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Mr. Steevens's charge of inconsistency in Shakspere, is in the present instance unfounded.
“ From whose bourn " No traveller returns" May be understood to mean, not from the hithermost, but, the remotest, confines of which country. This expectation suits best, at least, with the idea of a traveller on a journey of discovery. But taking it otherwise, the apparition of a ghost can with no propriety be styled the return of a traveller; especially, of this ghost, who is so far from making any discovery of this unknown country, that he was even interdicted from mentioning the lightest word of the secrets of his prison-house in it.
HENLEY. 94. -turn awry,] Thus the quartos. The folio turn away.
STEEVENS. 96. -Nymph, in thy orisons, &c.] This is a touch of nature. Hamlet, at the sight of Ophelia, does not immediately recollect that he is to personate madness, but makes her an address grave and solemn, such as the foregoing meditation excited in his thoughts,
JOHNSON. 107. And, with them, words of so sweet breath com
pos'd As made the things more rich: their perfume
Take these again ;-] The same metaphor is used, but in a different connexion, by Drayton :
Shepheard why creepe we in this lowly vaine,
" Whilst others yaunt it with the frolicke trayne, " And strut the stage with reperfumed wordes."
Henley. -than the force of honesty can translate beauty into its likeness :) All the old copies have his likeness. There is no need of change. Our author frequently uses his for its.
MALONE. 127. minoculate] This is the reading of the first folio. The first quarto reads euocutat ; the second, cuacuat ; and the third, evacuate. Steevens.
135. -at my beck,–] That is, always ready to come about me.
With more offences at my beck, than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in. To put a thing into thought, is to think on it.
Johnson. 153. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough, &c.] This is according to the quarto , the folio, for painting, has prattlings, and for face, has pace.
Steevens. 156. -make your wantonness your ignorance: -] You mistake by wanton affectation, and pretend to mistake by ignorance.
JOHNSON. 63 The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's eye, tongue, swd:d ;] The poet certainly meant to have placed his words thus: The courtier's, scholar's, soldier's eye, tongue, sword;
otherwise the excellence of tongue is appropriated to the soldier, and the scholar wears the sword.
WARNER. This regulation is needless. So, in Tarquin and Lucrece :
“ Princes are the glass, the schcol, the book, .
“Where subject eyes do learn, do read, do look." And in Quintilian: “Multum agit sexus, ætas, conditio; ut in fæminis, senibus, pupillis, liberos parentes, conjuges, alligantibus."
FARMER 165. —the mould of form,] The model by whom all endeavoured to form themselves.
JOHNSON | 167. -most deject] So, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613:
“What knight is that
STEEVENS. 170. -out of tune -] Thus the folio. The quarto out of time.
STEEV ENS. 171. -and feature --] Thus the folio. The quartos read stature.
STEEVENS. 172. -with ecstasy : -] The word ecstasy was anciently used to signify some degree of alienation of the mind. So, G. Douglas, translating-stetit acri fixa dolore: “ In ecstasy she stood, and mad almaist."
STEEVENS. 194. -be round with him;] To be round with a person, is to reprimand him with freedom. So, in A Mad World, my Masters, by Middleton, 1640: round with her i'faith."
-perriwig-pated] This is a ridicule on the quantity of false hair worn in Shakspere's time, for wigs were not in common use till the reign of Charles II. In the Two Gentlemen of Verona, Julia says"I'll get me such a colour'd perriwig."
Players, however, seem to have worn them most generally. So, in Every Woman in her Humour, 1609 : “ -as none wear hoods but monks and ladies; and feathers but fore-horses, &c. -none perriwigs but players and pi&tures."
STEEVENS, -the groundlings ;-] The meaner people then seem to have sat below, as they now sít in the upper gallery, who, not well understanding poetical language, were sometimes gratified by a mimical and mute representation of the drama, previous to the dialogue.
JOHNSON Before each act of the tragedy of Focasta, translated from Euripides, by Geo. Gascoigne and Fra. Kinwel. mersh, the order of these dumb shews is very minutely described. This play was presented at Gray’s-Inn by them, in 1566. The mute exhibitions included in it are chiefly emblematical, nor do they display a picture of one single scene which is afterwards performed on the stage. In some other pieces I have observed, that they serve to introduce such circumstances as the limits of a play would not admit to be represented. Thus in Herod and Antipater, 1622 :
"Let me now
66 Cannot have time to utter, let your eyes,
memories." In short, dumb shews sometimes supplied deficiencies, and, at others, filled up the space of time which was necessary to pass while business was supposed to be transacted in foreign parts. With this method of preserving one of the unities, our ancestors appear to have been satisfied. Ben Jonson mentions the groundlings with equal contempt. “ The understanding gentlemen of the ground here.”
213. --who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shews, and noise : -] i.e. have a capacity for nothing but dumb shews ; undertsand nothing else. So, in Heywood's History of Women, 1624: “ I have therein imitated our historical and comical poets, that write to the stage ; who, lest the auditory should be dulled with serious discourses, in every act present some Zany, with his mimick gesture, to breed in the less capable mirth and laughter."
MALONE. 214. -inexplicable dumb shews,] I believe the meaning is, shews without words to explain them. JOHNSON.
Rather, I believe, shews which are too confusedly conducted to explain themselves.
I meet with one of these in Heywood's play of the Four Prentices of London, 1632, where the Presenter says,
" I must entreat your patience to forbear