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But when he saw his love, his youth's fair fee,
Throwing the base thong from his bending crest,
Who sees his true love in her naked bed,
Who is so faint, that dare not be so bold,
Let me excuse thy courser, gentle boy ;
6 Who sees his true love in her NAKED BED,
Teaching the shEETS A WHITER HUE THAN White,] So, in Cymbeline:
“ And whiter than the sheets." Who sees, &c. is the reading of the quarto 1593. In the 16mo. of 1596, for sees, we have-seeks. The true reading was restored in the edition of 1600; but it is manifest, from various other instances, that the correction was made by guess, and not from a comparison of copies.
The following passage in a poem by George Peele, preserved in an old miscellany, entitled the Phænix Nest, 4to, 1593, in which a similar sentiment is found, (and which, perhaps, Shakspeare had in his thoughts,) fully supports the reading of the original copy :
“ Who hath beheld faire Venus in her pride
“ Of nakednes all alablaster white,
" And hath not bin enchanted with the sight.
“ To coy, to court, et cætera to doe ;
MALONE. 7 His other agents aim at like delight?] So also Macbeth expresseth himself to his wife :
“- I am settled, and bend up
“ Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.” AMNER. VOL. XX.
To take advantage on presented joy;
I know not love, (quoth he,) nor will not know it,
For I have heard it is a life in death,
Who wears a garment shapeless and unfinish'd ?
The colt that's back'd and burthen'd being young,
8 My love to love is love but to disgrace it;] My inclination towards love is only a desire to render it contemptible. --The sense is almost lost in the jingle of words. Malone. 9 For I have heard it is a life in death, That LAUGHS, AND WEEPs, &c.] So, in King Richard III. :
“ For now they kill me with a living death." Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ These lovers cry,-Oh! ob ! they die !
“So dying love lives still :
“ Oh ! oh! groans out for ha! ha! ha!" MALONE. · Who plucks the bud before one leaf put forth ?] So, in The Shepheard's Song of Venus and Adonis, by H. C. 1600 :
“ I am now too young
You hurt my hand with wringing; let us part”,
What! canst thou talk, (quoth she,) hast thou a
tongue ? 0, would thou had'st not, or I had no hearing! Thy mermaid's voice 4 hath done me double wrong; I had my load before, now press'd with bearing: Melodious discord, heavenly tune harsh-sound
ing, Ear's deep-sweet musick ", and heart's deep-sore
? You hurt my hand with WRINGING ; let us part,] So, in the song above quoted :
i. Wind thee from mee, Venus,
“ Thus to be enclosed !” Malone.
To Love's alarm it will not ope the gate :] So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“ You—to remove that siege of grief from her —." Again, ibid. :
“ She will not stay the siege of loving terms." Malone. 4 Thy MERMAID's voice —] Our ancient writers commonly use mermaid for syren. Steevens.
See vol. iv. p. 205, n. 2. Malone. s Ear's deep-sweet musick,] Thus the original copy 1593. In the edition of 1600, we find—“ Earth's deep-sweet musick ;" which has been followed in all the subsequent copies. This and various other instances prove, that all the changes made in that copy were made without any authority, sometimes from carelessness, and sometimes from ignorance. Malone.
Had I no eyes, but ears, my ears would love"
Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see,
Say, that the sense of feeling' were bereft me,
For from the still’tory of thy face excelling
0 - and invisible ;] I suspect that both for the sake of better rhyme, and better sense, we should read invincible. These words are misprinted, alternately one for the other, in King Henry IV. Part II. and King John. STEEVENS.
In the present edition, however, the reader will find the word invisible, in the passage referred to in King John, and invincible, in the second part of King Henry IV. as those words stand in the old copy. See vol. xv. p. 365, n. 6, and vol. xvii. p. 137, n. 9.
An opposition was, I think, clearly intended between external beauty, of which the eye is the judge, and a quelody of voice, (which the poet calls inward beauty,) striking not the sight but the ear. I therefore have no doubt that invisible, which is found in the original copy 1593, as well as in the subsequent editions, is the true reading.
As to the weakness of the rhymes, the objection has little weight in any instance, for we know our ancient poets were satisfied often with feeble rhymes : and still less in the present case, the very same rhymes being again found in Love's Labour's Lost, Act V. Sc. II. :
“ The tongues of mocking wenches are as keen
“As is the razor's edge invisible,
“ Above the sense of sense : so sensible
“ Seemeth their conference.” Malone. 7 Say, that the sense of feeling - ] Thus the ancient copies. All the modern editions read-reason. Malone.
8 Comes BREATH PERFUM'D, &c.] So, in Constable's poem :
But 0, what banquet wert thou to the taste,
Lest jealousy, that sour unwelcome guest",
Once more the ruby-colour'd portal open'd',
Sorrow to shepherds, woe unto the birds,
This ill presage advisedly she marketh :-
“ Breathe once more thy balmie wind:
“ Never was perfume so sweet." Malone. 9 — Might ever last,] Thus the original copy. For might -should is substituted in the edition of 1596. Malone.
"And bid Suspicion double lock the door?] A bolder or happier personification than this, will not readily be pointed out in any of our author's plays. Malone. Lest jealousy, that sour unwelcome guest, &c.]
- ne quis malus invidere possit,
Quum tantum sciat esse basiorum. Catullus. Malone. 3 — the ruby-colour'd Portal open’d,] So, in King Henry IV. Part II. :
“ — By his gates of breath
“ There lies a downy-feather -," Malone. *- foul flaws —] i. e. violent blasts of wind. See vol. xvii. p. 176, n. 6. Steevens.
s Even as the wind is hush'D BEFORE IT RAINETH,] So, in Hamlet :
“ But, as we often see against some storm-