.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Line 296. -takes upon him to be a dog] I believe we should read, I would have, &c. one that takes upon him to be a dog, to be a dog indeed, to be, &c. JOHNSON.
-a pissing while,] A proverb. See Ray.
360. It seems, you loved her not, to leave her token :] Protheus does not properly leave his lady's token, he gives it away. The old edition has it,
It seems you lov'd her not, not leave her token.
I should correct it thus,
It seems you lov'd her not, nor love her token.
Line 390. To carry that, which I would have refus'd;] The sense is, To go and present that which I wish to be not accepted, to praise him whom I wish to be dispraised. JOHNSON. Line 446. And pinch'd the lily-tincture of her face.] The colour
of a part pinched is livid, as it is commonly termed, black and blue. The weather may therefore be justly said to pinch when it produces the same visible effect. I believe this is the reason why the cold is said to pinch.
Cleopatra says of herself,
'I that am with Phoebus' pinches black."
Line 456.weep a-good,] Means, weeping in earnest. twas Ariadne, passioning
For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight;] The history of this twice-deserted lady is too well known to need any illustration.
To passion is used as a verb by writers contemporary with Shakspeare. In The Blind Beggar of Alexandria, printed 1598, we meet with the same expression:
what are thou passioning over the picture of Cleanthes ?” STEEVENS. Line 483. I'll get me such a colour'd periwig.] About the year 1610, wigs of various coloured hair became fashionable.
Line 485. her forehead's low,- -] A high forehead was in our author's time accounted a feature eminently beautiful. So in The History of Guy of Warwick, Felice his lady is said to have the same high forehead as Venus. JOHNSON.
Line 493. My substance should be STATUE in thy stead.] It is evident this noun should be a participle statued, i. e. placed on a pedestal, or fixed in a shrine to be adored. WARBURTON.
Statued is, I am afraid, a new word, and that it should be received is not quite evident. JOHNSON.
It appears to me that Warburton and Johnson's explanations are quite sufficient, and instead of quoting or abridging the remarks of many commentators upon a single word like "statue," how it should be read, pronounced, and measured, I have here, as in many other places, adopted every possible opportunity of omitting such prolix and tiresome criticism; which, so far from assisting the purposes of elegant learning, by colloquial analogies weaken and destroy the argument; and answer, in my opinion, no one purpose, but that of augmenting the edition, by a display of old reading.