Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

out"], but by various passages in our author's works. So in The Tempest :

I have be-dimn'd
" The noon-tide sun."
Again, in King Richard III.

66 As doth the blushing discontented sun,-
“ When he perceives the envious clouds are bent

" To dim his glory.”
Again, in our author's 18th Sonner:

“ Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,

“ And often is his gold complexion dimm’d.In the first act of this play, the quarto, 1611, reads -" 'Tis not my inky cloke could smother"-[for good mother}. If, as in the present instance, there had been but one copy, how could this strange error have been rectified but by the boldness of conjecture ?

MALONE. 134.

And even -] Not only such prodigies have been seen in Rome, but the elements have shewn our countrymen like forerunners and foretokens of violent events.

JOHNSON. -precurse of fierce events,-] Fierce, for terrible.

WARBURTON. I rather believe that fierce signifies conspicuous, glaring. It is used in a somewhat similar sense in Timon - the fierce wretchedness that glory brings !

STEEVENS. 136. And prologue to the omen coming on,] But prologue and omen are merely synonymous here. The poet means, that these strange phænomena are prologues

Bij

and

and forerunners of the events presag'd: and such sense the slight alteration which I have ventured to make, by changing omen to omen'd, very aptly gives.

THEOBALD. Omen, for fate.

WARBURTON, Hanmer follows Theobald.

A distich from the life of Merlin, by Heywood, will shew that there is no occasion for correction :

“ Merlin well vers'd in many an hidden spell, “ His countries omen did long since foretell.”

FARMER. Again, in The Vow-Breaker :

“ And much I fear the weakness of her braine “ Should draw her to some ominous exigent."

STEEVENS. 141. If thou hast any sound,–] The speech of Horatio to the spectre is very elegant and noble, and congruous to the common traditions of the causes of apparitions.

JOHNSON. 168. Whether in sea, &c.] According to the pneumatology of that time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of spirits, who had dispositions different, according to their various places of abode. The meaning therefore is, that all spirits extravagant, wandering out of their element, whether aërial spirits visiting earth, or earthly spirits ranging the air, return to their station, to their proper limits in which they are confined.

JOHNSON. Bourne of Newcastle, in his Antiquities of the com, mon People, informs us, “ It is a received tradition

among

among the vulgar, that at the time of cock-crowing, the midnight spirits forsake these lower regions, and go to their proper places. Hence it is, says he, that in country places, where the way of life requires more early labour, they always go cheerfully to work at that time' ; whereas if they are called abroad sooner, they imagine every thing they see a wandering ghost.” And he quotes on this occasion, as all his predecessors had done, the well-known lines from the first hymn of Prudentius. I know not whose translation he gives us, but there is an old one by Heywood. The pious Chansons, the hymns and carrots, which Shakspere men. tions presently, were usually copied from the elder Christian poets.

FARMER, 169. Th' extravagant-] i.e. got out of its bounds.

WARBURTON, So in Nobody and Somebody, 1598: “ --they took me up for a 'stravagant."

STEEVENS. 172. It faded on the crowing of the cock.] This is a very ancient superstition. Philostratus giving an account of the apparition of Achilles' shade to Apol. lonius Tyaneus, says, that it vanished with a little glimmer as soon as the cock crowed. Vit. Apol. iv. 16.

STEEVENS. 176. -dares stir abroad.] Quarto. The folio reads--can walk-.

Steevens. 178. No fairy takes.] No fairy strikes with lameness or diseases. This sense of take is frequent in this author.

JOHNSON Biij

18.

182. high eastern hill:] The old quarto has it better eastward.

WARBURTON. 201. With one auspicious and one dropping eye ;] Thus the folio, The quarto, with somewhạt less of quaintness,

With an auspicious, and a dropping eye. The same thought, however, occurs in The Winter's Tale: “ She had one eye declined for the loss of her husband; another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled."

STEEVENS, I once thought that dropping, in this line, meant only depressed, or cast downwards; an idea probably suggested by the passage in The Winter's Tale, quoted by Mr. Steevens. But it means, I believe, weeping, Dropping of the eyes” was a technical expression in our author's time.-" If the spring be wet with much south wind-the next summer will happen agues, blearness, dropping of the eyes, and pains of the bowels.” Hopton's Concordancie of yeares, 8vo. 1616.

MALONE, 211. Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,] The meaning is, He goes to war so indiscreetly and uinprepared, that he has no allies to support him but a dream, with which he is colleagued or confederated.

WARBURTON, 221, to suppress

His further gait herein ; -] Gate or gait is here used in the northern sense, for proceeding, passage; from the A. S. verb gae. A gate for a path, passage, or street, is still current in the riorth.

Percy,

227. more than the scope] More than is comprised in the general design of these articles, which you may explain in a more diffuse and dilated style.

JOHNSON 228. —these dilated articles -] i. e. the articles when dilated.

MUSGRAVE, 237. The head is not more native to the heart,

The hand more instrumental to the mouth,

Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father:] The sense seems to be this, the head is not formed to be more useful to the heart, the hand is not more at the service of the mouth, than my power is at your father's service. That is, he may command me to the utmost; he may do what he pleases with my kingly authority.

STEEVENS: 256. Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind.] Kind is the Teutonick word for child. Hamlet therefore answers with propriety to the titles of cousin and son, which, the king had given him, that he was somewhat more than cousin, and less than son.

JOHNSON. In this line, with which Shakspere introduces Hamlet, Dr. Johnson has perhaps pointed out a nicer distinction than it can justly boast of. To establish the sense contended for, it should have been proved that kind was ever used by any English writer for child, A little more than kin, is a little more than common relation. The king was certainly something less than kind, by having betrayed the mother of Hamlet inta an indecent and incestuous marriage, and obtained the

crown

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »