Notes to Shakespeare
Edited, with an Introduction, by Arthur Sherbo
RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan RALPH COHEN, University of California, Los Angeles VINTON A. DEARING, University of California, Los Angeles LAWRENCE CLARK POWELL, Clark Memorial Library ASSISTANT EDITOR W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan ADVISORY EDITORS EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, Duke University LOUIS BREDVOLD, University of Michigan JOHN BUTT, King’s College, University of Durham JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles LOUIS A. LANDA, Princeton University SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota ERNEST C. MOSSNER, University of Texas JAMES SUTHERLAND, University College; London H. T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles CORRESPONDING SECRETARY EDNA C. DAVIS, Clark Memorial Library
Dr. Johnson’s Preface to Shakespeare is one of the most famous critical essays of the eighteenth century, and yet too many students have forgotten that it is, precisely, a preface to the plays of Shakespeare, edited by Dr. Johnson himself. That is to say, the edition itself has been obscured or overshadowed by its preface, and the sustained effort of that essay has virtually monopolized scholarly attention—much of which should be directed to the commentary. Johnson’s love for Shakespeare’s plays is well known; nowhere is this more manifest than in his notes on them. And it is on the notes that his claim to remembrance as a critic of Shakespeare must rest, for the famous Preface is, after all, only rarely an original and personal statement.
The idea of editing Shakespeare’s plays had attracted Johnson early, and in 1745 he issued proposals for an edition. Forced to give up the project because of copyright difficulties, he returned to it again in 1756 with another, much fuller set of proposals. Between 1745 and 1756 he had completed the greatDictionary and could advance his lexicographical labors as an invaluable aid in the explication of Shakespeare. Although he had promised speedy publication, “on or before Christmas 1757,” Johnson’s public had to wait until Oct. 10, 1765 for the Shakespeare edition to appear. The first edition, largely subscribed for, was soon exhausted, and a second edition was ready the very next month. A third edition was published in 1768, but there were no revisions in the notes in either of these editions. At some time after February 1, 1766, the date of George Steevens’ own proposals for an edition of Shakespeare, and before March 21, 1770 when Johnson wrote to Richard Farmer for some assistance in the edition (Life, II, 114), Johnson decided to join forces with Steevens. The result was, of course, the so-called 1773 Johnson-Steevens variorum from which the notes in this reprint are taken. A second Johnson-Steevens variorum appeared in 1778, but Johnson’s part in this was negligible, and I have been able to find only fifty-one revisions (one, a definition, is a new note) which I feel reasonably certain are his. The third variorum, edited by Isaac Reed in 1785, contains one revision in Johnson’s notes.
“Dr. Johnson has displayed, in this revisal, such ingenuity, and accuracy of just conception, as render the present annotations a valuable addition to his former remarks on the subject.” The writer is a reviewer for the Critical Review (Dee., 1773, p. 416); the work in question is the 1773 Johnson-Steevens edition of Shakespeare’s plays. The remark quoted is from the last paragraph of a long review beginning in November and seems almost an afterthought, for the same reviewer had said that the edition “deserves to be considered as almost entirely the production of Mr. Steevens” (p. 346). In a sense this is true, but the basis for the commentary in the 1773 edition was still the approximately 5600 notes, both his own and those of previous editors and critics, that had appeared in Dr. Johnson’s 1765 edition. The actual text of the plays is another matter; a combination of collation and judicious borrowing, it was provided by George Steevens. Steevens’ contributions to the text and annotation of Shakespeare’s plays concern students of the dramatist; That Johnson had to say about the plays concerns Johnsonians as veil as Shakespeareans. And it is unfortunately true that too little attention has been paid to what is after all Johnson’s final and reconsidered judgment on a number of passages in the plays.
The decision to reprint the commentary in the 1773 edition may be questioned. Should not the 1765 text of the notes be reprinted, since it, after all, is nearest to the author’s manuscript? Will not errors from the second and third editions have been perpetuated and new ones committed in 1773, an inevitable result of reprinting any large body of material? Ideally, the 1765 edition should be the copy-text. But Johnson made about 500 revisions in his commentary, adding eighty-four new notes and omitting thirty-four of his original notes in the first edition. Obviously, Johnson cannot, or should not, be condemned for a note in the 1765 edition which he omitted in 1773. Yet in selections from Johnson’s notes to Shakespeare that appear in anthologies some of these offending notes have been reprinted without any indication that the editors knew of their later retraction. In seventy-three notes Johnson adds comments to his original note; in eighty-eight, to the notes of other editors and critics. He revises seventy-five of his original notes and he omits ten comments on the notes of others. And there are many other changes. Some of the revisions come from the Appendix to the 1765 edition. I have collated the notes in the 1765 and 1773 editions for evidence of revision; changes in punctuation were passed over, and I must admit that I do not think them important. In the light of my collation and because of the greater clumsiness of an apparatus to indicate revisions in the 1765 notes I have elected to use the 1773 text of Johnson’s commentary, trusting that I have not overlooked any significant changes. The reader has, then, for the first time, outside the covers of the ten volumes of the 1773 edition, an almost complete text of Johnson’s notes on Shakespeare. The only omission in this reprint is of those notes which merely list variant readings, either from one of the folios or quartos or from a previous editor. Johnson’s reputation as an editor of Shakespeare rests, after all, on his commentary, not on his textual labors. Up to now Johnson’s notes have been available only in such books as Walter Raleigh’s Johnson on Shakespeare and Mona Wilson’s Johnson; Prose and Poetry, and here one gets merely a selection. For example: Miss Wilson reprints only two notes from The Tempest, one from Julius Caesar, three from Antony and Cleopatra, and one from Titus Andronicus. One rarely gets the chance to read the more than 2000 notes in the edition given over to definitions or paraphrases and explanations. Yet it must be remembered that Johnson has been most often praised for these notes by scholars whose primary interest was Shakespeare’s meaning, not Johnson’s personality. And, what bears constant repetition, the anthologies draw their notes from the 1765 edition, neglecting altogether Johnson’s revisions. It is only very recently that these revisions have been studied at all—and then but partially.
The present division of the commentary into three parts—the notes on the comedies, those on the tragedies, and those on the history plays—is arbitrary and mostly a matter of convenience. Some division was necessary, and it seemed advantageous to present introductions which could use Johnson’s reaction to comedy, tragedy, and history plays—and Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and histories—as a point of departure. Were the notes reprinted in the order of appearance of the plays one would find Macbeth, coming after The Winter’s Tale (the last of the comedies), introducing the history plays. Since Johnson had written Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth in 1745 and had included the play among the tragedies in the 1765 edition it seems reasonable to assume that he regarded it as a tragedy and possibly bowed to Steevens’ wishes in allowing it to appear where it does in 1773. Hence, the notes on Macbeth occur with those on the other tragedies in this reprint.
One of the reasons for a full reprinting of Johnson’s commentary has already been discussed: a complete and accurate knowledge of his thoughts on each of the plays of the then accepted canon is thus gained. (I might add here that some notes by other editors, inadvertently unattributed in the 1765 edition—some of them still unattributed in 1773—have been erroneously reprinted as Johnson’s by both Walter Raleigh and Mona Wilson.) Another reason is, of course, the relative difficulty of getting at the volumes of the 1773 edition. Although not a particularly scarce item, the edition can usually be consulted only in Rare Book rooms (there are exceptions), where the working scholar is hampered by the inaccessibility of many other books, not “rare,” which he needs at his elbow. Then again, the present reprint gives only Johnson’s notes, except for necessary explanations of, or quotations from, the notes of previous editors and critics. But far transcending these reasons, although deriving from them, is the enormous value to the student of Johnson the man and the critic of a now easily accessible body of literary criticism and personal comment that is second in importance only to the Lives of the Poets.
Johnson’s notes to the plays of Shakespeare are an invaluable source of information of many kinds. I can only suggest here, and give a few examples of, the wealth of material that awaits further, detailed examination by other scholars. One demonstration, however, of the use to which the notes can be put is provided by Professor E. L. McAdam’s Dr. Johnson and the English Law (1951) in which are recorded notes showing Johnson’s familiarity with various legal terms. Further insight into Johnson’s knowledge of books of esoterica, histories, ballads, etc., can be gleaned from the comments on Shakespeare. A subject in which I must confess an interest possibly out of proportion to its worth is that of Johnson’s reading. Some day we will have a list, probably never complete, of the books we can be sure Johnson knew. Not only will the notes to Shakespeare supply the names of works that Johnson knew, quoted from, or alluded to only in these notes, but they will also help to establish more firmly certain fields or subjects that fascinated him. Thus, one note is evidence for Johnson’s knowledge of Guevara’s Dial of Princes; another for his familiarity with Ficino’s De Vita Libri Tres; and nowhere else in Johnson’s works, letters, or conversation are these works so much as alluded, to. Other notes show us that Johnson remembered now a poem, now an essay, from the Gentleman’s Magazine. In still other notes one encounters or is able to identify the names of John Caius, John Trevisa, Dr. William Alabaster, Paul Scarron, Abraham Ortelius, Meric Casaubon, and many others. Plays, sermons, travel books, ballads, romances, proverbs, poems, histories, biographies, essays, letters, documents—all have their place in the notes to Shakespeare.
No discussion of Johnson’s knowledge of books can ignore the importance of his reading for the Dictionary. Nor can this same preparatory reading be overlooked in a consideration of the Shakespeare edition. Between one-fifth and one-fourth of the notes to Shakespeare can be traced back to the Dictionary. What is more, the revision of the 1765 Shakespeare was undertaken at the same time that Johnson was revising his Dictionary; both revisions appeared in the same year. And so one is not surprised to find that these two labors are of reciprocal assistance. One illustration will have to do duty for several: in a note Johnson observes of the verb “to roam” that it is “supposed to be derived from the cant of vagabonds, who often pretended a pilgrimage to Rome;” this etymology is absent from the 1755 Dictionary; in the revised Dictionary the verb “is imagined to come from the pretenses of vagrants, who always said they were going to Rome.” A number of the new notes and comments in the 1773 Shakespeare are clearly derived, directly or indirectly, from the Dictionary.
I have already mentioned the Lives of the Poets as the only critical work by Johnson which takes precedence over the commentary (and Preface, also) to the plays of Shakespeare. And yet this statement needs modification. In one important respect the notes to Shakespeare are of greater significance than the much more famous Lives for an investigation of Johnson the critic at work. Why, for example, is the Life of Cowley one of the most valuable of the Lives? For two reasons: Johnson is discussing a school of poetry which has provoked much comment, and that particular Life abounds in quotations upon which Johnson exercises his critical abilities. But there are not many of the Lives which reveal Johnson at work on particular passages, where the passage in question is quoted and critical comment is made on a particular line or a particular image, rhyme, word, etc. In short, as so often in Johnson, we are confronted with the large general statement in so much of the criticism in the Lives. The “diction” of Lycidas is “harsh.” “Some philosophical notions [in Paradise Lost], especially when the philosophy is false, might have been better omitted.” The plays of Nicholas Rowe are marked by “elegance of diction.” Dryden is not often “pathetick.” Some of Swift’s poetry is “gross” and some is “trifling.” The diction of Shenstone’s Elegies is “often harsh, improper, and affected.”
Johnson has not made his meaning entirely clear in these statements because he has not illustrated his remarks with quotations from the works or authors under examination. The famous—or notorious— condemnation of Lycidas as “harsh” in diction continues to give scholars pause. Most often Johnson has been accused of a poor—or no— ear for poetry, since the only definition of “harsh” in his Dictionary which is applicable here is “rough to the ear.” As no specific lines from the poem are labelled “harsh,” one is forced to conclude that the whole poem is unmusical to Johnson’s ears—if “harsh” means only “rough to the ear.” But the notes to Shakespeare make it perfectly clear that “harsh” often means something other than that. Sometimes a line is stigmatised as “harsh” because it contains what Johnson in Rambler No. 88 called the “collision of consonants.” An image offends his sense of propriety and is therefore “harsh.” Some words are “harsh” because they are “appropriated to particular arts” (the phrase comes from his Life of Dryden). Thus, in Measure for Measure, a “leaven’d choice” is “one of Shakespeare’s harsh metaphors” because it conjures up images of a baker at his trade. Johnson also uses “harsh” to describe a word used in a sense not familiar to him. And “harsh” is sometimes used synonymously with “forced and far-fetched.” “Is’t not a kind of incest, to take life From thine own sister’s shame?” asks Isabella of her brother in Measure for Measure, provoking from Johnson the remark that in her “declamation there is something harsh, and something forced and far-fetched.” Only now, with the varying uses of “harsh” as exemplified in the notes to Shakespeare as guides, can one hope better to understand the bare statement that the diction of Lycidas is “harsh.” Similar investigation of other important words in Johnson’s critical vocabulary is possible through a close study of his commentary on Shakespeare’s plays. Words such as “elegant,” “inartificial,” “just,” “low,” “pathetic,” “proper,” “vicious,” and others used in criticism of specific lines and passages help one to pin down Johnson’s meaning when he uses the same words in general contexts elsewhere.
Johnson stands clearly revealed as a critic in his notes to Shakespeare; if there is any doubt of this, it can only center about the comparative importance we may wish to attach to the commentary in relation to the rest of Johnson’s criticism. But there is another aspect of Johnson of which one gets but half-glimpses in the notes; and here I may be accused or romanticizing or of reading too much significance into remarks whose purpose was to illuminate Shakespeare’s art and not, decidedly, to reveal the editor’s character. To put it baldly, I believe that in some notes Johnson has given us clues to his own feelings under circumstances similar to those in which Shakespeare’s characters find themselves. Let me illustrate. In the concluding line of Act II of 2 Henry VI, Eleanor, wife to the Duke of Gloucester, is on her way to prison. She says, “Go, lead the way. I long to see my prison.” Johnson comments: “This impatience of a high spirit is very natural. It is not so dreadful to be imprisoned, as it is desirable in a state of disgrace to be sheltered from the scorn of gazers.” This note may be innocuous enough, but it is worth recalling that Johnson was arrested for debt in February, 1758, when he was engaged in the edition of Shakespeare. And two years earlier, in March of 1756, he had also been arrested for debt. Friends came to his rescue both times. Curiously, there is no mention of the arrests in Boswell’s Life. Did Boswell know and deliberately omit these facts, or did Johnson prefer to keep silent about them? Anecdote after anecdote shows Johnson to have been an extremely proud man, one who would feel keenly a public disgrace. Was he exposed to “the scorn of gazers” on one or both of these occasions? It is tempting, and admittedly dangerous, to read autobiographical significance in the note on Eleanor’s words. But another question intrudes itself in this connection: Is there a link between the two arrests and Idler No. 22, “Imprisonment of Debtors,” which Johnson substituted for the original essay when the periodical was republished in 1761? I am not prepared to answer these questions; I can only raise them.
I cannot forbear another excursion into the region of Johnsonian autobiography (or pseudo-autobiography) even at the increased risk of committing a scholarly sin against which I have myself protested. In my own defense I can say that I know the highly conjectural nature of what I am doing. Johnson’s pride may have suffered when he was arrested for debt in the presence of unsympathetic onlookers. This is sheer hypothesizing. But when, in Henry IV, Worcester speaks the following words:
For, bear ourselves as even as we can, The King will always think him in our debt; And think, we deem ourselves unsatisfy’d, Till he hath found a time to pay us home. (I.iii.285-8) and Johnson comments: “This is a natural description of the state of mind between those who have conferred, and those that have received, obligations too great to be satisfied,” we may protest that such a reaction is by no means universal. The suspicion that Johnson is speaking for himself is strengthened by an observation made by Sir Joshua Reynolds and recorded by his biographer, Junes Northcote. Reynolds remarks “that if any drew [Johnson] into a state of obligation without his own consent, that man was the first he would affront, by way of clearing off the account” (see Boswell’s Life, III, 345, n.l). Johnson’s note may nov be looked upon as a possible personal confession. Other conjectures are justified, I believe, by still other notes, but it may be preferable to list, without comment, some of the topics upon which Johnson has his say in the notes to Shakespeare. He comments on melancholy, falsehood, the lightness with which vows are made, cruelty to animals, “the pain of deformity,” the horrors of solitude, kindness to dependents, friendship, slavery, guilt, the “unsocial mind,” the “mean” and the “great”—and a host of others. It is not difficult, therefore, to understand why the editor of The Beauties of Johnson quoted so often from the notes to Shakespeare.
The University of Illinois copy of the 1773 Shakespeare has been used. It is unique, I believe, in that the last volume contains a list of “Cancels In Shakespeare. This List not to be bound up with the Book, being only to direct the Binder,” one of the earliest of these forgotten directions to the binder to be recorded. There is another point of bibliographical interest in the edition. L. F. Powell states that there are three Appendices in the last volume of the edition (Life. II, 490), as does T. J. Monaghan (RES, 1953, p. 238). Yet the Illinois copy has only two appendices, and a check of copies in some six large American libraries reveals the same number. The copy with the three Appendices would seem quite rare.
One or two symbols and abbreviations have been used for the sake of economy. A new note or comment by Johnson, one added in 1773, is indicated by (1773) at the end of the note. “W” is Warburton; “T” is Theobald. The notation “W: winter” points to an easily recognizable emendation by Warburton in a line quoted before the note in question. Easily identifiable references to revisions of notes in the 1765 edition, or to revisions later made in the 1778 edition, are placed in parentheses at the end of the notes. Scholars interested in these revisions must check them for themselves. Act, scene, and line references to Shakespeare are from Kittredge’s edition of the works (Boston, 1936). The numbers in parentheses after the reference in Kittredge are to page and note number (the volume being given only once) in the 1773 edition. The page reference is to the page upon which the note, Johnson’s or another editor’s, starts; sometimes the notes extend to three or more pages. The text of Shakespeare quoted is that of the 1773 edition; this is the text that Johnson’s contemporaries saw, and it would be a distortion to reprint Johnson’s notes after a modern text.
The following list is of notes Johnson omitted in 1773; the references are, of course, to the 1765 edition: I, 64, 0; 94,0 106 ; 113, 0; 133,0; 151,0 ; 153,0 ; 233, 8; 469, 1; II, 217, 2; 295, 8; 326, 8; 396, 8; 464, 6; III, 193, 3; IV, 149, 2; 201, 5; 347, 4; 372, 5; 398, 7; 404, 3; V, 61, 5; 107, 9; VI, 17, 3; 80, 5; ; 415, 9; 440, 9; VII, 316, 3; VIII, 121, 9; 198, 2; 272, 6; 281, 9; 362, 7. Fourteen notes in the 1765 edition, there inadvertently unattributed, are taken verbatim from other editors and critics; five of these are correctly attributed in 1773 (see 1765, V, 182, 1; VI, 24, 3 and 177, 3; and Appendix, notes on V, 253 and VII, 444). Four notes are entirely omitted: 1773, II, 50, 4; 138, 5; V, 297, 6; and VII, 317, 6. In four others (1773, I, 249, 5; II, 466, 7; VI, 72, 4; and X, 417, 8) the part of the note that is not Johnson’s is set off by brackets and properly attributed. Finally, the note on II, 452 in the 1765 Appendix, taken partly from “Mr. Smith,” appears in 1773 (I, 195, 5) as part of Steevens’ comment. Introduction on Comedies.
If I were to select the one passage in Dr. Johnson’s Preface to Shakespeare which occasioned the greatest immediate protest and which has continued to be held up to critical scorn, I should have to pitch upon this: “In tragedy he is always struggling after some occasion to be comick; but in comedy he seems to repose, or to luxuriate, as in a mode of thinking congenial to his nature. In his tragick scenes there is always something wanting, but his comedy often surpasses expectation or desire. His comedy pleases by the thoughts and the language, and his tragedy for the greater part by incident and action. His tragedy seems to be skill, his comedy to be instinct.” As a theatre-goer, Johnson could also say in the Preface that “familiar comedy is often more powerful on the theatre, than in the page; imperial tragedy is always less.” One might logically assume, then, that Johnson’s greater enjoyment of Shakespeare’s comedies would be easily remarked in his commentary—and even, possibly, that they would be singled out for more annotation and comment than the tragedies or the histories. The most heavily annotated plays are, however, the tragedies, and it is curious to observe that the sombre “problem comedy,” Measure for Measure, commands more notes than any other comedy. Further, Johnson’s moral and religious sensibilities were offended by profanity and obscenity in the drama, and Shakespeare’s comedies, far more than his tragedies and histories, transgress in this direction. One recollects, finally, that the dramatic genre favored most by Johnson was the “she-tragedy.” Was Johnson lauding Shakespeare’s comedies because the tragedies had been excessively praised? I do not know.
I an most grateful to the Research Board of the University of Illinois for a grant which greatly expedited my work.
I.i (4,2) [Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain] 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 narrator, some inaccuracies and contradictory orders.
I.i.8 (4,4) [blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough] Perhaps it might be read,—blow till thou burst, wind, if room enough.
I.i.30 (5,5) 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.
I.i.52 (6,7) [set her two courses; off to sea again] The courses are the main-sail and fore-sail. This term is used by Raleigh, in his Discourse on Shipping.
[He’ll be hang’d yet; Though every drop of water swear against it, And gape at wid’st to glut him.]
Shakespeare 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.
I.i.65 (7,1) [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. Brother, farewell, &c. (see 1765, I,6,6)
I.ii.15 (8,3) [Mira. O, woe the day! Pro. No harm, I have done nothing but in care of thee] I know not whether Shakespeare 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 he speaks the words, O, woe the day! supposes, not that the crew had escaped, but that her father thought differently from her, and counted their destruction no harm.
I.ii.27 (8,4) [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.
[I have with such provision in mine art So safely order’d, that there is no soul— No, not so much perdition as an hair, Betid to any creature in the vessel]
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. To come so near the right, and yet to miss it, is unlucky: the author probably wroteno soil, no stain, no spot: for so Ariel tells,
Not a hair perish’d; On their sustaining garments not a blemish, But fresher than before.
And Gonzalo, The rarity of it is, that our garments being drench’d in the sea, keep notwithstanding their freshness and glosses. Of this emendation I find that the author of notes on The Tempest had a glimpse, but could not keep it.
I.ii.58 (10,7) [and thy father Was duke of Milan, thou his only heir] Perhaps—and thou his only heir.
[having both the key Of officer and office, set all hearts i’ the state To what tune pleas’d his ear]
Key in this place seems to signify the key of a musical instrument, by which he set Hearts to tune.
I.ii.93 (11,2) [and my trust,Like a good parent, did beget of him A falshood] Alluding to the observation, that a father above the common rate of men has commonly a son below it. Heroum filii noxae.
I.ii.155 (14,6) [deck’d the sea] To deck the sea, if explained, to honour, adorn, or dignify, is indeed ridiculous, but the original import of the verb deck is, to cover; so in some parts they yet say deck the table. This sense nay be borne, but perhaps the poet wrote fleck’d, which I think is still used in rustic language of drops falling upon water. Dr. Warburton reads mock’d, the Oxford edition brack’d. (see 1765, I,13,5)
I.ii.185 (15,8) [Thou art inclin’d to sleep: ’tis a good dulness] Dr. Warburton rightly observes, that this sleepiness, which Prospero by his art had brought upon Miranda, and of which he knew not how soon the effect would begin, makes him question her so often whether she is attentive to his story.
I.ii.196 (16,1) [I boarded the king’s ship: now on the beak] The beak was a strong pointed body at the head of the ancient gallies; it is used here for the forecastle, or the bolt-sprit.
I.ii.197 (16,2) [Now in the waste] The part between the quarter-deck and the forecastle.
I.ii.209 (16,3) [Not a soul But felt a fever of the mad] In all the later editions this is changed to a fever of the mind, without reason or authority, nor is any notice given of an alteration.
I.ii.218 (17,4) [On their sustaining garments not a blemish Thomas Edwards’ MSS: sea-stained] This note of Mr. Edwards, with which I suppose no reader is satisfied, shews with how much greater ease critical emendations are destroyed than made, and how willingly every man would be changing the text, if his imagination would furnish alterations. (1773)
I.ii.239 (19,7) [What is the time o’ the day?] This passage needs not be disturbed, it being common to ask a question, which the next moment enables us to answer; he that thinks it faulty may easily adjust it thus:
Pro. What is the time o’ the day? Past the mid season. Ari. At least two glasses. Pro. The time ‘twixt six and now—
I.ii.250 (19,8) [Pro. Dost thou forget From what a torment I did free thee?] That the character and conduct of Prospero may be understood, something must be known of the system of enchantment, which supplied all the marvellous found in the romances of the middle ages. This system seems to be founded on the opinion that the fallen spirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulsion, some being confined in hell, some (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet’s age, expresses it) dispersed in air, some on earth, some in water, others in caves, dens, or minerals under the earth. Of these, some were more malignant and mischievous than others. The earthy spirits seem to have been thought the most depraved, and the aerial the least vitiated. Thus Prospero observes of Ariel:
—Thou wast a spirit too delicate To act her earthy and abhorr’d commands.
Over these spirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed or charms learned. This power was called The Black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James observes in his Demonology) one who commands the devil, whereas the witch serves him. Those who thought best of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held, that certain sounds and characters had a physical power over spirits, and compelled their agency; others who condemned the practice, which in reality was surely never practised, were of opinion, with more reason, that the power of charms arose only from compact, and was no more than the spirits voluntary allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, though not equally criminal, yet unlawful, and therefore Causabon, speaking of one who had commerce with spirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the best kind who dealt with them by way of command. Thus Prospero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always considered as in some measure enslaved to the enchanter, at least for a time, and as serving with unwillingness, therefore Ariel so often begs for liberty; and Caliban observes, that the spirits serve Prospero with no good will, but hate him rootedly.—Of these trifles enough.
I.ii.306 (22,1) [Mira. The strangeness of your story put Heaviness in me.] Why should a wonderful story produce sleep? I believe experience will prove, that any violent agitation of the mind easily subsides in slumber, especially when, as in Prospero’s relation, the last images are pleasing.
[As wicked dew, as e’er my mother brush’d With raven’s feather from unwholsome fen, Drop on you both!]
[Some critics, Bentley among them, had spoken of Caliban’s new language.] Whence these critics derived the notion of a new language appropriated to Caliban, I cannot find: they certainly mistook brutality of sentiment for uncouthness of words. Caliban had learned to speak of Prospero and his daughter, he had no names for the sun and moon before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own without more understanding than Shakespeare has thought it proper to bestow upon him. His diction is indeed somewhat clouded by the gloominess of his temper, and the malignity of his purposes; but let any other being entertain the same thoughts, and he will find them easily issue in the same expressions.
[As wicked dew,]—Wicked; having baneful qualities. So Spenser says, wicked weed; so, in opposition, we say herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous Bezoar, and Dryden virtuous herbs.
I.ii.351 (25,4) [Abhorred slave] This speech, which the old copy gives to Miranda, is very judiciously bestowed by Mr. Theobald on Prospero.
I.ii.364 (27,7) [the red plague] I suppose from the redness of the body universally inflamed.
I.ii.396 (28,9) [Full fathom five thy father lies] [Charles Gildon had criticized the song as trifling, and Warburton had defended its dramatic propriety.] I know not whether Dr. Warburton has very successfully defended these songs from Gildon’s accusation. Ariel’s lays, however seasonable and efficacious, must be allowed to be of no supernatural dignity or elegance, they express nothing great, nor reveal any thing above mortal discovery.
The reason for which Ariel is introduced thus trifling is, that he and his companions are evidently of the fairy kind, an order of beings to which tradition has always ascribed a sort of diminutive agency, powerful but ludicrous, a humorous and frolick controlment of nature, well expressed by the songs of Ariel.
[Fer. my prime request, Which I do last pronounce, is, O you wonder! If you be maid, or no? Mira. No wonder, Sir; But, certainly, a maid.]
[Nothing could be more prettily imagined to illustrate the singularity of her character, than this pleasant mistake. W.] Dr. Warburton has here found a beauty, which I think the author never intended. Ferdinand asks her not whether she was a created being, a question which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dialogue which Prospero’s interruption produces, he goes on pursuing his former question.
O, if a virgin, I’ll make you queen of Naples.
I.ii.439 (32,5) [controul thee] Confute thee, unanswerably contradict thee.
I.ii.471 (33,7) [come from thy ward] Desist from any hope of awing me by that posture of defence.
II.i.3 (36,1) [our hint of woe] Hint is that which recals to the memory. The cause that fills our minds with grief is common. Dr. Warburton reads stint of woe.
II.i.11 (36,3) [Ant. The visitor will not give him o’er so] Why Dr. Warburton should change visitor to ‘vizer for adviser, I cannot discover. Gonzalo gives not only advice, but comfort, and is therefore properly called The Visitor, like others who visit the sick or distressed to give them consolation. In some of the Protestant churches there is a kind of officers termed consolators for the sick.
II.i.78 (38,6) [Widow Dido!] The name of a widow brings to their minds their own shipwreck, which they consider as having made many widows in Naples.
[Milan and Naples have More widows in them of this business’ making, Than we bring men to comfort them]
It does not clearly appear whether the king and these lords thought the ship lost. This passage seems to imply, that they were themselves confident of returning, but imagined part of the fleet destroyed. Why, indeed, should Sebastian plot against his brother in the following scene, unless he knew how to find the kingdom which be was to inherit?
II.i.232 (43,1) [this lord of weak remembrance] This lord, who, being now in his dotage, has outlived his faculty of remembering; and who, once laid in the ground, shall be as little remembered himself, as he can now remember other things.
[For he’s a spirit of persuasion, only Professes to persuade the king his son’s alive]
Of this entangled sentence I can draw no sense from the present reading, and therefore imagine that the author gave it thus:
For he, a spirit of persuasion, only Professes to persuade.
Of which the meaning may be either, that he alone, who is a spirit of persuasion, professes to persuade the king; or that, He only professes to persuade, that is, without being so persuaded himself, he makes a show of persuading the king.
II.i.242 (44,3) [Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond] That this is the utmost extent of the prospect of ambition, the point where the eye can pass no further, and where objects lose their distinctness, so that what is there discovered, is faint, obscure, and doubtful. (rev. 1778, I,50,4)
[though some cast again; And, by that destiny, to perform an act, Whereof what’s past is prologue; what to come, In yours, and my discharge.]
These lines stand in the old edition thus:
—though some cast again; And, by that destiny, to perform an act, Whereof what’s past, is prologue; what to come, In your and my discharge.
The reading in the later editions is without authority. The old text may very well stand, except that in the last line in should be is. and perhaps we might better say—and that by destiny. It being a common plea of wickedness to call temptation destiny.
II.i.259 (45,6) [Keep in Tunis] There is in this passage a propriety lost, which a slight alteration will restore:
—Sleep in Tunis, And let Sebastian wake!
II.i.278 (45,7) [Twenty consciences, That stand ‘twixt me and Milan, candy’d be they, Or melt e’er they molest] I had rather read,
Would melt e’er they molest.
i.e. Twenty consciences, such as stand between me and my hopes, though they were congealed, would melt before they could molest one, or prevent the execution of my purposes. (see 1765, I,40,7)
II.i.286 (46,8) [This ancient morsel] For morsel Dr. Warburton reads ancient moral, very elegantly and judiciously, yet I know not whether the author might not write morsel, as we say a piece of a man.
II.i.288 (46,9) [take suggestion] i.e. Receive any hint of villainy, (1773)
[Ari. My master through his art foresees the danger, That you, his friend, are in; and sends me forth (For else his project dies) to keep them living]
[i.e. Alonzo and Antonio; for it was on their lives that his project depended. Yet the Oxford Editor alters them to you, because in the verse before, it is said—you his friend; as if, because Ariel was sent forth to save his friend, he could not have another purpose in sending him, viz. to save his project too. W.]
I think Dr. Warburton and the Oxford Editor both mistaken. The sense of the passage, as it now stands, is this: He sees your danger, and will therefore save them. Dr. Warburton has mistaken Antonio for Gonzalo. Ariel would certainly not tell Gonzalo, that his master saved him only for his project. He speaks to himself as he approaches,
My master through his art foresees the danger That these his friends are in.
These written with a y, according to the old practice, did not much differ from you.
II.i.308 (47,2) [Why are you drawn?] Having your swords drawn. So in Romeo and Juliet:
“What art thou drawn among these heartless hinds?”
II.ii.12 (48,3) [sometime am I All wound with adders] Enwrapped by adders wound or twisted about me.
II.ii.32 (49,5) [make a man] That is, make a man’s fortune. So in Midsummer Night’s Dream—”we are all made men.”
II.ii.176 (54,5) [I’ll get thee Young scamels from the rock] This word has puzzled the commentators: Dr. Warburton reads shamois. Mr. Theobald would read any thing rather than scamels. Mr. Holt, who wrote notes upon this play, observes, that limpets are in some places called scams, therefore I have sufferedscamels to stand.
III.i.48 (58,8) [Of every creature’s best] Alluding to the picture of Venus by Apelles.
III.ii.71 (62,5) [What a py’d ninny’s this?] This line should certainly be given to Stephano. Py’d ninny alludes to the striped coat worn by fools, of which Caliban could have no knowledge. Trinculo had before been reprimanded and threatened by Stephano for giving Caliban the lie, he is now supposed to repeat his offence. Upon which Stephano cries out,
What a py’d ninny’s this? Thou scurvy patch!—
Caliban, now seeing his master in the mood that he wished, instigates him to vengeance:
I do beseech thy greatness, give him blows.
III.iii.48 (67,2) [Each putter out on five for one] This passage alluding to a forgotten custom is very obscure: the putter out must be a traveller, else how could he give this account? the five for one is money to be received by him at his return, Mr. Theobald has well illustrated this passage by a quotation from Jonson.
III.iii.82 (69,3) [clear life] Pure, blameless, innocent.
[so with good life, And observation strange, my meaner ministers Their several kinds have done]
This seems a corruption. I know not in what sense life can here be used, unless for alacrity, liveliness, vigour, and in this sense the expression is harsh. Perhaps we may read,—with good lift, with good will, with sincere zeal for my service. I should have proposed,—with good lief, in the same sense, but that I cannot find lief to be a substantive. With good life may however mean, with exact presentation of their several characters, with observation strange of their particular and distinct parts. So we say, he acted to the life. (see 1765, I,60,4)
III.iii.99 (70,5) [bass my trespass] The deep pipe told it me in a rough bass sound.
IV.i.2 (71,7) [for I Have given you here a third of mine own life] [Theobald had argued that Miranda was at least half of Prospero’s life and had emended.] In consequence of this ratiocination Mr. Theobald printed the text, a thread of my own life. I have restored the ancient reading. Prospero, in his reason subjoined why he calls her the third of his life, seems to allude to some logical distinction of causes, making her the final cause.
IV.i.7 (71,8) [strangely stood the test] Strangely is used by way of commendation, merveilleusement, to a wonder; the sense is the same in the foregoing scene, with observation strange.
IV.i.37 (72,1) [the rabble] The crew of meaner spirits.
IV.i.59 (73,4) [No tongue] Those who are present at incantations are obliged to be strictly silent, “else,” as we are afterwards told, “the spell is marred.”
IV.i.166 (80,4) [We must prepare to meet with Caliban] To meet with is to counteract; to play stratagem against stratagem.—The parson knows the temper of every one in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices, or advances their virtues.
HERBERT’s Country Parson.
[so I charm’d their ears, That, calf-like, they my loving follow’d through Tooth’d briars, sharp furzes, pricking goss, and thorns, Which enter’d their frail shins]
Thus Drayton, in his Court of Fairie of Hobgoblin caught in a Spell:
“But once the circle got within, “The charms to work do straight begin, “And he was caught as in a gin: “For as be thus was busy, “A pain he in his head-piece feels, “Against a stubbed tree he reels, “And up went poor Hobgoblin’s heels: “Alas, his brain was dizzy. “At length upon his feet he gets, “Hobgoblin fumes, Hobgoblin frets; “And as again he forward sets, “And through the bushes scrambles, “A stump doth hit him in his pace, “Down comes poor Hob upon his face, “And lamentably tore his case “Among the briers and brambles.”
IV.i.196 (81,7) [your fairy … has done little better than play’d the Jack with us] Has led us about like an iguis fatuus, by which travellers are decoyed into the mire.
IV.i.246 (83,3) [put some lime] That is, birdlime.
V.i.102 (90,7) [Ari. I drink the air before me] Is an expression of swiftness of the same kind as to devour the way in Henry IV.
[Alon. You the like loss? Pro. As great to me, as late;]
My loss is as great as yours, and has as lately happened to me.
V.i.174 (93,2) [Yes, for a score of kingdoms] I take the sense to be only this: Ferdinand would not, he says, play her false for the world; yes, answers she, I would allow you to do it for something less than the world, for twenty kingdoms, and I wish you well enough to allow you, after a little wrangle, that your play was fair. So likewise Dr. Gray.
V.i.213 (94,3) [When no man was his own] For when perhaps should be read where.
[at pick’d leisure (Which shall be shortly) single I’ll resolve you, (Which to you shall seem probable) of every These happen’d accidents]
These words seem, at the first view, to have no use; some lines are perhaps lost with which they were connected. Or we may explain them thus: I will resolve you, by yourself, which method, when you hear the story [of Anthonio’s and Sebastian’s plot] shall seem probable, that is, shall deserve your approbation.
[Mark but the badges of these men, my lords, Then say, if they be true]
That is, honest. A true man is, in the language of that time, opposed to a thief. The sense is, Mark what these men wear, and say if they are honest.
Epilogue.10 (100,7) With the help of your good hands] By your applause, by clapping hands. (1773)
General Observation (100) It is observed of The Tempest, that its plan is regular; this the author of The Revisal thinks, what I think too, an accidental effect of the story, not intended or regarded by our author. But whatever might be Shakespeare’s intention in forming or adopting the plot, he has made it instrumental to the production of many characters, diversified with boundless invention, and preserved with profound skill in nature, extensive knowledge of opinions, and accurate observation of life. In a single drama are here exhibited princes, courtiers, and sailors, all speaking in their real characters. There is the agency of airy spirits, and of an earthly goblin. The operation of magick, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a desert island, the native effusion of untaught affection, the punishment of guilt, and the final happiness of the pair for whom our passions and reason are equally interested. (1773)
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
It is observable (I know not for what cause) that the stile of this comedy is less figurative, and more natural and unaffected than the greater part of this author’s, though supposed to be one of the first he wrote. [Pope.] To this observation of Mr. Pope, which is very just, Mr. Theobald has added, that this is one of Shakespeare’s worst plays, and is less corrupted than any other. Mr. Upton peremptorily determines, that if any proof can be drawn from manner and stile, this play must be sent packing, and seek for its parent elsewhere. How otherwise, says he, do painters distinguish copies from originals, and have not authors their peculiar stile and manner from which a true critic can form as unerring judgment as a painter? I am afraid this illustration of a critic’s science will not prove what is desired. A painter knows a copy from an original by rules somewhat resembling these by which critics know a translation, which if it be literal, and literal it must be to resemble the copy of a picture, will be easily distinguished. Copies are known from originals, even when the painter copies his own picture; so if an author should literally translate his work, he would lose the manner of an original.
Mr. Upton confounds the copy of a picture with the imitation of a painter’s manner. Copies are easily known, but good imitations are not detected with equal certainty, and are, by the best judges, often mistaken. Nor is it true that the writer has always peculiarities equally distinguishable with those of the painter. The peculiar manner of each arises from the desire, natural to every performer, of facilitating his subsequent works by recurrence to his former ideas; this recurrence produces that repetition which is called habit. The painter, whose work is partly intellectual and partly manual, has habits of the mind, the eye and the hand, the writer has only habits of the mind. Yet, some painters have differed as much from themselves as from any other; and I have been told, that there is little resemblance between the first works of Raphael and the last. The same variation may be expected in writers; and if it be true, as it seems, that they are less subject to habit, the difference between their works may be yet greater.
But by the internal marks of a composition we may discover the author with probability, though seldom with certainty. When I read this play, I cannot but think that I find, both in the serious and ludicrous scenes, the language and sentiments of Shakespeare. It is not indeed one of his most powerful effusions, it has neither many diversities of character, nor striking delineations of life, but it abounds in [Greek: gnomahi] beyond most of his plays, and few have more lines or passages, which, singly considered, are eminently beautiful. I am yet inclined to believe that it was not very successful, and suspect that it has escaped corruption, only because being seldom played, it was less exposed to the hazards of transcription.
[However, but a folly bought with wit; Or else a wit by folly vanquished]
This love will end in a foolish action, to produce which you are long to spend your wit, or it will end in the loss of your wit, which will be overpowered by the folly of love.
I.i.69 (109,7) [Made wit with musing weak] For made read make. Thou, Julia, hast made me war with good counsel, and make wit weak with muting.
I.i.70 (109,8) [Enter Speed] [Pope found this scene low and full of “trifling conceits” and suggested it was possibly an interpolation by the actors.] That this, like many other scenes, is mean and vulgar, will be universally allowed; but that it was interpolated by the players seems advanced without any proof, only to give a greater licence to criticism.
I.i.153 (112,4) [you have testern’d me] You have gratified me with a tester, testern, or testen, that is, with a sixpence.
I.ii.41 (114,5) [a goodly broker!] A broker was used for matchmaker, sometimes for a procuress.
I.ii.68 (115,6) [stomach on your meat] Stomach was used for passion or obstinacy.
I.ii.137 (117,8) [I see you have a month’s mind to them] [A month’s mind was an anniversary in times of popery. Gray.] A month’s mind, in the ritual sense, signifies not desire or inclination, but remonstrance; yet I suppose this is the true original of the expression. (1773) I.iii.1 (118,9) [what sad talk] Sad is the same as grave or serious.
I.iii.26 (119,2) [Valentine, Attends the emperor in his royal court] [Theobald had tried to straighten out an historical error.] Mr. Theobald discovers not any great skill in history. Vienna is not the court of the emperor as emperor, nor has Milan been always without its princes since the days of Charlemaigne; but the note has its use.
I.iii.44 (120,3) [in good time] In good time was the old expression when something happened which suited the thing in hand, as the French say, a propos.
I.iii.84 (121,4) [Oh, how this spring of love resembleth] At the end of this verse there is wanting a syllable, for the speech apparently ends in a quatrain. I find nothing that will rhyme to sun, and therefore shall leave it to some happier critic. But I suspect that the author might write thus:
Oh, how this spring of love resembleth right, The uncertain glory of an April day; Which now shews all the glory of the light, And, by and by, a cloud takes all away.
Light was either by negligence or affectation changed to sun, which, considered without the rhyme, is indeed better. The next transcriber, finding that the word right did not rhyme to sun, supposed it erroneously written, and left it out.
II.i.27 (123,1) [Hallowmas] That is, about the feast of All-Saints, when winter begins, and the life of a vagrant becomes less comfortable.
II.i.39 (123,2) [without you were so simple, none else would] None else would be so simple.
II.i.148 (127,5) [reasoning with yourself?] That is, discoursing, talking. An Italianism.
II.iii.22 (129,2) [I am the dog] This passage is much confused, and of confusion the present reading makes no end. Sir T. Hammer reads, I am the dog, no, the dog is himself and I am me, the dog is the dog, and I am myself. This certainly is more reasonable, but I know not how much reason the author intended to bestow on Launce’s soliloquy.
II.iv.57 (133,1) [not without desert] And not dignified with so much reputation without proportionate merit.
II.iv.115 (134,2) [No: that you are worthless] I have inserted the particle no to fill up the measure.
[I have done penance for contemning love; Whose high imperious thoughts have punish’d me With bitter fasts, with penitential groans]
For whose I read those. I have contemned love and am punished. Those high thoughts by which I exalted myself above human passions or frailties have brought upon me fasts and groans.
II.iv.138 (136,5) [no woe to his correction] No misery that can be compared to the punishment inflicted by love. Herbert called for the prayers of the liturgy a little before his death, saying, None to them, none to them.
II.iv.152 (136,6) [a principality] The first or principal of women. So the old writers use state. She is a lady, a great state. Latymer. This look is called in states warlie, in others otherwise. Sir T. More.
II.iv.167 (137,8) [She is alone] She stands by herself. There is none to be compared to her.
II.iv.207 (138,1) [with more advice] With more prudence, with more discretion.
II.iv.209 (138,2) [‘Tis but her picture I have yet beheld] This is evidently a slip of attention, for he had seen her in the last scene, and in high terms offered her his service.
II.v.28 (139,4) [My staff understands me] This equivocation, miserable as it is, has been admitted by Milton in his great poem. B. VI.
“——The terms we sent were terms of weight, “Such as we may perceive, amaz’d them all, “And stagger’d many who receives them right, “Had need from head to foot well understand, “Not understood, this gift they have besides, “To shew us when our foes stand not upright.”
II.vi (141,5) [Enter Protheus] It is to be observed, that in the first folio edition, the only edition of authority, there are no directions concerning the scenes; they have been added by the later editors, and may therefore be changed by any reader that can give more consistency or regularity to the drama by such alterations. I make this remark in this place, because I know not whether the following soliloquy of Protheus is so proper in the street.
II.vi.7 (141,6) [O sweet-suggesting love] To suggest is to tempt in our author’s language. So again:
“Knowing that tender youth is soon suggested.”
The sense is, O tempting love, if thou hast influenced me to sin, teach me to excuse it. Dr. Warburton reads, if I have sinn’d; but, I think, not only without necessity, but with less elegance.
II.vi.35 (142,7) [Myself in counsel, his competitor] Myself, who am his competitor or rival, being admitted to his counsel.
II.vi.37 (142,8) [pretended flight] We may read intended flight.
II.vi.43 (142,9) [Love, lend me wings to make my purpose swift, As thou hast lent me wit to plot this drift!] I suspect that the author concluded the act with this couplet, and that the next scene should begin the third act; but the change, as it will add nothing to the probability of the action, is of no great importance.
III.i.45 (146,1) [be not aimed at] Be not guessed.
III.i.47 (147,2) [of this pretence] Of this claim made to your daughter.
III.i.86 (148,4) [the fashion of the time] The modes of courtship, the acts by which men recommended themselves to ladies.
III.i.148 (150,5) [for they are sent by me] For is the same as for that, since.
III.i.153 (150,6) [why, Phaeton (for thou art Merops’ son)] Thou art Phaeton in thy rashness, but without his pretensions; thou art not the son of a divinity, but a terrae filius, a low born wretch; Merops is thy true father, with whom Phaeton was falsely reproached.
III.i.185 (151,7) [I fly not death, to fly his deadly doom] To fly his doom, used for by flying, or in flying, is a gallicism. The sense is, By avoiding the execution of his sentence I shall not escape death. If I stay here, I suffer myself to be destroyed; if I go away, I destroy myself.
III.i.261 (153,8) [Laun. I am but a fool, look you; and yet I have the wit to think my master is a kind of a knave: but that’s all one, if he be but one knave] [W: but one kind] This alteration is acute and specious, yet I know not whether, in Shakespeare’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.
III.i.265 (154,9) [a team of horse shall not pluck] I see how Valentine suffers for telling his love-secrets, therefore I will keep mine close.
III.i.330 (156,4) [Speed. Item, she hath a. 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.
III.i.351 (157,5) [Speed. Item, she will often praise her liquor] That is, shew how well she likes it by drinking often.
III.i.355 (157,6) [Speed. Item, she is too liberal] Liberal, is licentious and gross in language. So in Othello, “Is he not a profane and very liberal counsellor.”
III.ii.7 (158,8) [Trenched in ice] Cut, carved in ice. Trencher, to cut, French.
III.ii.36 (159,9) [with circumstance] With the addition of such incidental particulars as may induce belief.
[Therefore as you unwind her love from him, Lest it should ravel, and be good to none, You must provide to bottom it on me]
As you wind off 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.
III.ii.68 (160,2) [lime] That is, birdlime.
III.ii.98 (161,4) [Duke. Even now about it. I will pardon you] I will excuse you from waiting.
IV.i.36 (163,2) [By the bare scalp of Robin Hood’s fat friar] Robin Hood was captain of a band of robbers, and was much inclined to rob churchmen.
IV.i.46 (163,3) [awful men] Reverend, worshipful, such as magistrates, and other principal members of civil communities.
IV.ii.12 (165,1) [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.
IV.ii.45 (166,2) [For beauty lives with kindness] Beauty without kindness dies unenjoyed, and undelighting.
IV.ii.93 (168,4) [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.
IV.ii.130 (169,5) [But, since your falsehood 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.
IV.iii.37 (171,2) [Madam, I pity much your grievances] Sorrows, sorrowful affections.
IV.iv.13 (172,1) [I would have, as one should say, one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed, to be, as it were, a dog at all things] 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.
IV.iv.79 (174,3) [It seems, you lov’d not her, 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.
IV.iv.106 (175,4) [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.
[The air hath starv’d the roses in her cheeks, And pinch’d the lily-tincture of her face. That now she is become as black as I]
[W: And pitch’d] This is no emendation; none ever heard of a face being pitched by the weather. 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.
IV.iv.198 (179,2) [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.
IV.iv.206 (179,3) [My substance should be statue in thy stead] [W: statued] Statued is, I am afraid, a new word, and that it should be received, is not quite evident.
V.i.12 (180,4) [sure enough] Sure is safe, out of danger.
V.iv.71 (185,1) [The private wound is deepest. Oh time, most curst!] I have a little mended the measure. The old edition, and all but Sir T. Hammer, read,
The private wound is deepest, oh time most accurst.
V.iv.106 (187,4) [if shame live In a disguise of love] That is, if it be any shame to wear a disguise for the purposes of love.
V.iv.126 (187,5) [Come not within the measure of my wrath] The length of my sword, the reach of my anger.
General Observation (189,8) In this play there is a strange mixture of knowledge and ignorance, of care and negligence. The versification is often excellent, the allusions are learned and just; but the author conveys his heroes by sea from one inland town to another in the same country; he places the emperor at Milan, and sends his young men to attend him, but never mentions him more; he makes Protheus, after an interview with Silvia, say he has only seen her picture; and, if we may credit the old copies, he has, by mistaking places, left his scenery inextricable. The reason of all this confusion seems to be, that he took his story from a novel, which he sometimes followed, and sometimes forsook, sometimes remembered, and sometimes forgot.
That this play is rightly attributed to Shakespeare, I have little doubt. If it be taken from him, to whom shall it be given? This question may be asked of all the disputed plays, except Titus Andronicus; and it will be found more credible, that Shakespeare might sometimes sink below his highest flights, than that any other should rise up to his lowest. (see 1765, I,259,5)
THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR
I.i.7 (194,4) [Custalorum] This it, I suppose, intended for a corruption of Custos Rotulorum. The mistake was hardly designed by the author, who, though he gives Shallow folly enough, makes him rather pedantic than illiterate. If we read:
Shal. Ay, cousin Slender, and Custos Rotulorum.
It follows naturally:
Slen. Ay, and Ratalorum too.
I.i.22 (194,5) [The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat] I see no consequence in this answer. Perhaps we may read, the salt fish is not an old coat. That is, the fresh fish is the coat of an ancient family, and the salt fish is the coat of a merchant grown rich by trading over the sea.
I.i.115 (198,1) [and broke open my lodge] This probably alludes to some real incident, at that time well known.
I.i.121 (198,2) [‘Twere better for you, if ’twere not known in council; you’ll be laugh’d at] The old copies read, ‘Twere better for you, if ’twere known in council. Perhaps it is an abrupt speech, and must be read thus: ‘Twere better for you—if ’twere known in council, you’ll be laugh’d at. ‘Twere better for you, is, I believe, a menace.(1773)
I.i.127 (199,3) [coney-catching rascals] A coney-catcher was, in the time of Elizabeth, a common name for a cheat or sharper. Green, one of the first among us who made a trade of writing pamphlets, published A Detection of the Frauds and Tricks of Coney-catchers and Couzeners.
I.i.159 (200,6) [Edward shovel-boards] By this term, I believe, are meant brass castors, such as are shoveled on a board, with king Edward’s face stamped upon them.
I.i.166 (201,8) [Word of denial in thy Labra’s here] I suppose it should rather be read,
Word of denial in my Labra’s hear;
that is, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou ly’st.
I.i.170 (201,9) [marry trap] When a man was caught in his own stratagem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was marry, trap!
I.i.184 (202,3) [and so conclusions pass’d the careires] I believe this strange word is nothing but the French cariere; and the expression means, that the common bounds of good behaviour were overpassed.
I.i.211 (203,4) [upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas?] [Theobald suspected that Shakespeare had written “Martlemas.”] This correction, thus seriously and wisely enforced, is received by Sir Tho. Hammer; but probably Shakespeare intended a blunder.
I.iii.56 (210,7) [The anchor is deep: will that humour pass?] I see not what relation the anchor has to translation. Perhaps we may read, the author is deep; or perhaps the line is out of its place, and should be inserted lower after Falstaff has said,
Sail like my pinnace to those golden shores.
It may be observed, that in the tracts of that time anchor and author could hardly be distinguished. (see 1765, II,464,7)
I.iii.110 (213,6) [I will possess him with yellowness] Yellowness is jealousy. (1773)
I.iii.III (213,7) [for the revolt of mine is dangerous] I suppose we may read, the revolt of men. Sir T. Hammer reads, this revolt of mine. Either may serve, for of the present text I can find no meaning.
I.iv.9 (213,8) [at the latter end of a sea-coal fire] That is, when my master is in bed.
II.i.5 (219,1) [though love use reason for his precisian, he admits him not for his counsellor] Of this word I do not see any meaning that is very apposite to the present intention. Perhaps Falstaff said, Though love use reason as his physician, he admits him not for his counsellor. This will be plain sense. Ask not the reason of my love; the business of reason is not to assist love, but to cure it. There may however be this meaning in the present reading. Though love, when he would submit to regulation, may use reason as his precisian, or director in nice cases, yet when he is only eager to attain his end, he takes not reason for his counsellor. (1773)
II.i.27 (220,2) [I was then frugal of my mirth] By breaking this speech into exclamations, the text may stand; but I once thought it must be read, If I was not then frugal of my mirth.
II.i.29 (220,3) [Why, I’ll exhibit a bill in the parliament for the putting down of men] [T: of fat men] [W: of mum] I do not see that any alteration is necessary; if it were, either of the foregoing conjectures might serve the turn. But surely Mrs. Ford may naturally enough, in the first heat of her anger, rail at the sex for the fault of one.
II.i.52 (222,4) [These knights will hack, and so thou shouldst not alter the article of thy gentry] [W: lack] Upon this passage the learned editor has tried his strength, in my opinion, with more spirit than success.
I read thus—These knights we’ll hack, and so thou shouldest not alter the article of thy gentry. The punishment of a recreant or undeserving knight, was to hack off his spurs: the meaning therefore is; it is not worth the while of a gentlewoman to be made a knight, for we’ll degrade all these knights in a little time, by the usual form of hacking off their spurs, and thou, if thou art knighted, shalt be hacked with the rest.
II.i.79 (223,5) [for he cares not what he puts into the press] Press is used ambiguously, for a press to print, and a press to squeeze.
II.i.114 (224,7) [curtail-dog] That is, a dog that misses hie game. The tail is counted necessary to the agility of a greyhound; and one method of disqualifying a dog, according to the forest laws, is to cut his tail, or make him a curtail. (see 1765, II,477,+)
II.i.128 (225,9) [Away, Sir corporal Nym.—Believe it, Page, he speaks sense] Nym, I believe, is out of place, and we should read thus:
Away, Sir corporal. Nym. Believe it. Page, he speaks sense.
II.i.135 (225,1) [I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necessity.—He loves your wife] [V: bite—upon my necessity, he] I do not see the difficulty of this passage: no phrase is more common than—you may, upon a need, thus. Nym, to gain credit, says, that he is above the mean office of carrying love-letters; he has nobler means of living; he has a sword, and upon his necessity, that is, when his need drives him to unlawful expedients, his sword shall bite.
II.i.148 (226,3) [I will not believe such a Cataian] [Theobald and Warburton had both explained “Cataian” as a liar.] Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton have both told their stories with confidence, I am afraid, very disproportionate to any evidence that can be produced. That Cataian was a word of hatred or contempt is plain, but that it signified a boaster or a liar has not been proved. Sir Toby, in Twelfth Night, says of the Lady Olivia to her maid, “thy Lady’s a Cataian;” but there is no reason to think he means to call her liar. Besides, Page intends to give Ford a reason why Pistol should not be credited. He therefore does not say, I would not believe such a liar: for that he is a liar is yet to be made probable: but he says, I would not believe such a Cataian on any testimony of his veracity. That is, “This fellow has such an odd appearance; is so unlike a man civilized, and taught the duties of life, that I cannot credit him.” To be a foreigner was always in England, and I suppose everywhere else, a reason of dislike. So Pistol calls Slender in the first act, a mountain foreigner; that is, a fellow uneducated, and of gross behaviour; and again in his anger calls Bardolph, Hungarian wight.
II.i.182 (228,4) [very rogues] A rogue is a wanderer or vagabond, and, in its consequential signification, a cheat.
II.i.236 (230,7) [my long sword] Not long before the introduction of rapiers, the swords in use were of an enormous length, and sometimes raised with both hands. Shallow, with an old man’s vanity, censures the innovation by which lighter weapons were introduced, tells what he could once have done with his long sword, and ridicules the terms and rules of the rapier.
II.ii.28 (234,6) [red lattice phrases] Your ale-house conversation.
II.ii.28 (234,7) [your bold-beating oaths] [W: bold-bearing] A beating oath is, I think, right; so we now say, in low language, a thwacking or swinging thing.
II.ii.61 (235,8) [canaries] This is the name of a brisk light dance, and is therefore properly enough used in low language for any hurry or perturbation.
II.ii.94 (236,1) [frampold] This word I have never seen elsewhere, except in Dr. Hacket’s Life of Archbishop Williams, where a frampul man signifies a peevish troublesome fellow.
II.ii.142 (238,3) [Clap on more sails; pursue; up with your fights] [Warburton had quoted a passage from Dryden’a Amboyna for “fights,” explaining them as “small arms.”] The quotation from Dryden might at least have raised a suspicion that fights were neither small arms, nor cannon. Fights and nettings are properly joined. Fights, I find, are cloaths hung round the ship to conceal the men from the enemy, and close-fights are bulkheads, or any other shelter that the fabrick of a ship affords.
II.ii.170 (240,5) [not to charge you] That is, not with a purpose of putting you to expence, or being burthensome.
II.ii.256 (242,6) [instance and argument] Instance is example.
II.ii.324 (244,8) [Eleven o’clock] Ford should rather have said ten o’clock: the time was between ten and eleven; and his impatient suspicion was not likely to stay beyond the time.
II.iii.60 (246,2) [mock-water] The host means, I believe, to reflect on the inspection of urine, which made a considerable part of practical physick in that time; yet I do not well see the meaning of mock-water.
III.i.17 (249,5) [By shallow rivers, to whose falls] [Warburton had introduced The Passionate Shepherd to his Love and _The Nymph’s Reply at this point in his text, attributing both to Shakespeare.] These two poems, which Dr. Warburton gives to Shakespeare, are, by writers nearer that time, disposed of, one to Marlow, the other to Raleigh. These poems are read in different copies with great variations.
III.i.123 (253,6) [scald, scurvy] Scall was an old word of reproach, as scab was afterwards.
Chaucer imprecates on his scrivener;
“Under thy longe lockes mayest thou have the scalle.”
III.ii.58 (255,7) [We have linger’d about a match between Anne Page and my cousin Slender, and this day we shall have our answer] They have not linger’d very long. The match was proposed by Sir Hugh but the day before.
III.ii.73 (256,1) [The gentleman is of no having] Having is the same as estate or fortune.
III.ii.90 (257,2) [I think, I shall drink in pipe-wine first with him] [Tyrwhitt: horn-pipe wine] Pipe is known to be a vessel of wine, now containing two hogsheads. Pipe wine is therefore wine, not from the bottle, but the pipe; and the text consists in the ambiguity of the word, which signifies both a cask of wine, and a musical instrument. Horn-pipe wine has no meaning. (1773)
III.iii.60 (260,4) [that becomes the ship-tire, the tire-valiant, or any tire of Venetian admittance] [Warburton had explained the two tents as head-dresses, and “of Venetian admittance” as “which will admit to be adorned.”] This note is plausible, except in the explanation of Venetian admittance: but I am afraid this whole system of dress is unsupported by evidence.
III.iv.13 (267,7) [father’s wealth] Some light may be given to those who shall endear one to calculate the increase of English wealth, by observing, that Latymer, in the time of Edward VI. mentions it as proof of his father’s prosperity, That though but a yeoman. he gave his daughters five pounds each for her portion. At the latter end of Elizabeth, seven hundred pounds were such a temptation to courtship, as made all other motives suspected. Congreve makes twelve thousand pounds more than a counterbalance to the affectation of Belinda. Ho poet would now fly his favourite character at less than fifty thousand.
III.iv.100 (270,1) [will you cast away your child on a fool and a physician?] I should read fool or a physician, meaning Slender and Caius.
III.v.113 (274,4) [bilbo] A bilbo is a Spanish blade, of which the excellence is flexibleness and elasticity.
III.v.117 (274,5) [kidney] Kidney in this phrase now signifies kind or qualities, but Falstaff means a man whose kidnies are as fat as mine.
III.v.155 (275,6) [I’ll be horn-mad] There is no image which our author appears so fond of, as that of cuckold’s horns. Scarcely a light character is introduced that does not endearor to produce merriment by some allusion to horned husbands. As he wrote his plays for the stage rather than the press, he perhaps reviewed them seldom, and did not observe this repetition, or finding the jest, however, frequent, still successful, did not think correction necessary.
IV.i (276,7) [Page’s house. Enter Mrs. Page. Mrs. Quickly, and William] This is a very trifling scene, of no use to the plot, and I should think of no great delight to the audience; but Shakespeare best knew what would please.
IV.ii.22 (879,8) [he so takes on] To take on, which is now used for to, grieve, seems to be used by our author for to, rage. Perhaps it was applied to any passion.
IV.ii.26 (279,9) [buffets himself on the forehead, crying, peer- out, peer-out!] That is, appear horns. Shakespeare is at his old lunes. (see 1765, II, 526,+)
IV.ii.161 (283,1) [this wrongs you] This is below your character, unworthy of your understanding, injurious to your honour. So in The Taming of the Shrew, Bianca, being ill treated by her rugged sister, says: “You wrong me much, indeed you wrong yourself.”
IV.ii.195 (284,2) [ronyon!] Ronyon, applied to a woman, means, as far as can be traced, much the same with scall or scab spoken of a man.
IV.ii.204 (284,3) [I spy a great peard under his muffler] As the second stratagem, by which Falstaff escapes, is much the grosser of the two, I wish it had been practiced first. It is very unlikely that Ford, baring been so deceived before, and knowing that he had been deceived, would suffer him to escape in so slight a disguise.
IV.ii.208 (284,4) [cry out upon no trail] The expression is taken from the hunters. Trail is the scent left by the passage of the game. To cry out, is to open or bark.
IV.iii.13 (285,5) [they must come off] To come off, signifies in our author, sometimes to be uttered with spirit and volubility. In this place it seems to mean what is in our time expressed by to come down, to pay liberally and readily. These accidental and colloquial senses are the disgrace of language, and the plague of commentators.
IV.iv.32 (287,7) [And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle] To take, in Shakespeare, signifies to seize or strike with a disease, to blast. So in Hamlet;
“No planet takes.”
So in Lear;
“——-Strike her young bones, “Ye taking airs, with lameness.” (rev. 1778,I,341,4)
IV.v.7 (290,3) [standing-bed, and truckle-bed] The usual furniture of chambers in that time was a standing-bed, under which was a trochle, truckle, or running bed. In the standing-bed lay the master, and in the truckle-bed the servant. So in Hall’s Account of a Servile Tutor:
“He lieth in the truckle-bed. “While his young master lieth o’er his head.”
IV.v.21 (291,4) [Bohemian-Tartar] The French call a Bohemian what we call a Gypsey; but I believe the Host means nothing more than, by a wild appellation, to insinuate that Simple makes a strange appearance.
IV. v. 29 (291, 5) [mussel-shell] He calls poor Simple mussel-shell, because he stands with his mouth open.
IV. v. 104 (293, 6) [Primero] A game at cards.
IV. v. 122 (294, 7) [counterfeiting the action of an old woman] [T: a wood woman] This emendation is received by Sir Thomas Hammer, but rejected by Dr. Warburton. To me it appears reasonable enough.
IV. v. 130 (294, 8) [sure, one of you does not serve heaven well, that you are so cross’d] The great fault of this play, is the frequency of expressions so profane, that no necessity of preserving character can justify them. There are laws of higher authority than those of criticism.
V. v. 28 (300, 3) [my shoulders for the fellow of this walk] Who the fellow is, or why he keeps his shoulders for bin, I do not understand.
V. v. 77 (304, 9) [Fairies use flowers for their charactery] For the matter with which they make letters.
V. v. 84 (304, 1) [I smell a man of middle earth] Spirits are supposed to inhabit the ethereal regions, and fairies to dwell under ground, men therefore are in a middle station.
V. v. 99 (305, 4) [Lust is but a bloody fire] So the old copies. I once thought it should be read,
Lust is but a cloudy fire,
but Sir T. Hammer reads with less violence,
Lust is but i’ the blood a fire.
V. v. 172 (308, 8) [ignorance itself is a plummet o’er me] Though this be perhaps not unintelligible, yet it is an odd way of confessing his dejection. I should wish to read:
—ignorance itself has a plume o’ me;
That is, I am so depressed, that ignorance itself plucks me, and decks itself with the spoils of my weakness. Of the present reading, which is probably right, the meaning may be, I am so enfeebled, that ignorance itself weighs me down and oppresses me. (see 1765, II, 554, 1)
V. v. 181 (309, 1) [laugh at my wife] The two plots are excellently connected, and the transition very artfully made in this speech.
V. v. 249 (311, 2) [Page. Tell, what remedy?] In the first sketch of this play, which, as Mr. Pope observes, is much inferior to the latter performance, the only sentiment of which I regret the omission, occurs at this critical time, when Fenton brings in his wife, there is this dialogue.
Mrs. Ford. Come, mistress Page. I must be bold with you. ‘Tis pity to part love that is so true.
Mrs. Page. [Aside] Although that I have miss’d in my intent, Yet I am glad my husband’s match is cross’d. —Here Fenton. take her.—
Eva. Come, master Page, you must needs agree.
Ford. I’ faith, Sir, come, you see your wife is pleas’d.
Page. I cannot tell, and yet my heart is eas’d; And yet it doth me good the Doctor miss’d. Come hither, Fenton, and come hither, daughter. (1773)
General Observation. Of this play there is a tradition preserved by Mr. Rowe, that it was written at the command of queen Elizabeth, who was so delighted with the character of Falstaff, that she wished it to be diffused through more plays; but suspecting that it might pall by continued uniformity, directed the poet to diversify his manner, by shewing him in love. No task is harder than that of writing to the ideas of another. Shakespeare knew what the queen, if the story be true, seems not to have known, that by any real passion of tenderness, the selfish craft, the careless jollity, and the lazy luxury of Falstaff must have suffered so much abatement, that little of his former cast would have remained. Falstaff could not love, but by ceasing to be Falstaff. He could only counterfeit love, and his professions could be prompted, not by the hope of pleasure, but of money. Thus the poet approached as near as he could to the work enjoined him; yet having perhaps in the former plays completed his own idea, seems not to have been able to give Falstaff all his former power of entertainment.
This comedy is remarkable for the variety and number of the personages, who exhibit more characters appropriated and discriminated, than perhaps can be found in any other play.
Whether Shakespeare was the first that produced upon the English stage the effect of language distorted and depraved by provincial or foreign pronunciations, I cannot certainly decide. This mode of forming ridiculous characters can confer praise only on him, who originally discovered it, for it requires not much of either wit or judgment: its success must be derived almost wholly from the player, but its power in a skilful month, even he that despises it, is unable to resist.
The conduct of this drama is deficient; the action begins and ends often before the conclusion, and the different parts might change places without inconvenience; but its general power, that power by which all works of genius shall finally be tried, is such, that perhaps it never yet had reader or spectator, who did not think it too soon at an end.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE
Persons Represented: Varrius might be omitted, for he is only once spoken to, and says nothing.
There it perhaps not one of Shakespeare’s plays more darkened than this by the peculiarities of its authour, and the unskilfulness of its editors, by distortions of phrase, or negligence of transcription.
I.i.6 (4,4) [lists] Bounds, limits.
I.i.7 (4,5) [Then no more remains, But that your sufficiency, as your worth is able, And let them work]
This is a passage which has exercised the sagacity of the editors, and is now to employ mine. [Johnson adds T’s and W’s notes] Sir Tho. Hammer, having caught from Mr. Theobald a hint that a line was lost, endeavours to supply it thus.
—Then no more remains, But that to your sufficiency you join A will to serve us, as your worth is able.
He has by this bold conjecture undoubtedly obtained a meaning, but, perhaps not, even in his own opinion, the meaning of Shakespeare.
That the passage is more or less corrupt, I believe every reader will agree with the editors. I am not convinced that a line is lost, as Mr. Theobald conjectures, nor that the change of but to put, which Dr. Warburton has admitted after some other editor, will amend the fault. There was probably some original obscurity in the expression, which gave occasion to mistake in repetition or transcription. I therefore suspect that the authour wrote thus,
—Then no more remains. But that to your sufficiencies your worth is abled, _And let them work.
Then nothing remains more than to tell you, that your virtue is now invested with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. Let therefore your knowledge and your virtue now work together._ It may easily be conceived how sufficiencies was, by an inarticulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, confounded withsufficiency as, and how abled, a word very unusual, was changed into able. For abled, however, an authority is not wanting. Lear uses it in the same sense, or nearly the same, with the Duke. As for sufficiencies, D. Hamilton, in his dying speech, prays that Charles II. may exceed both the virtues andsufficiencies of his father.
I.i.11 (6,6) [the terms For common justice, you are as pregnant in] The later editions all give it, without authority,
—the terms Of justice,—
and Dr. Warburton makes terms signify bounds or limits. I rather think the Duke meant to say, that Escalus was pregnant, that is, ready and knowing in all the forms of law, and, among other things, in the terms or times set apart for its administration.
I.i.18 (7,7) [we have with special soul Elected him our absence to supply] [W: roll] This editor is, I think, right in supposing a corruption, but less happy in his emendation. I read,
—we have with special seal Elected him our absence to supply.
A special seal is a very natural metonymy for a special commission.
[There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history Fully unfold]
Either this introduction has more solemnity than meaning, or it has a meaning which I cannot discover. What is there peculiar in this, that a man’s life informs the observer of his history? Might it be supposed that Shakespeare wrote this?
There is a kind of character in thy look.
History may be taken in a more diffuse and licentious meaning, for future occurrences, or the part of life yet to come. If this sense be received, the passage is clear and proper.
I.i.37 (8,1) [to fine issues] To great consequences. For high purposes.
I.i.41 (9,2) [But I do bend my speech To one that can my part in him advertise] I know not whether we may not better read,
One that can my part to him advertise,
One that can inform himself of that which it would be otherwise my part to tell him.
I.i.43 (9,3) [Hold therefore, Angelo] That is, continue to be Angelo; hold as thou art.
I.i.47 (9,4) [first in question] That is, first called for; first appointed.
I.i.52 (9,5) [We have with a leaven’d and prepared choice Proceeded to you] [W: a levell’d] No emendation is necessary. Leaven’d choice is one of Shakespeare’s harsh metaphors. His train of ideas seems to be this. I have proceeded to you with choice mature, concocted, fermented, leavened. When bread isleavened it is left to ferment: a leavened choice is therefore a choice not hasty, but considerate, not declared as soon as it fell into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind. Thus explained, it suits better with prepared than levelled.
I.i.65 (10,6) [your scope is as mine own] That is, Your amplitude of power.
I.ii.22 (12,7) [in metre?] In the primers, there are metrical graces, such as, I suppose, were used in Shakespeare’s time.
I.ii.25 (12,9) [Grace is grace, despight of all controversy] [Warbarton had suspected an allusion to ecclesiastical disputes.] I am in doubt whether Shakespeare’s thoughts reached so far into ecclesiastical disputes. Every commentator is warped a little by the tract of his own profession. The question is, whether the second gentleman has ever heard grace. The first gentleman limits the question to grace in metre. Lucio enlarges it to grace in any form or language. The first gentleman, to go beyond him, says, or in any religion, which Lucio allows, because the nature of things is unalterable; grace is as immutably grace, as his merry antagonist is a wicked villain. Difference in religion cannot make a grace not to be grace, a prayer not to be holy; as nothing can make a villain not to be a villain. This seems to be the meaning, such as it is.
I.ii.28 (12,1) [there went but a pair of sheers between us] We are both of the same piece.
I.ii.35 (13,2) [be pil’d, as thou art pil’d, for a French velvet?] The jest about the pile of a French velvet alludes to the loss of hair in the French disease, a very frequent topick of our authour’s jocularity. Lucio finding that the gentleman understands the distemper so well, and mentions it so feelingly, promises to remember to drink his health, but to forget to drink after him. It was the opinion of Shakespeare’s time, that the cup of an infected person was contagious.
I.ii.50 (13,3) [To three thousand dollars a year] [A quibble intended between dollars and dolours. Hammer.] The same jest occured before in the Tempest.
I.ii.83 (15,5) [what with the sweat] This nay allude to the sweating sickness, of which the memory was very fresh in the time of Shakespeare: but more probably to the method of cure then used for the diseases contracted in brothels.
[Thus can the demi-god, Authority, Make us pay down, for our offence, by weight.— The words of heaven;—on whom it will, it will; On whom it will not, so; yet still ’tis just]
[Warburton had emended the punctuation of the second line] I suspect that a line is lost.
I.ii.162 (18,8) [the fault, and glimpse, of newness] Fault and glimpse have so little relation to each other, that both can scarcely be right: we may read flash for fault or, perhaps we may read,
Whether it be the fault or glimpse—
That is, whether it be the seeming enormity of the action, or the glare of new authority. Yet the sane sense follows in the next lines, (see 1765, I, 275, 4)
I.ii.188 (19,2) [There is a prone and speechless dialect] I can scarcely tell what signification to give to the word prone. Its primitive and translated senses are well known. The authour may, by a prone dialect, mean a dialect which men are prone to regard, or a dialect natural and unforced, as those actions seem to which we are prone. Either of these interpretations are sufficiently strained; but such distortion of words is not uncommon in our authour. For the sake of an easier sense, we may read,
—In her youth There is a pow’r, and speechless dialect, Such as moves men.
There is a prompt and speechless dialect.
I.ii.194 (20,3) [under grievous imposition] I once thought it should be inquisition, but the present reading is probably right. The crime would be under grievous penalties imposed.
I.iii.2 (20,4) [Believe not, that the dribbling dart of love Can pierce a compleat bosom] Think not that a breast compleatly armed can be pierced by the dart of love that comes fluttering without force.
I.iii.12 (21,5) [(A man of stricture and firm abstinence)] [W: strict ure] Stricture may easily be used for strictness; ure is indeed an old word, but, I think, always applied to things, never to persons.
I.iii.43 (22,9) [To do it slander] The text stood,
So do in slander.—
Sir Thomas Hammer has very well corrected it thus,
To do it slander.—
Yet perhaps less alteration might have produced the true reading,
And yet my nature never, in the fight, So _do_ing _slander_ed.—
And yet my nature never suffer slander by doing any open acts of severity. (see 1765, I,279,3)
I.iii.51 (23,2) [Stands at a guard] Stands on terms of defiance.
I.iv.30 (24,3) [make me not your story] Do not, by deceiving me, make me a subject for a tale.
[as blossoming time That from the seedness the bare fallow brings To teeming foyson, so her plenteous womb Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry]
As the sentence now stands, it is apparently ungrammatical. I read,
At blossoming time, &c.
That is, As they that feed grow full, so her womb now at blossoming time, at that time through which the feed time proceeds to the harvest, her womb shows what has been doing. Lucio ludicrously calls pregnancy blossoming time, the time when fruit is promised, though not yet ripe.
I.iv.51 (26,6) [Bore many gentlemen, myself being one, In hand, and hope of action] To bear in hand is a common phrase for to keep in expectation and dependance, but we should read,
—with hope of action.
I.iv.56 (26,7) [with full line] With full extent, with the whole length.
I.iv.62 (27,8) [give fear to use] To intimidate use, that is, practices long countenanced by custom.
I.iv.69 (27,9) [Unless you have the grace] That is, the acceptableness, the power of gaining favour. So when she makes her suit, the provost says,
Heaven give thee moving graces. (1765, I,282,1)
I.iv.70 (27,1) [pith Of business] The inmost part, the main of my message.
I.iv.86 (28,4) [the mother] The abbess, or prioress.
II.i.8 (29,7) [Let but your honour know] To know is here to examine, to take cognisance. So in Midsummer-Night’s Dream,
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires; Know of your truth, examine well your blood.
[‘Tis very pregnant, The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it, Because we see it; but what we do not see, We tread upon, and never think of it]
‘Tis plain that we must act with bad as with good; we punish the faults, as we take the advantages, that lie in our way, and what we do not see we cannot note.
II.i.28 (30,8) [For I have had such faults] That is, because, by reason that I have had faults.
II.i.57 (31,9) [This comes off well] This is nimbly spoken; this is volubly uttered.
II.i.63 (32,1) [a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd] This we should now express by saying, he is half-tapster, half-bawd. (1773)
II.i.66 (32,2) [she professes a hot-house] A hot-house is an English name for a bagnio.
Where lately harbour’d many a famous whore, A purging-bill now fix’d upon the door, Tells you it it a hot-house, so it may. And still be a whore-house. Ben. Jonson.
II.i.85 (32,3) [Ay, sir, by mistress Over-done’s means] Here seems to have been some mention made of Froth, who was to be accused, and some words therefore may have been lost, unless the irregularity of the narrative may be better imputed to the ignorance of the constable.
II.i.180 (35,4) [Justice or Iniquity?] These were, I suppose, two personages well known to the audience by their frequent appearance in the old moralities. The words, therefore, at that time, produced a combination of ideas, which they have now lost.
II.i.183 (35,5) [Hannibal] Mistaken by the constable for Cannibal.
II.i.215 (36,6) [they will draw you] Draw has here a cluster of senses. As it refers to the tapster, it signifies to drain, to empty; as it is related to hang, it means to be conveyed to execution on a hurdle. In Froth’s answer, it is the same as to bring along by some motive or power.
II.i.254 (37,7) [I’ll rent the fairest house in it, after three pence a bay] A bay of building is, in many parts of England, a common term, of which the best conception that I could ever attain, is, that it is the space between the main beams of the roof; so that a barn crossed twice with beams is a barn of three bays.
II.ii.26 (40,8) [Stay yet a while] It is not clear why the provost is bidden to stay, nor when he goes out.
II.ii.32 (40,9) [For which I must not plead but that I am at war, ‘twixt will, and will not] This is obscure; perhaps it may be mended by reading,
For which I must now plead; but yet I am At war, ‘twixt will, and will not.
Yet and yt are almost indistinguishable in a manuscript. Yet no alteration is necessary, since the speech is not unintelligible as it now stands, (see 1765, 9I,294,5)
II.ii.78 (42,2) [And mercy then will breathe within your lips, Like man new made] I rather think the meaning is, You would then change the severity of your present character. In familiar speech, You would be quite another man. (see 1765, 1,296,7)
[Isab. Yet shew some pity. Ang. I shew it most of all, when I shew justice; For then I pity those I do not know]
This was one of Bale’s memorials. When I find myself swayed to mercy, let me remember, that there is a mercy likewise due to the country.
II.ii.126 (45,2) [We cannot weigh our brother with ourself] [W: yourself] The old reading is right. We mortals proud and foolish cannot prevail on our passions to weigh or compare our brother, a being of like nature and frailty, with ourself. We have different names and different judgments for the same faults committed by persons of different condition. (1773)
II.ii.141 (46,3) [She speaks, and ’tis Such sense, that my sense breeds with it] Thus all the folios. Some later editor has changed breeds to bleeds, and Dr. Warburton blames poor Mr. Theobald for recalling the old word, which yet is certainly right. My sense breeds with her sense, that is, new thoughts are stirring in my mind, new conceptions are hatched in my imagination.
So we say to brood over thought.
II.ii.149 (46,4) [tested gold] Rather cupelled, brought to the test, refined, (see 1765,I,299,6)
II.ii.157 (47,6) [For I am that way going to temptation, Where prayers cross] Which way Angelo is going to temptation, we begin to perceive; but how prayers cross that way, or cross each other, at that way, more than any other, I do not understand.
Isabella prays that his honour may be safe, meaning only to give him his title: his imagination is caught by the word honour; he feels that his honour is in danger, and therefore, I believe, answers thus:
I am that way going to temptation, Which your prayers cross.
That is, I am tempted to lose that honour of which thou implorest the preservation. The temptation under which I labour is that which thou hast unknowingly thwarted with thy prayer. He uses the same mode language a few lines lower. Isabella, parting, says, Save your honour! Angelo catches the word—Save it!From what? From thee; even from thy virtue!—(rev. 1778,II,52,3)
[But it is I, That lying, by the violet, in the sun, Do, as the carrion does, not as the flower, Corrupt with virtuous season.]
I am not corrupted by her, but by my own heart, which excites foul desires under the same benign influences that exalt her purity, as the carrion grows putrid by those beams which encrease the fragrance of the violet.
II.ii.186 (48,8) [Ever, till now, When men were fond, I smil’d, and wonder’d how] As a day must now intervene between this conference of Isabella with Angelo, and the next, the act might more properly end here; and here, in my opinion, it was ended by the poet.
II.iii.11 (49,1) [Who falling in the flaws of her own youth, Hath blister’d her report] Who doth not see that the integrity of the metaphor requires we should read, —flames of her own youth? Warburton.]
Who does not see that, upon such principles, there is no end of correction?
II.iii.36 (50,3) [There rest] Keep yourself in this temper.
II.iii.40 (50,4) [Oh, injurious love] Her execution was respited on account of her pregnancy, the effects of her love: therefore she calls it injurious; not that it brought her to shame, but that it hindered her freeing herself from it. Is not this all very natural? yet the Oxford editor changes it to injurious law.
II.iv.9 (51,6) [Grown fear’d and tedious] [W: sear’d] I think fear’d
may stand. What we go to with reluctance may be said to be fear’d.
II.iv.13 (51,7) [case] For outside; garb; external shew.
II.iv.14 (51,8) [Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls To thy false seeming?] Here Shakespeare judiciously distinguishes the different operations of high place upon different minds. Fools are frighted, and wise men are allured. Those who cannot judge but by the eye, are easily awed by splendour; those who consider men as well as conditions, are easily persuaded to love the appearance of virtue dignified with power.
II.iv.16 (51,9) [Let’s write good angel on the devil’s horn; ‘Tis not the devil’s crest] [Hammer: Is’t not the devil’s crest] I am still inclined to the opinion of the Oxford editor. Angelo, reflecting on the difference between his seeming character, and his real disposition, observes, that he could change his gravity for a plume. He then digresses into an apostrophe, O dignity, how dost thou impose upon the world! then returning to himself, Blood, says he, thou art but blood, however concealed with appearances and decorations. Title and character do not alter nature, which is still corrupt, however dignified.
Let’s write good angel on the devil’s horn; Is’t not?—or rather—‘Tis yet the devil’s crest.
It may however be understood, according to Dr. Warburton’s explanation. O place, how dost thou impose upon the world by false appearances! so much, that if we write good angel on the devil’s horn, ’tis not taken any longer to be the devil’s crest. In this sense,
Blood, thou art but blood.!
is an interjected exclamation. (1773)
II.iv.27 (53,1) [The gen’ral subjects to a well-wish’d king] So the later editions: but the old copies read,
The general subject to a well-wish’d king.
The general subject seems a harsh expression, but general subjects has no sense at all; and general was, in our authour’s time, a word for people, so that the general is the people, or multitude, subject to a king. So in Hamlet: The play pleased not the million; ’twas caviare to the general.
II.iv.47 (54,3) [Falsely to take away a life true made] Falsely is the same with dishonestly, illegally: so false, in the next lines, is illegal, illegitimate.
II.iv.48 (54,4) [As to put metal in restrained means] In forbidden moulds. I suspect means not to be the right word, but I cannot find another.
II.iv.50 (55,5) [‘Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth] I would have it considered, whether the train of the discourse does not rather require Isabel to say,
‘Tis so set down in earth, but not in heaven.
When she has said this, Then, says Angelo, I shall poze you quickly. Would you, who, for the present purpose, declare your brother’s crime to be less in the sight of heaven, than the law has made it; would you commit that crime, light as it is, to save your brother’s life? To this she answers, not very plainly in either reading, but more appositely to that which I propose:
I had rather give my body, than my soul. (1773)
[Pleas’d you to do’t at peril of your soul, Were equal poize of sin and charity]
The reasoning is thus: Angelo asks, whether there might not be a charity in sin to save this brother. Isabella answers, that if Angelo will save him, she will stake her soul that it were charity, not sin. Angelo replies, that if Isabella would save him at the hazard of her soul, it would be not indeed no sin, but a sin to which the charity would be equivalent.
II.iv.73 (56,7) [And nothing of your answer] I think it should be read,
And nothing of yours answer.
You, and whatever is yours, be exempt from penalty.
II.iv.86 (56,9) [Accountant to the law upon that pain] Pain is here for penalty, punishment.
II.iv.90 (57,2) [But in the loss of question,] The loss of question I do not well understand, and should rather read,
But in the toss of question.
In the agitation, in the discussion of the question. To toss an argument is a common phrase.
II.iv.106 (57,4) [a brother dy’d at once] Perhaps we should read,
Better it were, a brother died for once, Than that a sister, by redeeming him. Should die for ever.
II.iv.123 (58,6) [Owe, and succeed by weakness] To owe is, in this place, to own, to hold, to have possession.
II.iv.125 (59,7) [the glasses where they view themselves; Which are as easily broke, as they make forms] Would it not be better to read, ——take forms.
II.iv.128 (59,8) [In profiting by them] In imitating them, in taking them for examples.
[I have no tongue but one. Gentle my lord, Let me intreat you, speak the former language]
Isabella answers to his circumlocutory courtship, that she has but one tongue, she does not understand this new phrase, and desires him to talk his former language, that is, to talk as he talked before.
II.iv.150 (60,3) [Seeming, seeming!] Hypocrisy, hypocrisy; counterfeit virtue.
II.iv.156 (60,4) [My Touch against you] [The calling his denial of her charge his vouch, has something fine. Vouch is the testimony one man bears for another. So that, by this, he insinuates his authority was so great, that his denial would have the same credit that a vouch or testimony has in ordinary cases. Warburton.] I believe this beauty is merely imaginary, and that vouch against means no more than denial.
II.iv.165 (60,5) [die the death] This seems to be a solemn phrase for death inflicted by law. So in Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Prepare to die the death.
II.iv.178 (61,6) [prompture] Suggestion, temptation, instigation.
III.i.5 (62,8) [Be absolute for death] Be determined to die, without any hope of life. Horace,—
—The hour, which exceeds expectation will be welcome.
III.i.7 (62,9) [I do lose a thing, That none but fools would keep] [W: would reck] The meaning seems plainly this, that none but fools would wish to keep life; or, none but fools would keep it, if choice were allowed. A sense, which whether true or not, is certainly innocent.
III.i.14 (63,3) [For all the accommodations, that thou bear’st Are nurs’d by baseness] Dr. Warburton is undoubtedly mistaken in supposing that by baseness is meant self-love here assigned as the motive of all human actions. Shakespeare only meant to observe, that a minute analysis of life at once destroys that splendour which dazzles the imagination. Whatever grandeur can display, or luxury enjoy, is procured by baseness, by offices of which the mind shrinks from the contemplation. All the delicacies of the table may be traced back to the shambles and the dunghill, all magnificence of building was hewn from the quarry, and all the pomp of ornaments dug from among the damps and darkness of the mine.
III.i.16 (64,4) [the soft and tender fork Of a poor worm] Worm is put for any creeping thing or serpent. Shakespeare supposes falsely, but according to the vulgar notion, that a serpent wounds with his tongue, and that his tongue is forked. He confounds reality and fiction, a serpent’s tongue is soft but not forkednor hurtful. If it could hurt, it could not be soft. In Midsummer Night’s Dream he has the same notion.
—With doubler tongue Than thine, O serpent, never adder stung.
[Thy best of rest is sleep, And that thou oft provok’st; yet grosly fear’st Thy death which is no more]
Here Dr. Warburton might have found a sentiment worthy of his
animadversion. I cannot without indignation find Shakespeare saying, that death is only sleep, lengthening out his exhortation by a sentence which in the friar is impious, in the reasoner is foolish, and in the poet trite and vulgar.
[Thou art not thyself, For thou exist’st on many thousand grains, That issue out of dust]
Thou art perpetually repaired and renovated by external assistance, thou subsistest upon foreign matter, and hast no power of producing or continuing thy own being.
III.i.24 (64,7) [strange effects] For effects read affects; that is, affections, passions of mind, or disorders of body variously affected. So in Othello, The young affects.
[Thou hast nor youth, nor age; But, as it were, an after-dinner’s sleep, Dreaming on both]
This is exquisitely imagined. When we are young, we busy ourselves in forming schemes for succeeding time, and miss the gratifications that are before us; when we are old, we amuse the languor of age with the recollection of youthful pleasures or performances; so that our life, of which no part is filled with the business of the present time, resembles our dreams after dinner, when the events of the morning are mingled with the designs of the evening.
[for all thy blessed youth Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms Of palsied eld]
[W: for pall’d, thy blazed youth Becomes assuaged] Here again I think Dr. Warburton totally mistaken. Shakespeare declares that man has neither youth nor age; for in youth, which is the happiest time, or which might be the happiest, he commonly wants means to obtain what he could enjoy; he is dependent onpalsied eld; must beg alms from the coffers of hoary avarice: and being very niggardly supplied, becomes as aged, looks, like an old man, on happiness which is beyond his reach. And when he is old and rich, when he has wealth enough for the purchase of all that formerly excited his desires, he has no longer the powers of enjoyment,
—_has neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty, To make _his riches pleasant.—
I have explained this passage according to the present reading, which may stand without much inconvenience; yet I am willing to persuade my reader, because I have almost persuaded myself, that our authour wrote,
—for all thy blasted youth Becomes as aged—
III.i.37 (66,2) [Thou has neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty To make thy riches pleasant] [W: nor bounty] I am inclined to believe, that neither man nor woman will have much difficulty to tell how beauty makes riches pleasant. Surely this emendation, though it it elegant and ingenious, is not such as that an opportunity of inserting it should be purchased by declaring ignorance of what every one knows, by confessing insensibility to what every one feels.
III.i.40 (66,3) [more thousand deaths] For this sir T. Hammer reads, —— a thousand deaths:—— The meaning is not only a thousand deaths, but a thousand deaths besides what have been mentioned.
III.i.55 (67,5) [Why, as all comforts are; most good in Deed] If this reading be right, Isabella must mean that she brings something better than words of comfort, she brings an assurance of deeds. This is harsh and constrained, but I know not what better to offer. Sir Thomas Hammer reads,—in speed.
III.i.59 (68,6) [an everlasting leiger. Therefore your best appointment] Leiger is the same with resident. Appointment; preparation; act of fitting, or state of being fitted for any thing. So in old books, we have a knight well appointed; that is, well armed and mounted or fitted at all points.
[Tho’ all the world’s vastidity you had, To a determin’d scope]
A confinement of your mind to one painful idea; to ignominy, of which the remembrance can neither be suppressed nor escaped.
[And the poor beetle, that we tread upon, In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great, As when a giant dies]
The reasoning is, that death is no more than every being must suffer, though the dread of it is peculiar to man; or perhaps, that_ we are inconsistent with ourselves, when we so much dread that which we carelessly inflict on other creatures, that feel the pain as acutely as we.
III.i.91 (69,1) [follies doth emmew] Forces follies to lie in cover without daring to show themselves.
III.1.93 (69,3) [His filth within being cast] To cast a pond is to empty it of mud.
Mr. Upton reads, His pond within being cast, he would appear A filth as deep as hell.
III.1.94 (70,4) [Claud. The princely Angelo? Isab. Oh, ’tis the cunning livery of hell, The damned’st body to invest and cover In princely guards!]
[W: priestly guards] The first folio has, in both places, prenzie,
from which the other folios made princely, and every editor may make what he can.
[If it were damnable, he being so wise, Why would he for the momentary trick Be perdurably fin’d?]
Shakespeare shows his knowledge of human nature in the conduct of Claudio. When Isabella first tells him of Angelo’s proposal, he answers, with honest indignation, agreeably to his settled principles,
Thou shalt not do’t.
But the love of life being permitted to operate, soon furnishes him with sophistical arguments, he believes it cannot be very dangerous to the soul, since Angelo, who is so wise, will venture it.
III.i.121 (71,8) [delighted spirit] This reading may perhaps stand, but many attempts have been made to correct it. The most plausible is that which substitutes,
—the benighted spirit,
alluding to the darkness always supposed in the place of future punishment.
Perhaps we may read,
—the delinquent spirit,
a word easily changed to delighted by a bad copier, or unskilful reader. Delinquent is proposed by Thirlby in his manuscript.(1773)
III.i.127 (72,9) [lawless and incertain thoughts] Conjecture sent out to wander without any certain direction, and ranging through all possibilities of pain.
III.i.139 (73,2) [Is’t not a kind of incest, to take life From thine own sister’s shame?] In Isabella’s declamation there is something harsh, and something forced and far-fetched. But her indignation cannot be thought violent, when we consider her not only as a virgin, but as a nun.
III.i.149 (74,4) [but a trade] A custom; a practice, an established habit. So we say of a man much addicted to any thing, he makes a trade of it.
III.i.176 (75,6) [Hold you there] Continue in that resolution.
III.i.255 (77,l) [only refer yourself to this advantage] This is scarcely to be reconciled to any established mode of speech. We may read, only reserve yourself to, or only reserve to yourself this advantage.
III.i.266 (77,2) [the corrupt deputy scaled] To scale the deputy may be, to reach him, notwithstanding the elevation of his place; or it may be, to strip him and discover his nakedness, though armed and concealed by the investments of authority.
III.ii.6 (78,4) [since, of two usuries] Sir Thomas Hammer corrected this with less pomp [than Warburton], then since of two usurers the merriest was put down, and the worser allowed, by order of law, a furr’d gown, &c. His punctuation is right, but the alteration, small as it is, appears more than was wanted. Usury may be need by an easy licence for the professors of usury.
III.ii.14 (79,5) [father] This word should be expunged.
III.ii.40 (80,7) [That we were all, as some would seem to be, Free from all faults, as faults from seeming free!]
Sir T. Hammer reads,
Free from all faults, as from faults seeming free.
In the interpretation of Dr. Warburton, the sense is trifling, and the expression harsh. To wish that men were as free from faults, as faults are free from comeliness [instead of void of comeliness] is a very poor conceit. I once thought it should be read,
O that all were, as all would seem to be. Free from all faults, or from false seeming free.
So in this play,
O place, 0 power—how dost thou Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls To thy false seeming.
But now I believe that a less alteration will serve the turn.
Free from all faults, or _faults from seeming free;
that men were really good, or that their faults were known_, that men were free from faults, or faults from hypocrisy. So Isabella calls Angelo’s hypocrisy, seeming, seeming.
III.ii.42 (81,8) [His neck will come to your waist] That is, his neck will be tied, like your waist, with a rope. The friars of the Franciscan order, perhaps of all others, wear a hempen cord for a girdle. Thus Buchanan,
Fac gemant suis, Variata terga funibus.
III.ii.51 (81,1) [what say’st thou to this tune, matter and method? Is’t not drown’d i’ the last rain?] [W: It’s not down i’ the last reign] Dr. Warburton’s emendation is ingenious, but I know not whether the sense may not be restored with less change. Let us consider it. Lucio, a prating fop, meets his old friend going to prison, and pours out upon him his impertinent interrogatories, to which, when the poor fellow makes no answer, he adds, What reply? ha? what say’st thou to this? tune, matter, and method,—is’t not? drown’d i’ th’ last rain? ha? what say’st thou, trot? &c. It is a common phrase used in low raillery of a man crest-fallen and dejected, that he looks like a drown’d puppy, Lucio, therefore, asks him, whether he was drowned in the last rain, and therefore cannot speak.
III.ii.52 (82,2) [what say’st thou, trot?] Trot, or as it is now often pronounced, honest trout, is a familiar address to a man among the provincial vulgar. (1773)
III.ii.54 (82,3) [Which is the way?] What is the mode now?
III.ii.59 (82,4) [in the tub] The method of cure for veneral complaints is grosly celled the powdering tub.
III.ii.89 (83,6) [Go—to kennel, Pompey—go] It should be remembered, that Pompey is the common name of a dog, to which allusion is made in the mention of a kennel. (1773)
III.ii.135 (85,9) [clack-dish] The beggars, two or three centuries ago, used to proclaim their wont by a wooden dish with a moveable cover, which they clacked to shew that their vessel was empty. This appears in a passage quoted on another occasion by Dr. Gray, (see 1765, I,331,9 and the note in the 1765 Appendix)
III.ii.144 (86,1) [The greater file of the subject] The larger list, the greater number.
III.ii.193 (87,5) [He’s now past it] Sir Thomas Hammer, He is not past it yet. This emendation was received in the former edition, but seems not necessary. It were to be wished, that we all explained more, and amended less. (see 1765, I,333,5)
[Pattern in himself to know, Grace to stand, and virtue go]
These lines I cannot understand, but believe that they should be read thus:
Patterning himself to know, In grace to stand, in virtue go;
To pattern is to work after a pattern, and, perhaps, in Shakespeare’s licentious diction, simply to work. The sense is, he that bears the sword of heaven should be holy as well as severe; one that after good examples labours to know himself, to live with innocence, and to act with virtue.
[So disguise shall, by the disguis’d Pay with falshood false exacting]
So disguise shall by means of a person disguised, return an injurious demand with a counterfeit person.
IY.i.13 (93,4) [My mirth it much displeas’d, but pleas’d my woe] Though the musick soothed my sorrows, it had no tendency to produce light merriment.
IV.i.21 (93,5) [constantly] Certainly; without fluctuation of mind.
IV.i.28 (93,6) [circummur’d with brick] Circummured, walled round. He caused the doors to be mured and cased up.
Painter’s Palace of Pleasure.
IV.i.40 (94,7) [In action all of precept] I rather think we should read,
In precept all of action,—
that is, in direction given not by words, but by mute signs.
IV.i.44 (94,8) [I have possess’d him] I have made him clearly and strongly comprehend.
IV.i.60 (95,9) [O place and greatness] [It plainly appears, that this fine speech belongs to that which concludes the preceding scene, between the Duke and Lucio…. But that some time might be given to the two women to confer together, the players, I suppose, took part of the speech, beginning at No might nor greatness, &c. and put it here, without troubling themselves about its pertinency. Warburton.] I cannot agree that these lines are placed here by the players. The sentiments are common, and such as a prince, given to reflection, must have often present. There was a necessity to fill up the time in which the ladies converse apart, and they must have quick tongues and ready apprehensions, if they understood each other while this speech was uttered.
IV.i.60 (95,1) [false eyes] That is, Eyes insidious and traiterous.
IV.i.62 (95,2) [contrarious quests] Different reports, running counter to each other.
IV.i.76 (96,4) [for yet our tithe’s to sow] [W: tilth] The reader is here attacked with a pretty sophism. We should read tilth, i.e. our tillage is to make. But in the text it is to sow; and who has ever said that his tillage was to sow? I believe tythe is right, and that the expression is proverbial, in which tithe is taken, by an easy metonymy, for harvest.
IV.ii.69 (100,7) [ As fast lock’d up in sleep, as guiltless labour When it lies starkly in the traveller’s bones ] Stiffly. These two lines afford a very pleasing image.
IV.ii.83 (101,1) [Even with the stroke] Stroke is here put for the stroke of a pen or a line.
IV.ii.86 (101,2) [To qualify] To temper, to moderate, as we say wine is qualified with water.
IV.ii.86 (101,3) [Were he meal’d] Were he sprinkled; were he defiled, A figure of the same kind our authour uses in Macbeth, The blood-bolter’d Banquo.
IV.ii.91 (101,4) [that spirit’s possess’d with haste, That wounds the unresisting postern with these strokes] The line is irregular, and the unresisting postern so strange an expression, that want of measure, and want of sense, might justly raise suspicion of an errour, yet none of the later editors seem to have supposed the place faulty, except sir Tho. Hammer, who reads,
the unresting postern.
The three folio’s have it,
out of which Mr. Rowe made unresisting, and the rest followed him. Sir Thomas Hammer seems to have supposed unresisting the word in the copies, from which he plausibly enough extracted unresting, but be grounded his emendation on the very syllable that wants authority. What can be made of unsisting I know not; the best that occurs to me is unfeeling.
IV.ii.103 (103,6) [Duke. This is his lordship’s man. Prov. And here comes Claudio’s pardon]
[Tyrwhitt suggested that the names of the speakers were misplaced] When, immediately after the Duke had hinted his expectation of a pardon, the Provost sees the Messenger, he supposes the Duke to to have known something, and changes his mind. Either reading may serve equally well. (1773)
IV.ii.153 (104,7) [desperately mortal] This expression is obscure. Sir Thomas Hammer reads, mortally desperate. Mortally is in low conversation used in this sense, but I know not whether it was ever written. I am inclined to believe, that desperately mortal means desperately mischievous. Or desperately mortal may mean a man likely to die in a desperate state, without reflection or repentance. (see 1765, I,348,7)
IV.ii.187 (106,8) [and tie the beard] A beard tied would give a very new air to that face, which had never been seen but with the beard loose, long, and squalid. (1773)
IV.iii.4 (107,2) [First, here’s young master Rash] This enumeration of the inhabitants of the prison affords a very striking view of the practices predominant in Shakespeare’s age. Besides those whose follies are common to all times, we have four fighting men and a traveller. It is not unlikely that the originals of the pictures were then known.
IV.iii.17 (108,4) [master Forthlight] Should not Forthlight be Forthright, alluding to the line in which the thrust is made? (1773)
IV.iii.21 (108,6) [in for the Lord’s sake] [i.e. to beg for the rest of their lives. Warburton.] I rather think this expression intended to ridicule the puritans, whose turbulence and indecency often brought them to prison, and who considered themselves as suffering for religion.
It is not unlikely that men imprisoned for other crimes, might represent themselves to casual enquirers, as suffering for puritanism, and that this might be the common cant of the prisons. In Donne’s time, every prisoner was brought to jail by suretiship.
IV.iii.68 (110,7) [After him, fellows] Here was a line given to the Duke, which belongs to the Provost. The Provost, while the Duke is lamenting the obduracy of the prisoner, cries out,
After him, fellows, &c.
and, when they are gone out, turns again to the Duke.
IV.iii.72 (110,8) [to transport him] To remove him from one world to another. The French trepas affords a kindred sense.
IV.iii.115 (112,1) [I will keep her ignorant of her good, To make her heavenly comforts of despair, When least it is expected.]
A better reason might have been given. It was necessary to keep Isabella in ignorance, that she might with more keenness accuse the deputy.
IV.iii.139 (113,2) [your bosom] Your wish; your heart’s desire.
IV.iii.149 (113,3) [I am combined by a sacred vow] I once thought this should be confined, but Shakespeare uses combine for to bind by a pact or agreement, so he calls Angelo the combinate husband of Mariana.
IV.iii.163 (113,4) [if the old fantastical duke] Sir Thomas Hammer reads, the odd fantastical duke, but old is a common word of aggravation in ludicrous language, as, there was old revelling.
IV.iii.170 (114,5) [woodman] That is, huntsman, here taken for a hunter of girls.
IV.iv.19 (115,6) [sort and suit] Figure and rank.
IV.iv.27 (115,7) [Yet reason dares her No] Mr. Theobald reads,
—Yet reason dares her note.
Sir Thomas Hammer,
—Yet reason dares her: No.
—Yet reason dares her—No,
which he explains thus: Yet, says Angelo, reason will give her courage—No, that is, it will not. I am afraid dare has no such signification. I have nothing to offer worth insertion.
[For my authority bears a credent bulk; That no particular scandal once can touch]
Credent is creditable, inforcing credit, not questionable. The old English writers often confound the active and passive adjectives. So Shakespeare, and Milton after him, use inexpressive from inexpressible.
Particular is private, a French sense. No scandal from any private mouth can reach a man in my authority.
IV.iv.36 (116,9) [Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not] Here undoubtedly the act should end, and was ended by the poet; for here is properly a cessation of action, and a night intervenes, and the place is changed, between the passages of this scene, and those of the next. The next act beginning with the following scene, proceeds without any interruption of time or change of place.
IV.v.1 (117,1) [Duke. These letters at fit time deliver me] Peter never delivers the letters, but tells his story without any credentials. The poet forgot the plot which he had formed.
IV.vi.4 (118,2) [He says, to vail full purpose] [T: t’availful] [Warburton had explained “full” as “beneficial.”] To vail full purpose, may, with very little force on the words, mean, to hide the whole extent of our design, and therefore the reading may stand; yet I cannot but think Mr. Theobald’s alteration either lucky or ingenious. To interpret words with such laxity, as to make full the sane with beneficial, is to put an end, at once, to all necessity of emendation, for any word may then stand in the place of another.
IV.vi.9 (118,3) [Enter Peter] This play has two Friars, either of whom might singly have served. I should therefore imagine, that Friar Thomas, in the first act, might be changed, without any harm, to Friar Peter; for why should the Duke unnecessarily trust two in an affair which required only one. The none of Friar Thomas is never mentioned in the dialogue, and therefore seems arbitrarily placed at the head of the scene.
IV.vi.14 (119,4) [Have bent the gates] Have taken possession of the gates, (rev. 1778, II,134,4)
V.i.20 (120,5) [vail your regard] That is, withdraw your thoughts from higher things, let your notice descend upon a wronged woman. To vail, is to lower.
V.i.45 (121,6) [truth is truth To the end of reckoning] That is, truth has no gradations; nothing which admits of encrease can be so much what it is, as truth is truth. There may be a strange thing, and a thing more strange, but if a proposition be true, there can be none more true.
V.i.54 (121,7) [as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute] As shy; as reserved, as abstracted: as just; as nice, as exact: as absolute; as complete in all the round of duty.
V.i.56 (121,8) [In all his dressings] In all his semblance of virtue, in all his habiliments of office.
V.i.64 (122,1) [do not banish reason For inequality] Let not the high quality of my adversary prejudice you against me.
V.i.104 (124,4) [Oh, that it were as like, as it is true!] [Warburton had explained “like” as “seemly.”] Like I have never found for seemly.
V.i.107 (124,8) [In hateful practice] Practice was used by the old writers for any unlawful or insidious stratagem. So again,
This must needs be practice:
Let me have way to find this practice out.
V.i.145 (125,6) [nor a temporary medler] It is hard to know what is meant by a temporary medler. In its usual sense, as opposed to perpetual, it cannot be used here. It may stand for temporal: the sense will then be, I know him for a holy man, one that meddles not with secular affairs. It may meantemporising: I know him to be a holy man, one who would not_ temporise, or take the opportunity of your absence to defame you. Or we may read,
Not scurvy, nor a tamperer and medler:
not one who would bare tampered with this woman to make her a false evidence against your deputy.
V.i.160 (126,8) [So vulgarly and personally accus’d] Meaning either so grosly, with such indecency of invective, or by so mean and inadequate witnesses.
V.i.205 (128,2) [This is a strange abuse] Abuse stands in this place for deception, or puzzle. So in Macbeth,
This strange and self abuse,
means, this strange deception of himself.
V.i.219 (129,3) [her promised proportions Came short of composition] Her fortune, which was promised proportionate to mine, fell short of the composition, that is, contract or bargain.
V.i.236 (129,4) [These poor informal women] I once believed informal had no other or deeper signification than informing, accusing. The scope of justice, is the full extent; but think, upon farther enquiry, that informal signifies incompetent, not qualified to give testimony. Of this use there are precedents to be found, though I cannot now recover them.
V.i.245 (130,5) [That’s seal’d in approbation?] Then any thing subject to counterfeits is tried by the proper officers and approved, a stamp or seal is put upon it, as among us on plate, weights, and measures. So the Duke says, that Angela’s faith has been tried, approved, and seal’d in testimony of thatapprobation, and, like other things so sealed, is no more to be called in question.
V.i.255 (131,6) [to hear this matter forth] To hear it to the end; to search it to the bottom.
V.i.303 (132,4) [to retort your manifest appeal] To refer back to Angelo and the cause in which you appealed from Angelo to the Duke.
V.i.317 (133,5) [his subject I am not, Nor here provincial] Nor here accountable. The meaning seems to be, I am not one of his natural subjects, nor of any dependent province.
V.i.323 (133,6) [the forfeits in a barber’s shop] [Warburton had explained that a list of forfeitures were posted in barber shops to warn patrons to keep their hands off the barber’s surgical instruments.] This explanation may serve till a better is discovered. But whoever has seen the instruments of a chirurgeon, knows that they may be very easily kept out of improper hands in a very small box, or in his pocket.
V.i.336 (134,7) [And was the duke a fleshmonger, a fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to be?] So again afterwards,
You, sirrah, that know me for a fool, a coward, One of all luxury—
But Lucio had not, in the former conversation, mentioned cowardice among the faults of the duke.—Such failures of memory are incident to writers more diligent than this poet.
V.i.359 (135,8) [show your sheep-biting face, and be hang’d an hour’ Will’t not off?] This is intended to be the common language of vulgar indignation. Our phrase on such occasions is simply; show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged. The words an hour have no particular use here, nor are authorised by custom. I suppose it was written thus, show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged—an’ how? wilt not off? In the midland counties, upon any unexpected obstruction or resistance, it is common to exclaim an’ how?
V.i.388 (136,9) [Advertising, and holy] Attentive and faithful.
V.i.393 (136,l) [be you as free to us] Be as generous to us, pardon us as we have pardoned you.
V.i.401 (136,2) [That brain’d my purpose] We now use in conversation a like phrase. This it was that knocked my design on the head. Dr. Warburton reads,
—baned my purpose.
V.i.413 (137,3) [even from his proper tongue] Even from Angelo’s own tongue. So above.
In the witness of his proper ear To call him villain.
V.i.438 (138,5) [Against all sense you do importune her] The meaning required is, against all reason and natural affection; Shakespeare, therefore, judiciously uses a single word that implies both; sense signifying both reason and affection.
V.i.452 (139,6) [‘Till he did look on me] The duke has justly observed that Isabel is importuned against all sense to solicit for Angelo, yet here against all sense she solicits for him. Her argument is extraordinary.
A due sincerity govern’d his deeds, ‘Till he did look on me; since it is so. Let him not die.
That Angelo had committed all the crimes charged against him, as far as he could commit them, is evident. The only intent which his act did not overtake, was the defilement of Isabel. Of this Angelo was only intentionally guilty.
Angela’s crimes were such, as must sufficiently justify punishment, whether its end be to secure the innocent from wrong, or to deter guilt by example; and I believe every reader feels some indignation when he finds him spared. From what extenuation of his crime, can Isabel, who yet supposes her brother dead, form any plea in his favour. Since he was good ’till he looked on me, let him not die. I am afraid our varlet poet intended to inculcate, that women think ill of nothing that raises the credit of their beauty, and are ready, however virtuous, to pardon any act which they think incited by their own charms.
V.i.488 (140,7) [But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all] Thy faults, so far as they are punishable on earth, so far as they are cognisable by temporal power, I forgive.
V.i.499 (141,8) [By this, lord Angelo perceives he’s safe] It is somewhat strange, that Isabel is not made to express either gratitude, wonder or joy at the sight of her brother.
V.i.501 (141,9) [your evil quits you well] Quits you, recompenses, requites you.
V.i.502 (141,1) [Look, that you love your wife; her worth, worth yours] Sir T. Hammer reads,
Her worth works yours.
This reading is adopted by Dr. Warburton, but for what reason? How does her worth work Angelo’s worth? it has only contributed to work his pardon. The words are, as they are too frequently, an affected gingle, but the sense is plain. Her worth, worth yours; that is, her value is equal to your value, the match is not unworthy of you.
V.i.504 (141,2) [And yet here’s one in place I cannot pardon] After the pardon of two murderers, Lucio might be treated by the good duke with less harshness; but perhaps the poet intended to show, what is too often seen, that men easily forgive wrongs which are not committed against themselves.
V.i.509 (142,3) [according to the trick] To my custom, my habitual practice.
V.i.526 (142,4) [thy other forfeits] Thy other punishments.
V.i.534 (142,5) [Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness] I have always thought that there is great confusion in this concluding speech. If my criticism would not be censured as too licentious, I should regulate it thus,
_Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness. Thanks. Provost, for thy care and secrecy; We shall employ thee in a worthier place. Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home The head of Ragozine for Claudio’s. Ang. Th’ offence pardons itself. Duke, There’s more behind That is more gratulate. Dear Isabel, I have a motion,&c,
V.i.545 (143,6) General Observation The novel of Cynthio Giraldi, from which Shakespeare is supposed to have borrowed this fable, may be read in Shakespeare illustrated, elegantly translated, with remarks which will assist the enquirer to discover how much absurdity Shakespeare has admitted or avoided. I cannot but suspect that some other had new-modelled the novel of Cynthio, or written a story which in some particulars resembled it, and that Cynthio was not the authour whom Shakespeare immediately followed. The emperour in Cynthio is named Maximine; the duke, in Shakespeare’s enumeration of the persons of the drama, is called Vincentio. This appears a very slight remark; but since the duke has no name in the play, nor is ever mentioned but by his title, why should he be called Vincentio among the persons, but because the name was copied from the story, and placed superfluously at the head of the list by the mere habit of transcription? It is therefore likely that there was then a story of Vincentio duke of Vienna, different from that of Maximine emperour of the Romans.
Of this play the light or comick part is very natural and pleasing, but the grave scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have more labour than elegance. The plot is rather intricate than artful. The time of the action is indefinite; some time, we know not how much, must have elapsed between the recess of the duke and the imprisonment of Claudio; for he must have learned the story of Mariana in his disguise, or he delegated his power to a man already known to be corrupted. The unities of action and place are sufficiently preserved.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
I.ii.96 (155,3) [o’er-raught] That is, over-reached.
[As, nimble jugglers, that deceive the eye, Dark-working sorcerers, that change the mind, Soul-killing witches, that deform the body]
[W: Drug-working] The learned commentator has endeavoured with much earnestness to recommend his alteration; but, if I may judge of other apprehensions by my own, without great success. This interpretation of soul-killing is forced and harsh. Sir T. Hammer reads soul-selling, agreeable enough to the common opinion, but without such improvement as may justify the change. Perhaps the epithets have only been misplaced, and the lines should be read thus,
Soul-killing sorcerers, that change the mind; Dark-working witches that deform the body.
This change seems to remove all difficulties.
By soul-killing I understand destroying the rational faculties by such means as make men fancy themselves beasts.
I.ii.102 (157,6) [liberties of sin] Sir T. Hammer reads, libertines, which, as the author has been enumerating not acts but persons, seems right.
II.i.30 (158,8) [How if your husband start some other where?] I cannot but think, that our authour wrote,
—start some other hare?
So in Much ado about Nothing, Cupid is said to be a good hare-finder. II.i.32 (159,9) [tho’ she pause] To pause is to rest, to be in quiet.
II.i.41 (159,1) [fool-begg’d] She seems to mean, by fool-begg’d patience, that patience which is so near to idiotical simplicity, that your next relation would take advantage from it to represent you as a fool, and beg the guardianship of your fortune.
II.i.82 (161,3) [Am I so round with you, as you with me] He plays upon the word round, which signified spherical applied to himself, and unrestrained, or free in speech or action, spoken of his mistress. So the king, in Hamlet, bids the queen be round with her son.
II.i.100 (161,5) [too unruly deer] The ambiguity of deer and dear is borrowed, poor as it is, by Waller, in his poem on the Ladies Girdle.
“This was my heav’n’s extremest sphere, “This pale that held my lovely deer.”
II.i.101 (161,6) [poor I am but his stale] The word stale, in our authour, used as a substantive, means, not something offered to allure or attract, but something vitiated with use, something of which the best part has been enjoyed and consumed.
II.ii.86 (166,4) [Not a man of those, but he hath the wit to lose his hair] That is, Those who have more hair than wit, are easily entrapped by loose women, and suffer the consequences of lewdness, one of which, in the first appearance of the disease in Europe, was the loss of hair.
II.ii.173 (169,6) [Be it my wrong, you are from me exempt] Exempt, separated, parted. The sense is, If I am doomed to suffer the wrong of separation, yet injure not with contempt me who am already injured.
II.ii.210 (171,1) [And shrive you] That is, I will call you to confession, and make you tell your tricks.
III.i.4 (172,2) [carkanet] seems to have been a necklace or rather chain, perhaps hanging down double from the neck. So Lovelace in his poem,
The empress spreads her carcanets.
III.i.15 (173,3) [Marry, so it doth appear By the wrongs I suffer, and the blows I bear] [T: don’t appear] I do not think this emendation necessary. He first says, that his wrongs and blows prove him an ass; but immediately, with a correction of his former sentiment, such as may be hourly observed in conversation, he observes that, if he had been an ass, he should, when he was kicked, have kicked again.
III.i.101 (177,7) [supposed by the common rout] For suppose I once thought it might be more commodious to substitute supported; but there is no need of change: supposed is founded on supposition, made by conjecture.
III.i.105 (178,8) [For slander lives upon succession] The line apparently wants two syllables: what they were, cannot now be known. The line may be filled up according to the reader’s fancy, as thus:
For lasting slander lives upon succession.
III.ii.27 (180,3) [‘Tis holy sport to be a little vain] is light of tongue, not veracious.
III.ii.64 (181,2) [My sole earth’s heaven, and my heaven’s claim] When be calls the girl his only heaven on the earth, he utters the common cant of lovers. When he calls her his heaven’s claim, I cannot understand him. Perhaps he means that which he asks of heaven.
[S. Ant. Where France? S. Dro. In her forehead; arm’d and reverted, making war against her hair]
[T, from the first Folio: heir] With this correction and explication Dr. Warburton concurs, and sir T. Hammer thinks an equivocation intended, though he retains hair in the text. Yet surely they have all lost the sense by looking beyond it. Our authour, in my opinion, only sports with an allusion, in which he takes too much delight, and means that his mistress had the French disease. The ideas are rather too offensive to be dilated. By a forehead armed, he means covered with incrusted eruptions: by reverted, he means having the hair turning backwards. An equivocal word must have senses applicable to both the subjects to which it is applied. Both forehead and France might in some sort make war against their hair, but how did the forehead make war against its heir? The sense which I have given immediately occurred to me, and will, I believe, arise to every reader who is contented with the meaning that lies before him, without sending out conjecture in search of refinements.
IV.ii.19 (192,9) [sere] that is, dry, withered.
IV.ii.22 (192,1) [Stigmatical in making] This is, marked or stigmatized by nature with deformity, as a token of his vicious disposition.
IV.ii.35 (193,3) [A fiend, a fairy, pitiless and rough] [T: A fiend, a fury] There were fairies like hobgoblins, pitiless and rough, and described as malevolent and mischievous, (see 1765, III,143,3)
IV.ii.39 (193,5) [A hound that runs counter, and yet draws dry-foot well] To run counter is to run backward, by mistaking the course of the animal pursued; to draw dry-foot is, I believe, to pursue by the track or prick of the foot; to run counter and draw dry-foot well are, therefore, inconsistent. The jest consists in the ambiguity of the word counter, which means the wrong way in* the chase. and a prison in London. The officer that arrested him was a serjeant of the counter. For the congruity of this jest with the scene of action, let our authour answer.
IV.iii.13 (196,9) [what, have you got the picture of old Adam new apparel’d] [T: got rid of the picture] The explanation is very good, but the text does not require to be amended.
IV.iii.27 (`is rest to do more exploits with his mace than a morris pike] [W: a Maurice-pike] This conjecture is very ingenious, yet the commentator talks unnecessarily of the rest of a musket. by which he makes the hero of the speech set up the rest of a musket, to do exploits with a pike. The rest of a pike was a common term, and signified, I believe, the manner in which it was fixed to receive the rush of the enemy. A morris-pike was a pike used in a morris or a military dance, and with which great exploits were done, that is, great feats of dexterity were shewn. There is no need of change.
IV.iv.78 (202,3) [kitchen-vestal] Her charge being like that of the vestal virgins, to keep the fire burning.
V.1.137 (210,6) [important letters]Important seems to be for importunate. (1773)
V.i.298 (216,2) [time’s deformed hand Have written strange defeatures in my face] Defeature is the privative of feature. The meaning is, time hath cancelled my features.
V.i.406 (220,7) [After so long grief such nativity!] We should surely read. After so long grief, such festivity.
Nativity lying so near, and the termination being the same of both words, the mistake was easy.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
I.i.27 (226,3) [no faces truer] That is, none honester, none more sincere.
I.i.40 (227,7) [challenged Cupid at the flight] The disuse of the bow makes this passage obscure. Benedick is represented as challenging Cupid at archery. To challenge at the flight is, I believe, to wager who shall shoot the arrow furthest without any particular mark. To challenge at the bird-bolt, seems to mean the same as to challenge at children’s archery, with snail arrows such as are discharged at birds. In Twelfth Night Lady Olivia opposes a bird-bolt to a cannon-bullet, the lightest to the heaviest of missive weapons.
I.i.66 (228,9) [four of his five wits] In our author’s time wit was the general term for intellectual powers. So Davies on the Soul.
Wit, seeking truth from cause to cause ascends. And never rests till it the first attain; Will, seeking good, finds many middle ends, But never stays till it the last do gain.
And in another part,
But if a phrenzy do possess the brain, It so disturbs and blots the form of things, As fantasy proves altogether vain, And to the wit, no true relation brings. Then doth the wit, admitting all for true, Build fond conclusions on those idle grounds;—
The wits seem to have reckoned five, by analogy to the five senses, or the five inlets of ideas.
I.i.79 (229,4) [the gentleman is not in your books] This is a phrase used, I believe, by more than understand it. To be in one’s books is to be in one’s codicils or will, to be among friends set down for legacies.
I.i.82 (230,5) [young squarer] A squarer I take to be a cholerick, quarrelsome fellow, for in this sense Shakespeare uses the word to square. So in Midsummer Night’s Dream it is said of Oberon and Titalia, that they never meet but they square. So the sense may be, Is there no hot-blooded youth that will keep him company through all his mad pranks?
I.i.103 (231,6) [You embrace your charge] That is your burthen, your incumbrunce.
I.i.185 (233,7) [to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder] I know not whether I conceive the jest here intended. Claudio hints his love of Hero. Benedick asks whether he is serious, or whether he only means to jest, and tell them that Cupid is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter. A man praising a pretty lady in jest, may shew the quick sight of Cupid, but what has it to do with the carpentry of Vulcan? Perhaps the thought lies no deeper than this, Do you mean to tell us as new what we all know already?
I.i.200 (234,8) [wear his cap with suspicion?] That is, subject his head to the disquiet of jealousy.
I.i.217 (235,1) [Claud. If this were so, so were it uttered] This and the three next speeches I do not well understand; there seems something omitted relating to Hero’s consent, or to Claudio’s marriage, else I know not what Claudio can wish not to be otherwise. The copies all read alike. Perhaps it may be better thus,
Claud. If this were so, so were it. Bene. Uttered like the old tale, &c.
Claudio gives a sullen answer, if it is so, so it is. Still there seems something omitted which Claudio and Pedro concur in wishing.
I.i.243 (236,3) [but that I will have a recheate winded in my forehead] That is, I will wear a horn on my forehead which the huntsman may blow. A recheate is the sound by which dogs are called back. Shakespeare had no mercy upon the poor cuckold, his horn is an inexhaustible subject of merriment.
1.1.258 (236,4) [notable argument] An eminent subject for satire.
1.1.259 (237,5) [Adam] Adam Bell was a companion of Robin Hood, as may be seen in Robin Hood’s Garland; in which, if I do not mistake, are these lines,
For he brought Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, And William of Cloudeslea, To shoot with this forester for forty marks, And the forester beat them all three.
(see 1765, III,182,2)
I.i.290 (238,4) [ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience] Before you endeavour to distinguish yourself any more by antiquated allusions, examine whether you can fairly claim them for your own. This, I think is the meaning; or it may be understood in another sense, examine, if your sarcasms do not touch yourself.
I.iii.14 (241,6) [I cannot hide what I am] This is one of our authour’s natural touches. An envious and unsocial mind, too proud to give pleasure, and too sullen to receive it, always endeavours to hide its malignity from the world and from itself, under the plainness of simple honesty, or the dignity of haughty independence.
I.iii.19 (241,7) [claw no man in his humour] To claw is to flatter. So the pope’s claw-backs, in bishop Jewel, are the pope’s flatterers. The sense is the same in the proverb, Mulus mulum scabit.
I.iii.28 (242,8) [I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace] A canker is the canker rose, dog-rose, cynosbatus, or hip. The sense is, I would rather live in obscurity the wild life of nature, than owe dignity or estimation to my brother. He still continues his wish of gloomy independence. But what is the meaning of the expression, a rose in his grace? if he was a rose of himself, his brother’s grace or favour could not degrade him. I once read thus, I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his garden; that is, I had rather be what nature makes me, however mean, than owe any exaltation or improvement to my brother’s kindness or cultivation. But a less change will be sufficient: I think it should be read, I had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose by his grace.
II.i.3 (244,1) [I never can see him, but I am heart-burn’d an hour after] The pain commonly called the heart-burn, proceeds from an acid humour in the stomach, and is therefore properly enough imputed to tart looks.
II.i.53 (245,3) [Well then, go you into hell] Of the two next speeches Mr. Warburton says, All this impious nonsense thrown to the bottom is the players, and foisted in without rhyme or reason. He therefore puts them in the margin. They do not deserve indeed so honourable a place, yet I am afraid they are too much in the manner of our authour, who is sometimes trying to purchase merriment at too dear a rate. (see 1765, III,190,9)
II.i.73 (246,4) [if the prince be too important] Important here, and in many other places, is importunate.
II.i.99 (247,6) [My visor is Philemon’s roof; within the house is Jove] [T: house is love] This amendation, thus impressed with all the power of his eloquence and reason, Theobald found in the quarto edition of 1600, which he professes to have seen; and in the first folio, the l and the I are so much alike, that the printers, perhaps, used the same type for either letter. (1773)
II.i.143 (249,2) [his gift is in devising impossible slanders] [W: impassible] Impossible slanders are, I suppose, such slanders as, from their absurdity and impossibility, bring their own confutation with them.
II.i.195 (251,4) [usurer’s chain] I know not whether the chain was, in our authour’s time, the common ornament of wealthy citizens, or whether he satirically uses usurer and alderman as synonymous terms.
II.i.214 (252,5) [It is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person] That is, It is the disposition of Beatrice, who takes upon her to personate the world, and therefore represents the world as saying what she only says herself.
Base, tho bitter. I do not understand how base and bitter are inconsistent, or why what is bitter should not be base. I believe, we may safely read, It is the base, the bitter disposition.
II.i.253 (253,8) [such impossible conveyance] [W: impassible] I know not what to propose. Impossible seems to have no meaning here, and for impassible I have not found any authority. Spenser uses the word importable in a sense very congruous to this passage, for insupportable, or not to be sustained.
Both him charge on either side, With hideous strokes and importable power, Which forced him his ground to traverse wide.
It may be easily imagined, that the transcribers would change a word so unusual, into that word most like it, which they could readily find. It must be however confessed, that importable appears harsh to our ears, and I wish a happier critick may find a better word.
Sir Tho. Hammer reads impetuous, which will serve the purpose well enough, but is not likely to have been changed to impossible.
Importable was a word not peculiar to Spenser, but used by the last translators of the Apocrypha, and therefore such a word as Shakespeare may be supposed to have written. (1773) II.i.330 (256,2) [Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burn’d] What is it, to go the world? perhaps, to enter by marriage into a settled state: but why is the unmarry’d lady sun-burnt? I believe we should read, Thus goes every one to the wood but I, and I am sun-burnt_. Thus does every one but I find a shelter, and I am left exposed to wind and sun. The nearest way to the wood, is a phrase for the readiest means to any end. It is said of a woman, who accepts a worse match than those which she had refused, that she has passed through the wood, and at last taken a crooked stick. But conjectural criticism has always something to abate its confidence. Shakespeare, in All’s well that Ends well, uses the phrase, to go to the world, for marriage. So that my emendation depends only on the opposition of wood to sun-burnt.
II.i.380 (258,4) [to bring signior Benedick, and the lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection, the one with another] A mountain of affection with one another is a strange expression, yet I know not well how to change it. Perhaps it was originally written, to bring Benedick into a mooting of affection; to bring them not to any more mootings of contention, but to a mooting or conversation of love. This reading is confirmed by the preposition with; a mountain with each other, or affection with each other, cannot be used, but a mooting with each other is proper and regular.
II.iii.104 (265,7) [but, that she loves him, with an enraged affection, it is past the infinite of thought] [W: the definite of] Here are difficulties raised only to shew how easily they can be removed. The plain sense is, I know not what to think otherwise, but that she loves him with an enraged affection: It (this affection) [is past the infinite of thought. Here are no abrupt stops, or imperfect sentences. Infinite may well enough stand; it is used by more careful writers for indefinite; and the speaker only means, that thought, though in itself unbounded, cannot reach or estimate the degree of her passion.
II.iii.146 (267,8) [O, she tore the letter into a thousand half-pence] [i.e. into a thousand pieces of the same bigness.] This is farther explained by a passage in As you Like it.
—_There were none principal; they were all like one
another as_ half-pence are. [Theobald.] How the quotation explains the passage, to which it is applied, I cannot discover.
II.iii.188 (268,9) [contemptible spirit] That is, a temper inclined to scorn and contempt. It has been before remarked, that our authour uses his verbal adjectives with great licence. There is therefore no need of changing the word with sir T. Hammer to contemptuous.
III.i.52 (273,3) [Misprising] Despising, contemning.
III.i.96 (275,8) [argument] This word seems here to signify discourse, or, the powers of reasoning. III.i.104 (275,7) [She’s lim’d] She is ensnared and entangled as a sparrow with birdlime.
III.i.107 (275,9) [Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand] This image is taken from falconry. She had been charged with being as wild as haggards of the rock; she therefore says, that wild as her heart is, she will tame it to the hand.
III.ii.31 (277,2) [There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises] Here is a play upon the word fancy, which Shakespeare uses for love as well as for humour, caprice, or affectation.
III.ii.71 (278,3) [She shall be buried with her face upwards] [T: heels upwards] This emendation, which appears to me very specious, is rejected by Dr. Warburton. The meaning seems to be, that she who acted upon principles contrary to others, should be buried with the same contrariety.
III.iii.43 (282,5) [only have a care that your bills be not stolen] A bill is still carried by the watchmen at Litchfield. It was the old weapon of the English infantry, which, says Temple, gave the most ghastly and deplorable wounds. It may be called securis falcata.
III.iv.44 (289,3) [Light o’ love] A tune so called, which has been already mentioned by our authour.
III.iv.49 (290,4) [you’ll look he shall lack no burns] A quibble between barns, repositories of corn, and bairns, the old word for children.
III.iv.56 (290,5) [For the letter that begins them all, H] This is a poor jest, somewhat obscured, and not worth the trouble of elucidation.
Margaret asks Beatrice for what she cries, hey ho; Beatrice answers, for an H, that is, for an ache or pain.
III.iv.57 (290,6) [turn’d Turk] [i.e. taken captive by love, and turned a renegade to his religion. Warburton.] This interpretation is somewhat far-fetched, yet, perhaps, it is right.
III.iv.78 (291,7) [some morel] That is, some secret meaning, like the moral of a fable.
III.iv.89 (291,8) [he eats his meat without grudging] I do not see how this is a proof of Benedick’s change of mind. It would afford more proof of amourosness to say, he eats not his meat without grudging; but it is impossible to fix the meaning of proverbial expressions: perhaps, to eat meat without grudging, was the same as, to do as others do, and the meaning is, he is content to live by eating like other mortals and will be content, notwithstanding his boasts, like other mortals, to have a wife.
III.v.15 (293,9) [I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, and no honester than I] [There is much humour, and extreme good sense under the covering of this blundering expression. It is a sly insinuation that length of years, and the being much hacknied in the ways of men, as Shakespeare expresses it, take off the gloss of virtue, and bring much defilement on the manners. Warburton.] Much of this is true, but I believe Shakespeare did not intend to bestow all this reflection on the speaker.
III.v.40 (294,1) [an two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind] This is not out of place, or without meaning. Dogberry, in his vanity of superiour parts, apologizing for his neighbour, observes, that of two men on an horse, one must ride behind. The first place of rank or understanding can belong but to one, and that happy one ought not to despise his inferiour.
IV.i.22 (296,2) [Interjections? Why, then some be of laughing] This is a quotation from the Accidence.
IV.i.42 (296,3) [luxurious bed] That is, lascivious. Luxury is the confessor’s term for unlawful pleasures of the sex.
IV.i.53 (297,5) [word too large] So he uses large jests in this play, for licentious, not restrained within due bounds.
IV.i.57 (297,6) [I will write against it] [W: rate against] As to subscribe to any thing is to allow it, so to write against is to disallow or deny.
IV.i.59 (297,7) [chaste as is the bud] Before the air has tasted its sweetness.
IV.i.75 (298,8) [kindly power] That is, natural power. Kind is nature.
IV.i.93 (298,9) [liberal villain] Liberal here, as in many places of these plays, means, frank beyond honesty or decency. Free of tongue. Dr. Warburton unnecessarily reads, illiberal.
IV.i. 101 (299,1) [O Hero! What a Hero hadst thou been] I am afraid here is intended a poor conceit upon the word Hero.
IV.i.123 (300,2) [The story that is printed in her blood?] That is, the story which her blushes discover to be true.
IV.i.128 (300,3) [Griev’d I, I had but one? Chid I for that at frugal nature’s frame?] [W: nature’s ‘fraine] Though frame be not the word which appears to a reader of the present time most proper to exhibit the poet’s sentiment, yet it may as well be used to shew that he had one child, and no more, as that he had agirl, not a boy, and as it may easily signify the system of things, or universal scheme, the whole order of beings is comprehended, there arises no difficulty from it which requires to be removed by so violent an effort as the introduction of a new word offensively mutilated.
IV.i.137 (301,4) [But mine, and mine I lov’d, and mine I prais’d, And mine that I was proud on] [W: “as mine” in three places] Even of this small alteration there is no need. The speaker utters his emotion abruptly, But mine, and mine that I loved, &c. by an ellipsis frequent, perhaps too frequent, both in verse and prose.
IV.i.187 (303,6) [bent of honour] Bent is used by our authour for the utmost degree of any passion, or mental quality. In this play before Benedick says of Beatrice, her affection has its full bent. The expression is derived from archery; the bow has its bent, when it is drawn as far as it can be.
IV.i.206 (304,8) [ostentation] Show; appearance.
IV.i.251 (305,1) [The smallest twine nay lead me] This is one of our author’s observations upon life. Men overpowered with distress, eagerly listen to the first offers of relief, close with every scheme, and believe every promise. He that has no longer any confidence in himself, is glad to repose his trust in any other that will undertake to guide him.
IV.ii.70 (311,6) [Sexton. Let them be in hand] There is nothing in the old quarto different in this scene from the common copies, except that the names of two actors, Kempe and Cowley, are placed at the beginning of the speeches, instead of the proper words, (see 1765, III,249,7)
[If such a one will smile and stroke his beard; And, sorrow wag! cry; hem, when he should groan]
Sir Thomas Hammer, and after him Dr. Warburton, for wag read waive, which is, I suppose, the same as, put aside or shift off. None of these conjectures satisfy me, nor perhaps any other reader. I cannot but think the true meaning nearer than it is imagined. I point thus,
If such an one will smile, and stroke his beard, And, sorrow wag! cry; hem, when he should groan;
That is, If he will smile, and cry sorrow be gone, and hem instead of groaning. The order in which and and cry are placed is harsh, and this harshness made the sense mistaken. Range the words in the common order, and my reading will be free from all difficulty.
If such an one will smile, and stroke his beard, Cry, sorrow, wag! and hem when he should groan.
V.i.32 (314,8) [My griefs cry louder than advertisement] That is, than admonition, than moral instruction.
V.i.102 (318,4) [we will not wake your patience] [W: wrack] This emendation is very specious, and perhaps is right; yet the present reading may admit a congruous meaning with less difficulty than many other of Shakespeare’s expressions.
The old men have been both very angry and outrageous; the prince tells them that he and Claudio will not wake their patience; will not any longer force them to endure the presence of those whom, though they look on them as enemies, they cannot resist.
V.i.138 (319,6) [to turn his girdle] We have a proverbial speech, If he be angry, let him turn the buckle of his girdle. But I do not know its original or meaning.
V.i.166 (320,7) [a wise gentleman] This jest depending on the colloquial use of words is now obscure; perhaps we should read, a wise gentle man, or a man wise enough to be a coward. Perhaps wise gentleman was in that age used ironically, and always stood for silly fellow.
V.i.231 (322,9) [one meaning well suited] That is, one meaning is put into many different dresses; the prince having asked the same question in four modes of speech.
V.ii.9 (326,3) [To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep below stairs?] [T: above] I suppose every reader will find the meaning of the old copies.
V.ii.l7 (327,4) [I give thee the bucklers] I suppose that to give the bucklers is, to yield, or to lay by all thoughts of defence, so clipeum abjicere. The rest deserves no comment.
V.iii.13 (330,7) [Those that slew thy virgin knight] Knight, in its original signification, means follower or pupil, and in this sense may be feminine. Helena, in All’s well that Ends well, uses knight in the same signification.
LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST
[To love, to wealth, to pomp, I pine and die; With all these, living in philosophy]
The stile of the rhyming scenes in this play is often entangled and obscure. I know not certainly to what all these is to be referred; I suppose he means, that he finds love, pomp, and wealth in philosophy.
I.i.75 (344,4) [while truth the while Doth falsly blind] Falsly is here, and in many other places, the same as dishonestly or treacherously. The whole sense of this gingling declamation is only this, that a man by too close study may read himself blind, which might have been told with less obscurity in fewer words.
[Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed, And give him light, that it was blinded by]
This is another passage unnecessarily obscure: the meaning is, that when he dazzles, that is, has his eye made weak, by fixing his eye upon a fairer eye, that fairer eye shall be his heed, his direction or lode-star,(See Midsummer-Night’s Dream) [and give him light that was blinded by it.
[Too much to know, is, to know nought but fame; And every godfather can give a name]
[W: “shame” or “feign”] That there are two ways of setting a passage right gives reason to suspect that there may be a third way better than either. The first of these emendations makes a fine sense, but will not unite with the next line; the other makes a sense less fine, and yet will not rhyme to the correspondent word. I cannot see why the passage may not stand without disturbance. The consequence, says Biron, of too much knowledge, is not any real solution of doubts, but mere empty reputation. That is, too much knowledge gives only fame, a name which every godfather can give likewise. (1773)
I.i.95 (345,7) [Proceeded well to stop all good proceeding] To proceed is an academical term, meaning, to take a degree, as he proceeded bachelor in physick. The sense is, he has taken his degrees on the art of hindering the degrees of others.
I.i.153 (348,1) [Not by might master’d, but by especial grace] Biron, amidst his extravagancies, speaks with great justness against the folly of vows. They are made without sufficient regard to the variations of life, and are therefore broken by some unforeseen necessity. They proceed commonly from a presumptuous confidence, and a false estimate of human power.
I.i.159 (349,2) [Suggestions] Temptations.
I.i.162 (349,3) [quick recreation] Lively sport, spritely diversion.
[A man of complements, whom right and wrong Have chose as umpire of their mutiny]
This passage, I believe, means no more than that Don Armado was a man nicely versed in ceremonial distinctions, one who could distinguish in the most delicate questions of honour the exact boundaries of right and wrong. Compliment, in Shakespeare’s time, did not signify, at least did not only signify verbal civility, or phrases of courtesy, but according to its original meaning, the trapping, or ornamental appendages of a character, in the same manner, and on the same principles of speech with accomplishment. Compliment is, as Arwado well expresses it, the varnish of a complete man.
I.i.174 (350,6) [in the world’s debate] The world seems to be used in a monastick sense by the king, now devoted for a time to a monastic life. In the world, in seculo, in the bustle of human affairs, from which we are now happily sequestred, in the world, to which the votaries of solitude have no relation.
I.i.252 (353,1) [base minow of thy mirth] A minnow is a little fish which cannot be intended here. We may read, the base minion of thy mirth.
I.ii.5 (355,2) [dear imp] Imp was anciently a term of dignity. Lord Cromwell in his last letter to Henry VIII. prays for the imp his son. It is now used only in contempt or abhorrence; perhaps in our authour’s time it was ambiguous, in which state it suits well with this dialogue.
I.ii.36 (356,3) [crosses love not him] By crosses he means money. So in As you like it, the Clown says to Celia, if I should bear you, I should bear no cross.
I.ii.150 (360,7) [Jaq. Fair weather after you! Dull. Come, Jaquenetta, away]
[Theobald had reassigned two speeches] Mr. Theobald has endeavoured here to dignify his own industry by a very slight performance. The folios all read as he reads, except that instead of naming the persons they give their characters, enter Clown, Constable, and Wench.
I.ii.168 (361,8) [It is not for prisoners to be silent in their words] I suppose we should read, it is not for prisoners to be silent in their wards, that is, in custody, in the holds.
I.ii.183 (361,9) [The first and second cause will not serve my turn] See the last act of As you like it, with the notes.
[Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye, Not utter’d by base sale of chapmen’s tongues]
Chapman here seems to signify the seller, not, as now commonly, the buyer. Cheap or cheping was anciently the market, chapman therefore is marketman. The meaning is, that that the estimation of beauty depends not on the uttering or proclamation of the seller, but on the eye of the buyer.
II.i.45 (363,2) [Well fitted] is well qualified.
II.i.49 (363,3) [match’d with] is combined or joined with.
II.i.105 (365,4) [‘Tis deadly sin to keep that oath, my lord; And sin to break it] Sir T. Hammer reads,
Not sin to break it.
I believe erroneously. The Princess shews an inconvenience very frequently attending rash oaths, which, whether kept or broken, produce guilt.
II.i.203 (369,6) [God’s blessing on your beard!] That is, mayst thou have sense and seriousness more proportionate to thy beard, the length of which suits ill with such idle catches of wit.
II.i.223 (370,7) [My lips are no common, though several they be] Several, is an inclosed field of a private proprietor, so Maria says, her lips are private property. Of a lord that was newly married one observed that he grew fat; Yes, said sir Walter Raleigh, any beast will grow fat, if you take him from thecommon and graze him in the several.
II.i.238 (370,8) [His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see] That is, his tongue being impatiently desirous to see as well as speak.
II. i. 241 (370,9) [To feel only looking] Perhaps we may better read, To feed only by looking.
II. i. 262 (371,1) [Boyet. You are too hard for me] [Theobald did not end Act II here] Mr. Theobald has reason enough to propose this alteration, but he should not have made it in his book without better authority or more need. I have therefore preserved his observation, but continued the former division.
III.i (372,2) [Enter Armado, and Moth.] In the folios the direction is, enter Braggart and Moth, and at the beginning of every speech of Armado stands Brag, both in this and the foregoing scene between him and his boy. The other personages of this play are likewise noted by their characters as often as by their names. All this confusion has been well regulated by the later editors.
III.i.3 (372,3) [Concolinel] Here is apparently a song lost.
III. i. 22 (373,5) [These are complements] Dr. Warburton has here changed complements to ‘complishments, for accomplishments, but unnecessarily.
III. i. 32 (374,8) [but a colt] Colt is a hot, mad-brained, unbroken young fellow; or sometimes an old fellow with youthful desires.
III. i. 62 (375,9) [You are too swift, Sir, to say so] How is he too swift for saying that lead is slow? I fancy we should read, as well to supply the rhyme as the sense,
You are too swift, sir, to say so, so soon Is that lead slow, sir, which is fir’d from a gun?
III. i. 68 (375,1) [By thy favour, sweet welkin] Welkin is the sky, to which Armado, with the false dignity of a Spaniard, makes an apology for sighing in its face.
III. i. 73 (376,3) [no salve in the male, Sir] The old folio reads, no salve in thee male, sir, which, in another folio, is, no salve, in the male, sir. What it can mean is not easily discovered: if mail for a packet or bag was a word then in use, no salve in the mail may mean, no salve in the mountebank’s budget. Or shall we read, no enigma, no riddle, no l’envoy—in the vale, sir—O, sir. plantain. The matter is not great, but one would wish for some meaning or other.
III. i.112 (377,5) [how was there a Costard broken in a shin?] Costard is the name of a species of apple.
III. i.136 (378,7) [my in-cony Jew] [W. jewel] I know not whether it be fit, however specious, to change Jew to jewel. Jew, in our author’s time, was, for whatever reason, apparently a word of endearment. So in Midsummer-Night’s Dream,
Most tender Juvenile, and eke most lovely Jew. (see 1765, II,144,9)
III.i.182 (381,2) [This signior Junto’s giant-dwarf. Don Cupid] Mr. Upton has made a very ingenious conjecture on this passage. He reads,
This signior Julio’s giant-dwarf—
Shakespeare, says he, intended to compliment Julio Romano, who drew Cupid in the character of a giant-dwarf. Dr. Warburton thinks, that by Junio is meant youth in general.
III.i.188 (382,3) [Of trotting paritors] An apparitor, or paritor. is an officer of the bishop’s court who carries out citations; as citations are most frequently issued for fornication, the paritor is put under Cupid’s government.
[And I to be a corporal of his field, And wear his colours! like a tumbler’s hoop!]
The conceit seems to be very forced and remote, however it be understood. The notion is not that the hoop wears colours, but that the colours are worn as a tumbler carries his hoop, hanging on one shoulder and falling under the opposite arm.
III.i.207 (383,5) [Some men must love my lady, and some Joan] To this line Mr. Theobald extends his second act, not injudiciously, but, as was before observed, without sufficient authority.
IV.i.19 (384,6) [Here,—good my glass] To understand how the princess has her glass so ready at hand in a casual conversation, it must be remembered that in those days it was the fashion among the French ladies to wear a looking-glass,’ as Mr. Bayle coarsely represents it, on their bellies; that is, to have a small mirrour set in gold hanging at the girdle, by which they occasionally viewed their faces or adjusted their hair.
IV.i.35 (385,8) [that my heart means no ill] [W: tho’] That my heart means no ill, is the same with to whom my heart means no ill; the common phrase suppresses the particle, as I mean him [not to him] no harm.
IV.i.41 (386,9) [a member of the commonwealth] Here, I believe, is a kind of jest intended; a member of the common-wealth is put for one of the common people, one of the meanest.
[An’ your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit, One o’ these maids girdles for your waist should be fit]
[W: my waste … your wit … my waste] This conjecture is ingenious enough, but not well considered. It is plain that the ladies girdles would not fit the princess. For when she has referred the clown to the thickest and the tallest, he turns immediately to her with the blunt apology, truth is truth; and again tells her,you are the thickest here. If any alteration is to be made, I should propose,
An’ your waist, mistress, were as slender as your wit.
This would point the reply; but perhaps he mentions the slenderness of his own wit to excuse his bluntness.
IV.i.59 (387,3) [Break the neck of the wax] Still alluding to the capon.
IV.i.65 (388,5) [king Cophetua] This story is again alluded to in Henry IV.
Let king Cophetua know the truth thereof.
But of this king and beggar, the story, then doubtless well known, is, I am afraid, lost. Zenelophon has not appearance of a female name, but since I know not the true none, it is idle to guess.
IV.i.99 (389,7) [ere while] Just now; a little while ago. So Raleigh,
Here lies Hobbinol our shepherd, while e’er.
IV.i.108 (390,9) [Come, lords, away] Perhaps the Princess said rather,
—Come, ladies, away.
The rest of the scene deserves no care.
IV.ii (392,2) [Enter Dull, Holofernes, and Sir Nathaniel] I am not of the learned commentator’s [Wurburton] opinion, that the satire of Shakespeare is so seldom personal. It is of the nature of personal invectives to be soon unintelligible; and the authour that gratifies private malice, aniuam in vulnere ponit, destroys the future efficacy of his own writings, and sacrifices the esteem of succeeding times to the laughter of a day. It is no wonder, therefore, that the sarcasms, which, perhaps, in the authour’s time, set the playhouse in a roar, are now lost among general reflections. Yet whether the character of Holofernes was pointed at any particular man, I am, notwithstanding the plausibility of Dr. Warburton’s conjecture, inclined to doubt. Every man adheres as long as he can to his own pre-conceptions. Before I read this note I considered the character of Holofernes as borrowed from the Rhombus of sir Philip Sidney, who, in a kind of pastoral entertainment, exhibited to queen Elizabeth, has introduced a school-master so called, speaking a leash of languages at once, and puzzling himself and his auditors with a jargon like that of Holofernes in the present play. Sidney himself might bring the character from Italy; for, as Peacham observes, the school-master has long been one of the ridiculous personages in the farces of that country.
[And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, Which we taste and feeling are for those parts that do fructify in us, more than he]
Sir T. Hammer reads thus,
And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, For those parts which we taste and feel do fructify in us more than he.
And Mr. Edwards, in his animadversions on Dr. Warburton’s notes, applauds the emendation. I think both the editors mistaken, except that sir T. Hammer found the metre, though he missed the sense. I read, with a slight change,
And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, When we taste and feeling are for those parts that do fructify in us more than he.
That is, such barren plants are exhibited in the creation, to make us thankful when we have more taste and feeling than he, of those parts or qualities which produce fruit in us, and preserve as from being likewise barren plants. Such is the sense, just in itself and pious, but a little clouded by the diction of sir Nathaniel. The length of these lines was no novelty on the English stage. The moralities afford scenes of the like measure. (1773)
[For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool; So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school]
The meaning is, to be in a school would as ill become a patch, or low fellow, as folly would become me.
IV.ii.99 (399,2) [Vinegia. Vinegia, Chi non te vedi, ei non te pregia] [This reading is an emendation by Theobald] The proverb, as I am informed, is this; He that sees Venice little, values it much; he that sees it much, values it little. But I suppose Mr. Theobald is right, for the true proverb would hot serve the speaker’s purpose.
IV.ii.156 (403,6) [colourable colours] That is specious, or fair seeming appearances.
IV.iii.3 (403,7) [I am toiling in a pitch] Alluding to lady Rosaline’s complexion, who is through the whole play represented as a black beauty.
IV.iii.29 (404,8) [The night of dew, that on my cheeks down flows] I cannot think the night of dew the true reading, but know not what to offer.
IV.iii.47 (405,9) [he comes in like a perjure, wearing papers] The punishment of perjury is to wear on the breast a paper expressing the crime.
IV.iii.74 (406,2) [the liver-vein] The liver was anciently supposed to be the seat of love.
IV.iii.110 (408,5) [Air, would I might triumph so!] Perhaps we may better read,
Ah! would I might triumph so!
IV.iii.117 (409,7) [ay true love’s fasting pain] [W: festring] There is no need of any alteration. Fasting is longing, hungry, wanting.
IV.iii.148 (410,8) [How will he triumph, leap, and laugh at it?] [W: geap] To leap is to exult, to skip for joy. It must stand.
IV.iii.166 (410,9) [To see a king transformed to a knot!] Knot has no sense that can suit this place. We may read sot. The rhimes in this play are such, as that sat and sot may be well enough admitted.
IV.iii.180 (412,2) [With men like men] [W: vane-like] This is well imagined, but perhaps the poet may mean, with men like common men.
IV.iii.231 (414,3) [She (an attending star)] Something like this is a stanza of sir Henry Wotton, of which the poetical reader will forgive the insertion.
—Ye stars, the train of night, That poorly satisfy our eyes More by your number than your light: Ye common people of the skies, What are ye when the sun shall rise.
IV.iii.256 (415,6) [And beauty’s crest becomes the heavens well] [W: crete] This emendation cannot be received till its authour can prove that crete is an English word. Besides, crest is here properly opposed to badge. Black, says the King, is the badge of hell, but that which graces the heaven is the crest ofbeauty. Black darkens hell, and is therefore hateful; white adorns heaven, and is therefore lovely.
IV.iii.290 (417,8) [affection’s men at arms] A man at arms, is a soldier armed at all points both offensively and defensively. It is no more than, Ye soldiers of affection.
IV.iii.313 (418,2) [Teaches such beauty as a woman’s eye] i.e. a lady’s eyes gives a fuller notion of beauty than any authour.
IV.iii.321 (418.3) [In leaden contemplation have found out Such fiery numbers] Numbers are, in this passage, nothing more than poetical measures. Could you, says Biron, by solitary contemplation, have attained such poetical fire, such spritely numbers, as have been prompted by the eyes of beauty? The astronomer, by looking too much aloft, falls into a ditch.
[Or for love’s sake, a word, that loves all men; Or for men’s sake, the author of these women; Or women’s sake, by whom we men are men]
Perhaps we might read thus, transposing the lines,
Or for love’s sake, a word that loves all men; For women’s sake, by whom we men are men; Or for men’s sake, the authours of these women.
The antithesis of a word that all men love, and a word which loves all men, though in itself worth little, has much of the spirit of this play.
IV.iii.386 (423,2) [If so, our copper buys no better treasure] Here Mr. Theobald ends the third act.
V.i.3 (423,3) [your reasons at dinner have been sharp and sententious] I know not well what degree of respect Shakespeare intends to obtain for this vicar, but he has here put into his mouth a finished representation of colloquial excellence. It is very difficult to add any thing to this character of the school-master’s table-talk, and perhaps all the precepts of Castiglione will scarcely be found to comprehend a rule for conversation so justly delineated, so widely dilated, and so nicely limited.
It may be proper just to note, that reason here, and in many other places, signifies discourse; and that audacious is used in a good sense for spirited, animated, confident. Opinion is the same with obstinacy or opinionated.
V.i.14 (424,4) [He is too picked] To have the beard piqued or shorn so as to end in a point, was, in our authour’s time, a mark of a traveller affecting foreign fashions: so says the Bastard in K. John, —_I catechise My piqued man of countries.
V.i.29 (425,6) [(Ne intelligis, Domine.) to make frantick, lunatick?] There seems yet something wanting to the integrity of this passage, which Mr. Theobald has in the most corrupt and difficult places very happily restored. For ne intelligis domine, to make frantick, lunatick, I read, (nonne intelligis, domine?) to be mad, frantick, lunatick.
V.i.44 (427,6) [honorificabilitudinitatibus] This word, whencesoever it comes, is often mentioned as the longest word known. (1773)
V.i.110 (429,6) [dally with my excrement] The authour has before called the beard valour’s excrement in the Merchant of Venice.
V.ii.43 (432,5) [‘Ware pencils!] The former editions read,
Sir T. Hammer here rightly restored,
Rosaline, a black beauty, reproaches the fair Catherine for painting.
V.ii.69 (434,9) [None are so surely caught when they are catch’d, As wit turn’d fool] These are observation worthy of a man who has surveyed human nature with the closest attention.
V.ii.87 (434,1) [Saint Dennis to St. Cupid!] The Princess of France invokes, with too much levity, the patron of her country, to oppose his power to that of Cupid.
V.ii.117 (435,2) [spleen ridiculous] is, a ridiculous fit.
V.ii.205 (439,5) [Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars] When queen Elizabeth asked an ambassadour how he liked her ladies, It is hard, said he, to judge of stars in the presence of the sun.
V.ii.235 (440,6) [Since you can cog] To cog signifies to falsify the dice, and to falsify a narrative, or to lye.
V.ii.281 (442,7) [better wits have worn plain statute-caps] This line is not universally understood, because every reader does not know that a statute cap is part of the academical habit. Lady Rosaline declares that her expectation was disappointed by these courtly students, and that better wits might be found in the common places of education. [Gray had offered a different explanation] I think my own interpretation of this passage right. (see 1765, II,197,3)
[Fair ladies, mask’d, are roses in their bud; Dismask’d, their damask sweet commixture shewn, Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown]
[Hammer: angels vailing clouds] [Warburton exercised his sarcasm on this] I know not why Sir T. Hanmer’s explanation should be treated with so much contempt, or why vailing clouds should be capping the sun. Ladies unmask’d, says Boyet, are like angels vailing clouds, or letting those clouds which obscured their brightness, sink from before them. What is there in this absurd or contemptible?
V.ii.309 (444,1) [Exeunt ladies] Mr. Theobald ends the fourth act here.
V.ii.337 (447,4) [—behaviour, what wert thou, ‘Till this mad man shew’d thee? and what art thou now?] [These are two wonderfully fine lines, intimating that what courts call manners, and value themselves so much upon teaching, as a thing no where else to be learnt, is a modest silent accomplishment under the direction of nature and common sense, which does its office in promoting social life without being taken notice of. But that when it degerates into shew and parade, it becomes an unmanly contemptible quality. Warburton.] What is told in this note is undoubtedly true, but is not comprised in the quotation.
V.ii.348 (448,5) [The virtue of your eye must break my oath] I believe the author means that the virtue, in which word goodness and power are both comprised, must dissolve the obligation of the oath. The Princess, in her answer, takes the most invidious part of the ambiguity.
[when we greet With eyes best seeing, heaven’s fiery eye, By light we lose light: your capacity Is of that nature, as to your huge store Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor]
This is a very lofty and elegant compliment.
V.ii.419 (450,7) [Write, Lord have mercy on us, on those three] This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses infected with the plague, to which Biron compares the love of himself and his companions; and pursuing the metaphor finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolorations, by which the infection is known to be received.
V.ii.426 (451,8) [how can this be true, That you stand forfeit, being those that sue?] That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process. The jest lies in the ambiguity of sue, which signifies to prosecute by law, or to offer a petition.
V.ii.440 (451,9) [you force not to forswear] You force not is the same with you make no difficulty. This is a very just observation. The crime which has been once committed, is committed again with less reluctance.
V.ii.471 (452,2) [in will and error. Much upon this it is:—And might not you] I, believe this passage should be read thus,
—in will and error. Boyet. Much upon this it is. Biron. And might not you, &c.
V.ii.490 (453,5) [You cannot beg us] That is, we are not fools, our next relations cannot beg the wardship of our persons and fortunes. One of the legal tests of a natural is to try whether he can number.
[That sport best pleases, that doth least know how. Where zeal strives to content, and the contents Dies in the zeal of that which it presents]
The third line may be read better thus,
—the contents Die in the zeal of him which them presents.
This sentiment of the Princess is very natural, but less generous than that of the Amazonian Queen, who says, on a like occasion, in Midsummer-Night’s Dream,
I love not to see wretchedness o’ercharg’d, Nor duty in his service perishing.
V.ii.547 (455,8) [A bare throw at novum] This passage I do not understand. I fancy that novum should be novem, and that some allusion is intended between the play of nine pins and the play of the nine worthies, but it lies too deep for my investigation.
V.ii.581 (457,2) [A-jax] There is a conceit of Ajax and a jakes.
V.ii.694 (461,4) [more Ates] That is, more instigation. Ate was the mischievous goddess that incited bloodshed.
V.ii.702 (461,5) [my arms] The weapons and armour which he wore in the character of Pompey.
V.ii.744 (463,8) [In the converse of breath] Perhaps converse may, in this line, mean interchange.
V.ii.755 (464,2) [which fain it would convince] We must read,
—which fain would it convince;
that is, the entreaties of love which would fain over-power grief. So Lady Macbeth declares, That she will convince the chamberlain with wine.
V.ii.762 (464,3) [Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief] As it seems not very proper for Biron to court the princess for the king in the king’s presence, at this critical moment, I believe the speech is given to a wrong person. I read thus,
Prin. I understand you not, my griefs are double: Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief. King. And by these badges, &c.
V.ii.779 (465,4) [Suggested us] That is, tempted us.
V.ii.790 (465,5) [As bombast, and as lining to the time] This line is obscure. Bombast was a kind of loose texture not unlike what is now called wadding, used to give the dresses of that time bulk and protruberance, without much increase of weight; whence the same name is given a tumour of words unsupported by solid sentiment. The Princess, therefore, says, that they considered this courtship as but bombast, as something to fill out life, which not being closely united with it, might be thrown away at pleasure.
V.ii.795 (466,7) [We did not quote them so] [We should read, quote, esteem, reckon. Warburton] though our old writers spelling by the ear, probably wrote cote, as it was pronounced. (see 1765, II,218,5)
V.ii.823 (467,8) [To flatter up these powers of mine with rest] Dr. Warburton would read fetter, but flatter or sooth is, in my opinion, more apposite to the king’s purpose than fetter. Perhaps we may read,
To flatter on these hours of time with rest;
That is, I would not deny to live in the hermitage, to make the year of delay pass in quiet.
V.ii.873 (469,2) [dear groans] Dear should here, as in many other places, be dere, sad, odious.
V.ii.904 (470,3) [When daisies pied, and violets blue] The first lines of this song that were transposed, have been replaced by Mr. Theobald.
V.ii.907 (470,5) [Do paint the meadows with delight] [W: much bedight] Much less elegant than the present reading.
(472,7) General Observation. In this play, which all the editors have concurred to censure, and some have rejected as unworthy of him.
A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT’S DREAM
I.i.6 (4,2) [Long withering out a young man’s revenue] [W: wintering] That the common reading is not good English, I cannot perceive, and therefore find in myself no temptation to change it.
I.i.47 (5,6) [To leave the figure, or disfigure it] [W: ‘leve] I know not why so harsh a word should be admitted with so little need, a word that, spoken, could not be understood, and of which no example can be shown. The sense is plain, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.
I.i.68 (6,8) [Know of your youth] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. (1773)
I.i.76 (7,9) [But earthlier happy is the rose distill’d] Thus all the copies, yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happy for happier earthly, a mode of speech so unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have proposed earlier happy.
I.i.110 (8,2) [spotted] As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked. (1773)
I.i.131 (9,3) [Beteem them] give them, bestow upon then. The word is used by Spenser.
I.i.157 (10,8) [I have a widow aunt, a dowager] These lines perhaps might more properly be regulated thus:
I have a widow aunt, a dowager Of great revenue, and she hath no child, And she respects me as her only son; Her house from Athens is remov’d seven leagues, There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee, And to that place—
I.i.169-178 (11,1) [Warburton had reassigned speeches here] This emendation is judicious, but not necessary. I have therefore given the note without altering the text. The censure of men, as oftner perjured than women, seems to make that line more proper for the lady.
I.i.183 (12,3) [Your eyes are lode-stars] This was a complement not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode star is the leading or guiding star, that is, the pole-star. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lode-stone, either became it leads iron, or because it guides the sailor. Milton has the same thought in L’Allegro:
Tow’rs and battlements he sees Bosom’d high in tufted trees, Where perhaps some beauty lies, The Cynosure of neighb’ring eyes.
Davies calls Elizabeth, lode-stone to hearts, and lode-stone to all eyes, (see 1765, 1,97,9)
[Before the time I did Lysander see, Seem’d Athens like a paradise to me]
Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of these lines. Hermia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to consider the power of pleasing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, since Hermia, whom she considers as possessing it in the supreme degree, has found no other effect of it than the loss of happiness.
I.i.232 (15,8) [Things base and vile, holding no quantity] quality seems a word more suitable to the sense than quantity, but either may serve. (1773)
I.i.240 (15,9) [in game] Game here signifies not contentious play, but sport, jest. So Spenser,
‘Twixt earnest and ‘twixt game.
I.ii (16,2) [Enter Quince the carpenter, Snug the joiner. Bottom the weaver. Flute the bellows-mender. Snout the tinker, and Starveling the taylor] In this scene Shakespeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all possibility of distinction. He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thisbe, and the Lyon at the same time.
I.ii.10 (17,4) [grow on to a point] Dr. Warburton read go on; but grow is used, in allusion to his name, Quince. (see 1765, I,100,8)
[Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming. Quin. That’s all one, you shall play it in a masque; and you may speak as small as you will]
This passage shews how the want of women on the old stage was supplied. If they had not a young man who could perform the part with a face that might pass for feminine, the character was acted in a mask, which was at that time part of a lady’s dress so much in use that it did not give any unusual appearance to the scene: and he that could modulate his voice in a female tone might play the women very successfully. It is observed in Downes’s Memoirs of the Playhouse, that one of these counterfeit heroines moved the passions more strongly than the women that have since been brought upon the stage. Some of the catastrophes of the old comedies, which make lovers marry the wrong women, are, by recollection of the common use of masks, brought nearer to probability.
I.ii.98 (20,8) [Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange tawny beard, your purple-in grain beard, or your French crown-coloured beard; your perfect yellow] Here Bottom again discovers a true genius for the stage by his solicitude for propriety of dress, and his deliberation which beard to chuse among many beards, all unnatural.
II.i.2 (21,3) [Over hill, over dale] So Drayton in his Court of Fairy,
Thorough brake, thorough brier. Thorough muck, thorough mire. Thorough water, thorough fire.
II.i.9 (22,4) [To dew her orbs upon the green] For orbs Dr. Gray is inclined to substitute herbs. The orbs here mentioned are the circles supposed to be made by the Fairies on the ground, whose verdure proceeds from the fairy’s care to water them.
They in their courses make that round, In meadows and in marshes found, Of then so called the fairy ground. Drayton.
II.i.10 (22,5) [The cowslips tall her pensioners be] The cowslip was a favourite among the fairies. There is a hint in Drayton of their attention to May morning.
—for the queen a fitting tow’r, Quoth he, is that fair cowslip flow’r.— In all your train there’s not a fay That ever went to gather May, But she hath made it in her way, The tallest there that groweth.
II.i.16 (22,7) [lob of spirits] Lob, lubber, looby, lobcock, all denote both inactivity of body and dulness of mind.
II.i.23 (23,8) [changeling] Changeling is commonly used for the child supposed to be left by the fairies, but here for the child taken away.
II.i.29 (23,9) [sheen] Shining, bright, gay.
II.i.30 (23,1) [But they do square] [To square here is to quarrel. And now you are such fools to square for this? Gray.]
The French word contrecarrer has the same import.
[Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern, And bootless make the breathless huswife churn]
The sense of these lines is confused. Are not you he, says the fairy, that fright the country girls. that skim milk, work in the hand-mill, and make the tired dairy-woman churn without effect? The mention of the mill seem out of place, for she is not now telling the good but the evil that he does. I would regulate the lines thus:
And sometimes make the breathless housewife churn Skim milk, and bootless labour in the quern.
Or by a simple transposition of the lines;
And bootless, make the breathless housewife churn Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern.
Yet there is no necessity of alteration. (see 1765, I,106,1)
II.i.40 (24,6) [Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck, You do their work] To those traditionary opinions Milton has reference in L’Allegro,
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, With stories told of many a feat. How Fairy Mab the junkets eat; She was pinch’d and pull’d she said. And he by Frier’s lapthorp led; Tells how the drudging goblin sweat To earn his cream-bowl duly set, When in one night ere glimpse of morn His shadowy flail had thresh’d the corn Which ten day-labourers could not end. Then lies him down the lubber fiend.
A like account of Puck is given by Drayton,
He meeteth Puck, which most men call Hobgoblin, and on him doth fall.— This Puck seems but a dreaming dolt, Still walking like a ragged colt, And oft out of a bed doth bolt, Of purpose to deceive us; And leading us makes us to stray. Long winter’s nights out of the way. And when we stick in mire and clay. He doth with laughter leave us.
It will be apparent to him that shall compare Drayton’s poem with this play, that either one of the poets copied the other, or, as I rather believe, that there was then some system of the fairy empire generally received, which they both represented as accurately as they could. Whether Drayton or Shakespeare wrote first, I cannot discover.
II.i.42 (25,7) [Puck. Thou speak’st aright] I have filled up the verse which I suppose the author left complete,
It seems that in the Fairy mythology Puck, or Hobgoblin, was the trusty servant of Oberon, and always employed to watch or detect the intrigues of Queen Mab, called by Shakespeare Titania. For in Drayton’s Nynphidia, the same fairies are engaged in the sane business. Mab has an amour with Pigwiggen; Oberon being jealous, sends Hobgoblin to catch them, and one of Mab’s nymphs opposes him by a spell.
II.i.54 (26,8) [And tailor cries] The custom of crying tailor at a sudden fall backwards, I think I remember to have observed. He
that slips beside his chair falls as a taylor squats upon his board. The Oxford editor and Dr. Warburton after him, read and rails or cries, plausibly, but I believe not rightly. Besides, the trick of the fairy is represented as producing rather merriment than anger.
II.i.56 (26,9) [And waxen] And encrease, as the moon waxes.
II.i.58 (26,1) [But room, Faery] All the old copies read—But room Fairy. The word Fairy or Faery, was sometimes of three syllables, as often in Spenser.
II.i.84 (28,5) [paved fountain] A fountain laid round the edge with stone.
II.i.88 (28,6) [the winds, piping] So Milton,
While rocking winds are piping loud.
II.i.91 (28,7) [pelting river] Thus the quarto’s: the folio reads petty.
Shakespeare has in Lear the same word, low pelting farms. The meaning is plainly, despicable, mean, sorry, wretched; but as it is a word without any reasonable etymology, I should be glad to dismiss it for petty, yet it is undoubtedly right. We have petty pelting officer in Measure for Measure.
II.i.92 (28,8) [over-born their continents] Born down the banks that contained then. So in Lear,
Close pent guilts Rive their concealing continents.
II.i.98 (29,1) [The nine-men’s morris] This was some kind of rural game played in a marked ground. But what it was more I have not found.
II.i.100 (29,2) [The human mortals want their winter here] After all the endeavours of the editors, this passage still remains to me unintelligible. I cannot see why winter is, in the general confusion of the year now described, more wanted than any other season. Dr. Warburton observes that he alludes to our practice of singing carols in December; but though Shakespeare is no great chronologer in his dramas, I think he has never so mingled true and false religion, as to give us reason for believing that he would make the moon incensed for the omission of our carols. I therefore imagine him to have meant heathen rites of adoration. This is not all the difficulty. Titania’s account of this calamity is not sufficiently consequential. Men find no winter, therefore they sing no hymns; the moon provoked by this omission, alters the seasons: that is, the alteration of the seasons produces the alteration of the seasons. I am far from supposing that Shakespeare might not sometimes think confusedly, and therefore am not sure that the passage is corrupted. If we should read,
And human mortals want their wonted year,
yet will not this licence of alteration much mend the narrative;
the cause and the effect are still confounded. Let us carry critical temerity a little further. Scaliger transposed the lines of Virgil’s Gallus. Why may not the same experiment be ventured upon Shakespeare.
The human mortals want their wonted year, The seasons alter; hoary-headed frosts Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose; And on old Hyems’ chin, and icy crown, An od’rous chaplet of sweet summer buds Is, as in mock’ry set. The spring, the summer, The chiding autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries; and the ‘mazed world, By their increase, now knows not which is which. No night is now with hymn or carol blest; Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, Pale in her anger, washes all the air; And thorough this distemperature, we see That rheumatick diseases do abound. And this same progeny of evil comes From our debate, from our dissension.
I know not what credit the reader will give to this emendation, which I do not much credit myself.
II.i.114 (31,4) [By their increase] That is, By their produce.
II.i.130 (32,6) [Which she, with pretty and with swimming gate, Following] [cf: follying] The foregoing note is very ingenious, but since follying is a word of which I know not any example, and the Fairy’s favourite might, without much licentiousness of language, be said to follow a ship that sailed in the direction of the coast; I think there is no sufficient reason for adopting it. The coinage of new words is a violent remedy, not to be used but in the last necessity.
II.i.157 (35,8) [Cupid all-arm’d] All-armed, does not signify dressed in panoply, but only enforces the word armed, as we might say all-booted. I am afraid that the general sense of alarmed, by which it is used for put into fear or care by whatever cause, is later than our authour.
II.i.220 (38,4) [For that It is not night when I do see your face] This passage is paraphrased from two lines of an ancient poet,
—Tu nocte vel atra Lumen, et in solis tu mihi turba locis.
(see 1765, I,118,6)
II.i.251 (39,5) [over-canopy’d with the luscious woodbine] All the old editions have,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine.
On the margin of one of my folio’s an unknown hand has written lush woodbine, which, I think, is right.
This hand I have since discovered to be Theobald’s, (see 1765, I,119,4)
II.ii. (41,9) [quaint spirits] For this Dr. Warburton reads against all authority,
But Prospero, in The Tempest, applies quaint to Ariel.
II.ii.30 (42.2) [Be it ounce] The ounce is a snail tiger, or tiger-cat. (1773)
[O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence; Love takes the meaning in love’s conference]
[Warburton wished to transpose “innocence” and “conference”] I am by no means convinced of the necessity of this alteration. Lysander in the language of love professes, that as they have one heart, they shall have one bed; this Hernia thinks rather too much, and intreats him to lye further off. Lysander answers,
O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence.
understand the meaning of my innocence, or my innocent meaning. Let no suspicion of ill enter thy mind.
Love takes the meaning, in love’s conference.
In the conversation of those who are assured of each other’s kindness, not suspicion, but love takes the meaning. No malevolent interpretation is to be made, but all is to be received in the sense which love can find, and which love can dictate.
II.ii.89 (45,6) [my grace] My acceptableness, the favour that I can gain. (1773)
II.ii.120 (46,7) [Reason becomes the marshal to my will] That is, My will now follows reason.
III.i (48,3) In the time of Shakespeare, there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were undoubtedly very unskilful and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance, and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations. Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass’s head.
III.i.110 (52,8) [Through bog, through bush, through brake, through bryer] Here are two syllables wanting. Perhaps, it was written,
Through bog, through mire,———-
III.i.116 (52,9) [to make me afeard]
Afeard is from to fear, by the old form of the language, as an hungred, from to hunger. So adry, for thirsty. (1773)
III.i.117 (52,1) [O Bottom! thou art chang’d! what do I see on thee?] It is plain by Bottom’s answer, that Snout mentioned an ass’s head. Therefore we should read,
Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee? An ass’s head?
III.i.141 (53,3) [Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note,]
So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape; And thy fair virtue’s force
(perforce) [doth move me, On the first view to say, to swear I love thee]
These lines are in one quarto of 1600, the first folio of 1623, the second of 1632, and the third of 1664, &c. ranged in the following order:
Mine ear is much enamour’d of thy note. On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee; So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape, And thy fair virtue’s force (perforce) [doth move me.
This reading I have inserted, not that it can suggest any thing better than the order to which the lines have been restored by Mr. Theobald from another quarto, but to shew that some liberty of conjecture must be allowed in the revisal of works so inaccurately printed, and so long neglected.
III.i.173 (55,6) [the fiery glow-worm’s eyes] I know not how Shakespeare,who commonly derived his knowledge of nature from his own observation, happened to place the glow-worm’s light in his eyes, which is only in his tail.
III.ii.9 (56,l) [patches] Patch was in old language used as a term of opprobry; perhaps with much the some import as we use raggamuffin, or tatterdemalion.
III.ii.17 (56,2) [nowl] A head. Saxon.
III.ii.19 (57,4) [minnock] This is the reading of the old quarto, and I believe right, Minnekin, now minx, is a nice trifling girl. Minnock is apparently a word of contempt.
III.ii.21 (57,5) [sort] Company. So above,
—that barren sort;
and in Waller,
A sort of lusty shepherds strive.
III.ii.25 (57,6) [And, at our stamp] This seems to be a vicious reading. Fairies are never represented stamping, or of a size that should give force to a stamp, nor could they have distinguished the stamps of Puck from those of their own companions. I read,
And at a stump here o’er and o’er one falls.
A pain he in his head-piece feels, Against a stubbed tree he reels, And up went poor hobgoblin’s heels; Alas, his brain was dizzy.—— At length upon his feet he gets, Hobgoblin fumes, Hobgoblin frets, And as again he forward sets, And through the bushes scrambles, A stump doth trip him in his pace, Down fell poor Hob upon his face, Among the briers and brambles.
III.ii.30 (58,7) [Some, sleeves; some, hats] There is the like image in Drayton of queen Mab and her fairies flying from Hobgoblin.
Some tore a ruff, and some a gown, ‘Gainat one another jostling; They flew about like chaff i’ th’ wind, For haste some left their masks behind, Some could not stay their gloves to find, There never was such bustling.
III.ii.48 (58,l) [Being o’er shoes in blood] An allusion to the proverb, Over shoes, over boots.
III.ii.70 (59,3) [O brave touch!] Touch in Shakespeare’s time was the same with our exploit, or rather stroke. A brave touch, a noble stroke, un grand coup. Mason was very merry, pleasantly playing both with the shrewd touches of many curst boys, and the small discretion of many lewd schoolmasters. Ascham.
III.ii.74 (60,4) [mispris’d] Mistaken; so below misprision is mistake.
III.ii.141 (62,5) [Taurus’ snow] Taurus is the name of a range of mountains in Asia.
III.ii.144 (62,7) [seal of bliss!] Be has elsewhere the same image,
But my kisses bring again Seals of love, but seal’d in vain, (rev. 1778, III,74,4)
III.ii.150 (62,8) [join in souls] This is surely wrong. We may read, Join in scorns, or join in scoffs. [Tyrwhitt: join, ill souls] This is a very reasonable conjecture, though I think it is hardly right. (1773)
III.ii.160 (63,9) [extort A poor soul’s patience] Harrass, torment.
III.ii.171 (63,1) [My heart with her] We should read,
My heart with her but as guest-wise sojourn’d.
No matter what beauties I saw in my way, They were but my visits, but then not my home. (rev. 1778, III,76,9)
III.ii.188 (64,2) [all yon fiery O’s] I would willingly believe that the poet wrote fiery orbs.
III.ii.194 (64,3) [in spight to me] I read, in spite to me.
III.ii.242 (66,2) [such an argument] Such a subject of light merriment.
III.ii.352 (71,1) [so sort] So happen in the issue.
III.ii.367 (71,2) [virtuous property] Salutiferous. So be calls, in the Tempest, poisonous dew, wicked dew.
III.ii.426 (74,5) [buy this dear] i.e. thou shalt dearly pay for this. Though this is sense, and may well enough stand, yet the poet perhaps wrote thou shalt ‘by it dear. So in another place, thou shalt aby it. So Milton, How dearly I abide that boust so vain.
IV.i (75,6) I see no reason why the fourth act should begin here, when there seems no interruption of the action. In the old quartos of 1600, there is no division of acts, which seems to have been afterwards arbitrarily made in the first folio, and may therefore be altered at pleasure, (see 1765, I,149,5)
IV.i.2 (75,7) [do coy] To coy is to sooth. Skinner, (rev. 1778, III, 89,6)
IV.i.45 (77,2) [So doth the woodbine, the sweet honey-suckle, Gently entwist] Mr. Upton reads,
So doth the woodrine the sweet honey-suckle,
for bark of the wood. Shakespeare perhaps only meant so, the leaves involve the flower, using woodbine for the plant and honeysuckle for the flower; or perhaps Shakespeare made a blunder, (rev. 1778, III,91,2)
IV.i.107 (81,9) [our observation is perform’d] The honours due to the morning of May. I know not why Shakespear calls this play a Midsummer- Night’s Dream, when he so carefully informs us that it happened on the night preceding May day.
IV.i.123 (81,4) [so sanded] So marked with small spots.
IV.i.166 (83,6) [Fair Helena in fancy following me] Fancy is here taken for love or affection, and is opposed to fury, as before.
Sighs and tears poor Fancy’s follovers.
Some now call that which a man takes particular delight in his Fancy. Flower-fancier, for a florist, and bird-fancier, for a lover and feeder of birds, are colloquial words.
IV.i.194 (84,6) [And I have found Demetrius like a jewel] [W: gewell] This emendation is ingenious enough to deserve to be true.
IV.i.213 (85,8) [patch’d fool] That is, a fool in a particolour’d coat.
IV.ii.14 (86,2) [a thing of nought] which Mr. Theobald changes with great pomp to a thing of naught, is, a good for nothing thing.
IV.ii.18 (86,3) [made men] In the same sense us in the Tempest, any monster in England makes a man.
[More strange than true. I never may believe These antique fables, nor these fairy toys]
These beautiful lines are in all the old editions thrown out of metre. They are very well restored by the later editors.
V.i.26 (89,5) [constancy] Consistency; stability; certainty.
V.i.79 (92,4) [Unless you can find sport in their intents] Thus all the copies. But as I know not what it is to stretch and con an intent, I suspect a line to be lost.
[And what poor duty cannot do, Noble respect takes it in might, not merit.]
The sense of this passage, as it now stands, if it has any sense, is this: What the inability of duty cannot perform, regardful generosity receives as an act of ability, though not of merit. The contrary is rather true: What dutifulness tries to perform without ability, regardful generosity receives as having the merit, though not the power, of complete performance.
We should therefore read,
And what poor duty cannot do, Noble respect takes not in might, but merit.
V.i.147 (95,4) [Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade] Mr. Upton rightly observes, that Shakespeare in this line ridicules the affectation of beginning many words with the same letter. He night have remarked the same of
The raging rocks and shivering shocks.
Gascoigne, contemporary with our poet, remarks and blames the same affectation.
V.i.199 (97,6) [And like Limander am I trusty still] Limander and Helen, are spoken by the blundering player, for Leander and Hero. Shafalus and Procrus, for Cephalus and Procris.
V.i.254 (99,1) [in snuff] An equivocation. Snuff signifies both the cinder of a caudle, and hasty anger.
V.i.379 (104,2) [And the wolf beholds the moon] [W: behowls] The alteration is better than the original reading; but perhaps the author meant only to say, that the wolf gazes at the moon, (see 1765, I,173,2)
[I am sent, with broom, before, To sweep the dust behind the door]
Cleanliness is always necessary to invite the residence and the favour of Fairies.
These make our girls their slutt’ry rue, By pinching them both black and blue. And put a penny in their shoe The house for cleanly sweeping. Drayton.
V.i.398 (105,5) [Through this house give glimmering light] Milton perhaps had this picture in his thought:
Glowing cabers through the room Teach light to counterfeit a gloom. Il Penseroso.
Hence shadows seeming idle shapes Of little frisking elves and apes, To earth do make their wanton ‘scapes As hope of pastime hastes them.
I think it should be read,
Through this house in glimmering light.
V.i.408 (106,6) [Now, until the break of day] This speech, which both the old quartos give to Oberon, is in the edition of 1623, and in all the following, printed as the song. I have restored it to Oberon, as it apparently contains not the blessing which he intends to bestow on the bed, but his declaration that he will bless it, and his orders to the fairies how to perform the necessary rites. But where then is the song?—I am afraid it is gone after many other things of greater value. The truth is that two songs are lost. The series of the scene is this; after the speech of Puck, Oberon enters, and calls his fairies to a song, which song is apparently wanting in all the copies. Next Titania leads another song, which is indeed lost like the former, tho’ the editors have endeavoured to find it. Then Oberon dismisses his fairies to the dispatch of the ceremonies.
The songs, I suppose, were lost, because they were not inserted in the players parts, from which the drama was printed.
V.i.440 (107,8) [Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue] That is, If we be dismiss’d without hisses.
V.i.444 (107,9) [Give me your hands] That is, Clap your hands. Give us your applause.
(107,8) General Observation. Of this play there are two editions in quarto; one printed for Thomas Fisher, the other for James Roberts, both in 1600. I have used the copy of Roberts, very carefully collated, as it seems, with that of Fisher. Neither of the editions approach to exactness. Fisher is sometimes preferable, but Roberts was followed, though not without some variations, by Hemings and Condel, and they by all the folios that succeeded them.
Wild and fantastical as this play is, all the parts in their various modes are well written, and give the kind of pleasure which the author designed. Fairies in his time were much in fashion; common tradition had made them familiar, and Spenser’s poem had made them great.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
I.i.9 (112,2) [Argosies] [a ship from Argo. Pope.] Whether it be derived from Argo I am in doubt. It was a name given in our author’s time to ships of great burthen, probably galleons, such as the Spaniards now use in their East India trade. [An Argosie meant originally a ship from Ragusa, a city and territory on the gulph of Venice, tributary to the Porte. Steevens.]
I.i.18 (112,3) [Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind] By holding up the grass, or any light body that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found.
This way I used in shooting. Betwixt the markes was an open place, there I take a fethere, or a lytle grasse, and so learned
how the wind stood. Ascham.
I.i.27 (113,5) [And see my wealthy Andrew dock’d in sand] The name of the ship.
I.i.113 (116,3) [Is that any thing now?] All the old copies read, is that any thing now? I suppose we should read, is that any thing new?
I.i.146 (117,4) [like a wilful youth] [W: witless] Dr. Warburton confounds the time past and present. He has formerly lost his money like a wilful youth, he now borrows more in pure innocence, without disguising his former fault, or his present designs.
I.ii.44 (120,6) [Ay, that’s a colt, indeed] Colt is used for a witless, heady, gay youngster, whence the phrase used of an old man too juvenile, that he still retains his colt’s tooth. See Hen. VIII.
I.ii.49 (120,7) [there is the Count Palatine] I am always inclined to believe, that Shakespeare has more allusions to particular facts and persons than his readers commonly suppose. The count here mentioned was, perhaps, Albertus a Lasco, a Polish Palatine, who visited England in our author’s time, was eagerly caressed, and splendidly entertained; but running in debt, at last stole away, and endeavoured to repair his fortune by enchantment.
I.ii.90 (122,3) [How like you the young German] In Shakespeare’s time the duke of Bavaria visited London, and was made knight of the garter.
Perhaps in this enumeration of Portia’s suitors, there may be some covert allusion to those of Queen Elizabeth.
I.iii.47 (125,4) [catch him once upon the hip] A phrase taken from the practice of wrestlers.
I.iii.63 (126,5) [the ripe wants of my friend] Ripe wants are wants come to the height, wants that can have no longer delay. Perhaps we might read, rife wants, wants that come thick upon him.
[ An evil soul, producing holy witness, Is like a villain with a smiling cheek; A goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falshood hath?]
I wish any copy would give the authority to range and read the lines thus:
O, what a godly outside falshood hath! An evil soul producing holy witness, Is like a villain with a sailing cheek; Or goodly apply rotten at the heart.
Yet there is no difficulty in the present reading. Falsehood, which as truth means honesty, is taken here for treachery and knavery, does not stand for falshood in general, but for the dishonesty now operating. (1773)
I.iii.156 (129,8) [dwell in my necessity] To dwell seems in this place to mean the same as to continue. To abide has both the senses of habitation and continuance.
I.iii.176 (130,9) [left in the fearful guard] [W: fearless] Dr. Warburton has forgotten that fearful is not only that which fears, but that which is feared or causes fear. Fearful guard, is a guard that is not to be trusted, but gives cause of fear. To fear was anciently to give as well as feel terrours. (see 1765, I,402,4)
I.iii.180 (130,1) [I like not fair terms] Kind words, good language.
II.i.7 (131,2) [To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine] To understand how the tawney prince, whose savage dignity is very well supported, means to recommend himself by this challenge, it must be remembered that red blood is a traditionary sign of courage: Thus Macbeth calls one of his frighted soldiers, alilly liver’d Lown; again in this play, Cowards are said to have livers as white as milk; and an effeminate and timorous man is termed a milksop.
II.i.18 (132,4) [And hedg’d me by his will] I suppose we may safely read, and hedg’d me by his will. Confined me by his will.
II.i.25 (132,5) [That slew the Sophy] Shakespeare seldom escapes well when he is entangled with geography. The prince of Morocco must have travelled far to kill the Sophy of Persia.
II.i.42 (133,7) [Therefore be advis’d] Therefore be not precipitant; consider well what we are to do. Advis’d is the word opposite to rash.
II.ii.38 (134,8) [try conclusions]—So the old quarto. The first folio, by a mere blunder, reads, try confusions, which, because it makes a kind of paltry jest, has been copied by all the editors.
II.ii.91 (136,1) [your child that shall be] The distinction between boy and son is obvious, but child seems to have some meaning, which is now lost.
II.ii.166 (138,3) [Well, if any man in Italy have a fairer table, which doth suffer to swear upon a book] Mr. Theobald’s note is as obscure as the passage. It may be read more than once before the complication of ignorance can be completely disentangled. Table is the palm expanded. What Mr. Theobald conceives it to be cannot easily be discovered, but he thinks it somewhat that promises a full belly.
Dr. Warburton understood the word, but puzzles himself with no great success in the pursuit of the meaning. The whole matter is this: Launcelot congratulates himself upon his dexterity and good fortune, and, in the height of his rapture, inspects his hand, and congratulates himself upon the felicities in his table. The act of expounding his hand puts him in mind of the action in which the palm is shewn, by raising it to lay it on the book, in judicial attestations. Well, says he, if any man in Italy have a fairer table, that doth offer to swear upon a book——Here he stops with an abruptness very common, and proceeds to particulars.
II.ii.194 (140,5) [Something too liberal] Liberal I have already shewn to be mean, gross, coarse, licentious.
II.ii.205 (141,9) [sad ostent] Grave appearance; shew of staid and serious behaviour.
II.vi.5 (146,1) [O, ten times faster Venus’ pigeons fly] [W: widgeons] I believe the poet wrote as the editors have printed. How it is so very high humour to call lovers widgeons rather than pigeons. I cannot find. Lovers have in poetry been alway called Turtles, or Doves, which in lower language may be pigeons.
II.vi.51 (148,3) [a Gentile, and no Jew] A jest rising from the ambiguity of Gentile, which signifies both a Heathen, and one well born.
II.vii.8 (149,4) [This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt] That is, as gross as the dull metal.
II.vii.69 (151,5) [Gilded tombs do worms infold] In all the old editions this line is written thus:
Gilded timber do worms infold.
From which Mr. Rowe and all the following editors have made
Gilded wood may worms infold.
A line not bad in itself, but not so applicable to the occasion as that which, I believe, Shakespeare wrote,
Gilded tombs do worms infold.
A tomb is the proper repository of a death’s-head.
II.vii.72 (151,6) [Your answer had not been inscrol’d] Since there is an answer inscrol’d or written in every casket, I believe for your we should read this. When the words were written y’r and y’s, the mistake was easy.
II.vii.79 (151,7) [chuse ce so] The old quarto edition of 1600 has no distribution of acts, but proceeds from the beginning to the end in an unbroken tenour. This play therefore having been probably divided without authority by the publishers of the first folio, lies open to a new regulation, if any more commodious division can be proposed. The story is itself so wildly incredible, and the changes of the scene so frequent and capricious, that the probability of action does not deserve much care; yet it may be proper to observe, that, by concluding the second act here, time is given for Bassanio’s passage to Belmont.
II.viii.42 (153,8) [Let it not enter in your mind of love] So all the copies, but I suspect some corruption.
II.viii.52 (153,9) [embraced heaviness] [W: enraced] Of Dr. Warburton’s correction it is only necessary to observe, that it has produced a new word, which cannot be received without necessity.
When I thought the passage corrupted, it seemed to me not improbable that Shakespeare had written entranced heaviness, musing, abstracted, moping melancholy. But I know not why any great efforts should be made to change a word which has no uncommodious or unusual sense. We say of a man now, that he hugs his sorrows, and why might not Anthonio embrace heaviness.
II.ix.46 (155,2) [How much low peasantry would then be gleaned From the true seed of honour?] The meaning is, How much meanness would be found among the great, and how much greatness among the mean. But since men are always said to glean corn though they may pick chaff, the sentence had been more agreeable to the common manner of speech if it had been written thus,
_How much low peasantry would then be pick’d From the true seed of_honour? how much honour Glean’d from the chaff?_
II.ix.70 (157,4) [Take what wife you will to-bed] Perhaps the poet had forgotten that he who missed Portia was never to marry any woman.
III.i.47 (160,7) [a bankrupt, a prodigal] There is no need of alteration. There could be, in Shylock’s opinion, no prodigality more culpable than such liberality as that by which a man exposes himself to ruin for his friend.
III.ii.21 (163,9) [And so though yours, not yours.—Prove it so] It may be more grammatically read,
And so though yours I’m not yours.
III.ii.54 (165,2) [With no less presence] With the same dignity of mien.
III.ii.73 (166,5) [So may the outward shows] He begins abruptly, the first part of the argument has passed in his mind.
III.ii.76 (166,6) [gracious voice] Pleasing; winning favour.
III.ii.112 (167,9) [In measure rain thy joy] The first quarto edition reads,
In measure range thy joy.
The folio and one of the quartos,
In measure raine thy joy.
I once believ’d Shakespeare meant,
In measure rein thy joy.
The words rain and rein were not in these times distinguished by regular orthography. There is no difficulty in the present reading, only where the copies vary some suspicion of error is always raised, (see 1765, I,437,1)
III.ii.125 (168,1) [Methinks, it should have power to steal both his, And leave itself unfurnish’d] I know not how unfinish’d has intruded without notice into the later editions, as the quartos and folio have unfurnished, which Sir Tho. Banner has received. Perhaps it
And leave himself unfurnish’d.
III.ii.191 (170,4) [you can wish none from me] That is, none away from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it.
III.v.70 (182,5) [how his words are suited!] I believe the meaning is: What a series or suite of words he has independent of meaning; how one word draws on another without relation to the matter.
IV,i.21 (184,6) [apparent] That is, seeming; not real.
IV.i.22 (184,7) [where] for whereas.
IV.i.29 (184,8) [Enough to press a royal merchant down] This epithet was in our poet’s time more striking and better understood, because Gresham was then commonly dignified with the title of the royal merchant.
IV.i.42 (185,1) [I’ll not answer that; But, say, it is my humour] [Cf: By saying] Dr. Warburton has mistaken the sense. The Jew being asked a question which the law does not require him to answer, stands upon his right, and refuses; but afterwards gratifies his own malignity by such answers as he knows will aggravate the pain of the enquirer. I will not answer, says he, as to a legal or serious question, but since you want an answer, will this serve you?
IV.i.56 (187,4) [For affection, Masters of passion, sway it to the mood Of what it likes, or loaths]
As for affection, those that know how to operate upon the passions of men, rule it by making it operate in obedience to the notes which please or disgust it. (1773)
[Woollen bag pipe] As all the editors agree with complete uniformity in this reading, I can hardly forbear to imagine that they understood it. But I never saw a woollen bag-pipe, nor can well conceive it. I suppose the authour wrote wooden bag-pipe, meaning that the bag was of leather, and the pipe of wood.
IV.i.90 (189,5) [many a purchas’d slave] This argument considered as used to the particular persons, seems conclusive. I see not how Venetians or Englishmen, while they practise the purchase and sale of slaves, can much enforce or demand the law of doing to others as we would that they should do to us.
IV.i.105 (189,6) [Bellario, a learned doctor, Whom I have sent for] The doctor and the court are here somewhat unskilfully brought together. That the duke would, on such an occasion, consult a doctor of great reputation, is not unlikely, but how should this be forknown by Portia?
IV.i.214 (193,8) [malice bears down truth] Malice oppresses honesty, a true man in old language is an honest man. We now call the
jury good men and true.
IV.i.382 (198,8) [I am content] The terms proposed have been misunderstood. Antonio declares, that as the duke quits one half of the forfeiture, he is likewise content to abate his claim, and desires not the property but the use or produce only of the half, and that only for the Jew’s life, unless we read, as perhaps is right, upon my death.
V.i.63 (204,3) [Such harmony is in immortal souls] [W: sounds] This passage is obscure. Immortal sounds is a harsh combination of words, yet Milton uses a parallel expression:
Spiritus & rapidos qui circinat igneus orbes, Nunc quoque sidereis intercinit ipse choreia Immortale melos, & inenarrabile curmen.
It is proper to exhibit the lines as they stand in the copies of the first, second, third, and fourth editions, without any variation, for a change has been silently made, by Rowe, and adopted by all the succeeding editors.
Such harmony is in immortal souls, But while this muddy vesture of decay Doth grosly close in it, we cannot hear it.
That the third is corrupt must be allowed, but it gives reason to suspect that the original was,
Doth grosly close it in.
Yet I know not whether from this any thing better can be produced than the received reading. Perhaps harmony is the power of perceiving harmony, as afterwards, Musick in the soul is the quality of being moved with concord of sweet sounds. This will somewhat explain the old copies, but the sentence is still imperfect; which might be completed by reading,
Such harmony is in th’ immortal soul, But while this muddy vesture of decay Doth grosly close it in, we cannot hear it. (1773)
V.i.66 (205,4) [wake Diana with a hymn] Diana is the moon, who is in the next scene represented as sleeping.
V.i.99 (207,6) [Nothing is good, I see, without respect] Not absolutely good, but relatively, good as it is modified by circumstances.
V.i.129 (208,7) [Let me give light] There is scarcely any word with which Shakespeare delights to trifle as with light, in its various significations.
[What man is there so much unreasonable, If you had pleas’d to have defended it With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty To urge the thing held as a ceremony?]
This is a very licentious expression. The sense is, What man could have so little modesty or wanted modesty so much, as to urge the demand of a thing kept on an account in some sort religious. (see 1785, 1,476,7)
V.i.249 (212,4) [I once did lend my body for his wealth] For his advantage; to obtain his happiness. Wealth was, at that time, the term opposite to adversity, or calamity.
V.i.294 (213,5) [Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way Of starved people] [Shakespeare is not more exact in any thing, than in adapting his images with propriety to his speakers; of which he has here given an instance in making the young Jewess call good fortune, manna. Warburton.] The commentator should have remarked, that this speech is not, even in his own edition, the speech of the Jewess.
V.i.307 (214,6) [Exeunt omnes] It has been lately discovered, that this fable is taken from a story in the Pecorope of Ser Giovauni Fiorentino, a novellist, who wrote in 1378. The story has been published in English, and I have epitomised the translation. The translator is of opinion, that the choice of the caskets is borrowed from a tale of Boccace, which I have likewise abridged, though I believe that Shakespeare must have had some other novel in view.
(223) General Observation. Of The MERCHANT of VENICE the stile is even and easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction. The comick part raises laughter, and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critick will find excelled by this play.
AS YOU LIKE IT
I.i.3 (229,2) [As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me. By will, but a poor thousand crowns] There is, in my opinion, nothing but a point misplaced, and an omission of a word which every hearer can supply, and which therefore an abrupt and eager dialogue naturally excludes.
I read thus: As I remember, Adam, it was on this fashion bequeathed me. By will but a poor thousand crowns; and, as thou sayest, charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well. What is there in this difficult or obscure? The nominative my father is certainly left out, but so left out that the auditor inserts it, in spite of himself.
I.i.9 (230,3) [stays me here at home, unkept] [W: Stys] Sties is better than stays, and more likely to be Shakespeare’s.
I.i.19 (230,4) [his countenance seems to take from me] [W: discountenance] There is no need of change, a countenance is either good or bad.
I.i.33 (231,5) [be better employ’d, and be nought a while] Warburton explained [“be nought a while” as “a mischief on you”] If be nought a while has the signification here given it, the reading may certainly stand; but till I learned its meaning from this note, I read,
Be better employed, and be naught a while.
In the same sense as we say, it is better to do mischief, than to do nothing.
I.i.59 (233,7) [I am no villain] The word villain is used by the elder brother, in its present meaning, for a worthless, wicked, or bloody man; by Orlando in its original signification, for a fellow of base extraction.
I.ii.34 (237,9) [mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel] The wheel of Fortune is not the wheel of a housewife. Shakespeare has confounded Fortune, whose wheel only figures uncertainty and vicissitude, with the Destiny that spins the thread of life, though indeed not with a wheel.
[Clo. One, that old Frederick your father loves. Cel. My father’s love is enough to honour him]
[T. invoking the Dramatis Personae: Celia] Mr. Theobald seems not to know that the Dramatis Personae were first enumerated by Rowe.
I.ii.95 (239,2) [since the little wit that fools have, was silenc’d] Shakespeare probably alludes to the use of fools or jesters, who for some ages had been allowed in all courts an unbridled liberty of censure and mockery, and about this time began to be less tolerated.
I.ii.112 (240,3) [laid on with a trowel] I suppose the meaning is, that there is too heavy a mass of big words laid upon a slight subject.
I.ii.115 (240,4) [You amaze me, ladies] To amaze, here, is not to astonish or strike with wonder, but to perplex; to confuse; as, to put out of the intended narrative.
I.ii.131 (241,5) [With bills on their necks: Be it known unto all men by these presents] This conjecture is ingenious. Where meaning is so very thin, as in this vein of jocularity, it is hard to catch, and therefore I know not well what to determine; but I cannot see why Rosalind should suppose, that the competitors in a wrestling match carried bills on their shoulders, and I believe the whole conceit is in the poor resemblance of presence and presents.
I.ii.149 (241,6) [is there any else longs to see this broken musick in his sides?] [W: set] If any change were necessary, I should write, feel this broken musick, for see. But see is the colloquial term for perception or experiment. So we say every day, see if the water be hot; I will see which is the best time; she has tried, and sees that she cannot lift it. In this sense see may be here used. The sufferer can, with no propriety, be said to set the musick; neither is the allusion to the act of tuning an instrument, or pricking a tune, one of which must be meant by setting musick. Rosalind hints at a whimsical similitude between the series of ribs gradually shortening, and some musical instruments, and therefore calls broken ribs, broken musick.
I.ii.185 (243,8) [If you saw yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment] [W: our eyes, and our judgment] I cannot find the absurdity of the present reading. If you were not blinded and intoxicated, says the princess, with the spirit of enterprise, if you could use your own eyes to see, or your own judgment to know yourself, the fear of your adventure would counsel you.
I.ii.195 (243,9) [I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts, wherein I confess me much guilty] I should wish to read, I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts. Therein I confess myself much guilty to deny so fair and excellent ladies any thing.
I.ii.257 (246,1) [one out of suits with Fortune] This seems an allusion to cards, where he that has no more cards to play of any particular sort is out of suit.
I.ii.275 (247,3) [the Duke’s condition] The word condition means character, temper, disposition. So Anthonio the merchant of Venice, is called by his friend the best conditioned man.
I.iii.33 (249,5) [you should love his son dearly? By this kind of chase, I should hate him, for my father hated his father dearly] That is, by this way of following the argument. Dear is used by Shakespeare in a double sense, for beloved, and for hurtful, hated, baleful. Both senses are authorised, and both drawn from etymology, but properly beloved is dear, and hateful is dere. Rosalind uses dearly in the good, and Celia in the bad sense.
I.iii.83 (251,6) [And thou wilt show more bright, and seem more virtuous] [W: shine] The plain meaning of the old and true reading is, that when she was seen alone, she would be more noted.
I.iii.98 (251,7) [Rosalind lacks then the love Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one][W: which teacheth me] Either reading may stand. The sense of the established text is not remote or obscure. Where would be the absurdity of saying, You know not the law which teaches you to do right.
I.iii.119 (252,9) [curtle-ax]—curtle-axe. or cutlace. a broad sword.
[Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous Wears yet a precious jewel in his head]
It was the current opinion in Shakespeare’s time, that in the head of an old toad was to be found a stone, or pearl, to which great virtues were ascribed. This stone has been often sought, but nothing has been found more than accidental or perhaps morbid indurations of the skull.
II.i.18 (254,4) [I would not change it] Mr. Upton, not without probability, gives these words to the Duke, and makes Amiens begin, Happy is your grace.
II.i.67 (256,6) [to cope him] To encounter him; to engage with him.
II.iii.8 (257,8) [The bony priser] So Milton, Giants of mighty bone.
II.iii.37 (258,9) [diverted blood] Blood turned out of the course of nature.
[promotion; And, having that, do choak their service up Even with the having]
Even with the promotion gained by service is service extinguished.
II.iv.33 (261,4) [If thou remember’st not the slightest folly] I am inclined to believe that from this passage Suckling took the hint of his song.
Honest lover, whosoever, If in all thy love there ever Were one wav’ring thought, thy flame Were not even, still the same. Know this Thou lov’st amiss, And to love true Thou must begin again and love anew, &c. (rev. 1778, III,297,4)
II.iv.48 (262,5) [batlet] The instrument with which washers beat their coarse cloaths.
II.iv.51 (262,6) [two cods] For cods it would be more like sense to read peas, which having the shape of pearls, resembled the common presents of lovers.
II.iv.55 (262,7) [so is all nature in love, mortal in folly] This expression I do not well understand. In the middle counties, mortal, from mort, a great quantity, is used as a particle of amplification; as mortal tall, mortal little. Of this sense I believe Shakespeare takes advantage to produce one of his darling equivocations. Thus the meaning will be, so is all nature in love abounding in folly.
II.iv.87 (263,8) [And in my voice most welcome shall ye be] In my voice, as far as I have a voice or vote, as far as I have power to bid you welcome.
II.v.56 (265,2) [Duc ad me] For ducdame sir T. Hammer, very acutely and judiciously, reads duc ad me. That is, bring him to me.
II.v.63 (266,3) [the first-born of Egypt] A proverbial expression for high-born persons. (1773)
II.vii.13 (267,4) [A motley fool!—a miserable world.’] [W: miserable varlet] I see no need of changing fool to varlet, nor, if a change were necessary, can I guess how it should certainly be known that varlet is the true word. A miserable world is a parenthetical exclamation, frequent among melancholy men, and natural to Jaques at the sight of a fool, or at the hearing of reflections on the fragility of life.
II.vii.44 (268,5) [only suit] Suit means petition. I believe, not dress.
[If not, The wise man’s folly is anatomiz’d Even by the squandring glances of the fool]
Unless men have the prudence not to appear touched with the sarcasm of a jester, they subject themselves to his power, and the wise man will have his folly anatomised, that is dissected and laid open by the squandring glances or random shots of a fool.
II.vii.66 (269,8) [As sensual as the brutish sting] Though the brutish sting is capable of a sense not inconvenient in this passage, yet as it is a harsh and unusual mode of speech, I should read the brutish sty.
[The thorny point Of bare distress hath ta’en from me the shew Of smooth civility]
We might read torn with more elegance, but elegance alone will not justify alteration.
II.vii.125 (271,1) [And take upon command what help we have] It seems necessary to read, then take upon demand what help, &c. that is, ask for what we can supply, and have it.
II.vii.156 (272,3) [Full of wise saws and modern instances] I am in doubt whether modern is in this place used for absurd; the meaning seems to be, that the justice is full of old sayings and late examples.
II.vii.167 (273,5) [Set down your venerable burden] Is it not likely that Shakespeare had in his mind this line of the Metamorphoses?
—Patremque Fert humeris, venerabile onus Cythereius heros.
[Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen]
[W: art not sheen] I am afraid that no reader is satisfied with Dr. Warburton’s emendation, however vigorously enforced; and it is indeed enforced with more art than truth. Sheen, i.e. smiling, shining. That sheen signifies shining, is easily proved, but when or where did it signify smiling? yet smiling gives the sense necessary in this place. Sir T. Banner’s change is less uncouth, but too remote from the present text. For my part, I question whether the original line is not lost, and this substituted merely to fill up the measures and the rhyme. Yet even out of this line, by strong agitation may sense be elicited, and sense not unsuitable to the occasion. Thou winter wind, says the Duke, thy rudeness gives the less pain, as thou art not seen, as thou art an enemy that dost not brave us with thy presence, and whose unkindness is therefore not aggravated by insult.
II.vii.187 (275,6) [Tho’ thou the waters warp] To warp was probably, in Shakespeare’s time, a colloquial word, which conveyed no distant allusion to any thing else, physical or medicinal. To warp is to turn, and to turn is to change; when milk is changed by curdling, we now say, it is turned; when water ischanged or turned by frost, Shakespeare says, it is curdled. To be warp’d is only to be changed from its natural state. (1773)
III.i.3 (276,7) [an absent argument] An argument is used for the contents of a book, thence Shakespeare considered it as meaning the subject, and then used it for subject in yet another sense.
III.i.18 (277,8) [Do this expediently] That is, expeditiously.
III.ii.2 (277,9) [thrice-crowned queen of night] Alluding to the triple character of Proserpine, Cynthia, and Diana, given by some mythologists to the same Goddess, and comprised in these memorial lines:
Terret, lustrat, agit, Proserpina, Luna, Diana, Ima, superna, feras, sceptro, fuljore, sagittis.
III.ii.10 (277,1) [unexpressive] for inexpressible.
III.ii.31 (278,2) [complain of good breeding] I am in doubt whether the custom of the language in Shakespeare’s time did not authorise this mode of speech, and make complain of good breeding the same with complain of the want of good breeding. In the last line of the Merchant of Venice we find that to fear the keeping is to fear the not keeping.
III.ii.39 (279,5) [Truly, then art damn’d, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side] Of this jest I do not fully comprehend the meaning.
III.ii.85 (281,1) [bawd to a bell-wether] Wether and ram had anciently the same meaning.
[Tongues I’ll hang on every tree, That shall civil sayings show]
Civil is here used in the same sense as when we say civil wisdom or civil life, in opposition to a solitary state, or to the state of nature. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or incidents of social life.
III.ii.149 (283,2) [Therefore heaven nature charg’d] From the picture of Apelles, or the accomplishments of Pandora.
[Greek: Aeanertu, oti pautei dlumpia Dorou xdorau.—————-]
So before, —————————-But thou So perfect, and no peerless art created Of ev’ry creature’s beat. Tempest.
Perhaps from this passage Swift had his hint of Biddy Floyd.
III.ii.155 (283,3) [Atalanta’s better part] I know not well what could be the better part of Atalanta here ascribed to Rosalind. Of the Atalanta most celebrated, and who therefore must be intended here where she has no epithet of discrimination, the better part seems to have been her heels, and the worse part was so bad that Rosalind would not thank her lover for the comparison. There is a more obscure Atalanta, a huntress and a heroine, but of her nothing bad is recorded, and therefore I know not which was the better part. Shakespeare was no despicable mythologist, yet he seems here to have mistaken some other character for that of Atalanta.
III.ii.156 (283,4) [Sad] is grave, sober, not light.
III.ii.160 (284,5) [the touches] The features; les traits.
III.ii.186 (284,6) [I was never so be-rhimed since Pythagoras’s time, that I was an Irish rat] Rosalind is a very learned lady. She alludes to the Pythagorean doctrine, which teaches that souls transmigrate from one animal to another, and relates that in his time she was an Irish rat, and by some metrical charm was rhymed to death. The power of killing rats with rhymes Donne mentions in his Satires, and Temple in his Treatises. Dr. Gray has produced a similar passage from Randolph.
—My poets Shall with a saytire steeped in vinegar Rhyme then to death as they do rats in Ireland.
III.ii.206 (285,8) [One inch of delay more is a South-sea of discovery] This sentence is rightly noted by the commentator [W] as nonsense, but not so happily restored to sense. I read thus:
One inch of delay more is a South-sea. Discover, I pr’ythee; tell me who is it quickly;—When the transcriber had once made discovery from discover, I, he easily put an article after South-sea.
But it may be read with still less change, and with equal probability. Every inch of delay more is a South-sea discovery: Every delay, however short, is to me tedious and irksome as the longest voyage, as a voyage of discovery on the South-sea. How such voyages to the South-sea, on which the English had then first ventured, engaged the conversation of that time, may be easily imagined.
III.ii.238 (287,9) [Garagantna’s mouth] Rosalind requires nine questions to be answered in one word. Celia tells her that a word of such magnitude is too big for any mouth but that of Garagantua the giant of Rabelais.
III.ii.290 (288,2) [but I answer you right painted cloth] Sir T. Hammer reads, I answer you right, in the stile of the _painted cloth. Something seems wanting, and I know not what can be proposed better. I answer you right painted cloth, may mean, I give you a true painted cloth answer; as we say, she talksright Billingsgate; that is, exactly such language as is used at Billingsgate. (1773)
III.ii.363 (291,3) [in-land man] Is used in this play for one civilised, in opposition to the rustick of the priest. So Orlando before—Yet am I in-land bred, and know some nurture.
III.ii.393 (291,4) [an unquestionable spirit] That is, a spirit not inquisitive, a mind indifferent to common objects, and negligent of common occurrences. Here Shakespeare has used a passive for an active mode of speech; so in a former scene, The Duke is too disputable for me, that is, too disputatious.
III.ii.439 (293,5) [to a living humour of madness] If this be the true reading we must by living understand lasting, or permanent, but I cannot forbear to think that some antithesis was intended which is now lost; perhaps the passage stood thus, I drove my suitor from a dying humour of love to a living humour of madness. Or rather thus, from a mad humour of love to a loving humour of madness, that is, from a madness that was love, to a love that was madness. This seems somewhat harsh and strained, but such modes of speech are not unusual in our poet; and this harshness was probably the cause of the corruption.
III.iii.21 (294,7) [and what they swear in poetry, may be said, as lovers, they do feign] This sentence seems perplexed and inconsequent, perhaps it were better read thus, What they swear as lovers they may be said to feign as poets.
III.iii.32 (295,8) [A material fool!] A fool with matter in bin; a fool stocked with notions.
III.iii.51 (295,1) [what tho?] What then.
III.iii.65 (296,2) [Sir Oliver] He that has taken his first degree at the university, is in the academical style called Dominus, and in common language was heretofore termed Sir. This was not always a word of contempt; the graduates assumed it in their own writings; so Trevisa the historian writes himself Syr John de Trevisa.
III.iii.101 (297,4) [Not, O sweet Oliver] Of this speech, as it now appears, I can make nothing, and think nothing can be made. In the same breath he calls his mistress to be married, and sends away the man that should marry them. Dr. Warburton has very happily observed, that O sweet Oliver is a quotation from an old song; I believe there are two quotations put in opposition to each other. For wind I read wend, the old word for go. Perhaps the whole passage may be regulated thus,
Clo. I am not in the mind. but it were better for me to be married of him than of another, for he is not like to marry me well, and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife—Come, sweet Audrey, we must be married, or we must live in bawdry.
Jaq. Go then with me, and let me counsel thee. [they whisper.]
Clo. _Farewel, good sir Oliver, not _O sweet Oliver, O brave Oliver, leave Be not behind thee,—but
Wend away Begone, I say, I will not to wedding with thee to-day.
Of this conjecture the reader may take as much as shall appear necessary to the sense, or conducive to the humour. I have received all but the additional words. The song seems to be complete without them. (1773)
III.iv.11 (298, 5) [I’ faith, his hair is of a good colour] There is much of nature in this petty perverseness of Rosalind; she finds faults in her lover, in hope to be contradicted, and when Celia in sportive malice too readily seconds her accusations, she contradicts herself rather than suffer her favourite to want a vindication.
III.v.5 (301, 1) [Will you sterner be Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?] [W: deals and lives] [Hammer: lives and thrives] Either Dr. Warburton’s emendation, except that the word deals, wants its proper construction, or that of sir T. Hammer may serve the purpose; but I believe they have fixed corruption upon the wrong word, and should rather read,
Than he that dies his lips by bloody drops?
Will you speak with more sternness than the executioner, whose lips are used to be sprinkled with blood? The mention of drops implies some part that must be sprinkled rather than dipped.
III. v. 23 (303, 2) [The cicatrice and capable impressure] Cicatrice is here not very properly used; it is the scar of a wound. Capable impressure arrows mark.
III. v. 29 (303, 3) [power of fancy] Fancy is here used for love, as before in Midsummer Night’s Dream.
III. v. 35 (304, 4) [Who might be your mother] It is common for the poets to express cruelty by saying, of those who commit it, that they were born of rocks, or suckled by tigresses.
III. v. 48 (305, 8) [That can entame ay spirits to your worship] [W: entraine] The common reading seems unexceptionable.
III. v. 62 (305, 9) [Foal is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer] [W: being found] The sense of the received reading is not fairly represented; it is, The ugly seem most ugly, when, though ugly, they are scoffers.
III.v.78 (306,2) [Though all the world could see, None could be so abus’d in sight, as he] Though all mankind could look on you, none could be so deceived as to think you beautiful but he.
IV.i.37 (309,3) [swam in a gondola] That is, been at Venice, the sweat at that tine of all licentiousness, where the young English gentlemen waited their fortunes, debased their morals, and sometimes lost their religion.
The fashion of travelling, which prevailed very much in our author’s time, was considered by the wiser men as one of the principal causes of corrupt manners. It was therefore gravely censored by Aschaa in his Schoolmaster, and by bishop Hall in his Quo Vadis; and is here, and in other passages, ridiculed by Shakespeare.
IV.i.157 (312,6) [and that when you are inclin’d to sleep] [W: to weep] I know not why we should read to weep. I believe most men would be more angry to have their sleep hindered than their grief interrupted.
IV.i.168 (313,8) [Wit, whither wilt?] This must be some allusion to a story well known at that time, though not perhaps irretrievable.
IV.i.177 (313,9) [make her fault her husband’s occasion] That is, represent her fault as occasioned by her husband. Sir T. Banner reads, her husband’s accusation.
IV.i.195 (314,1) [I will think you the most pathetical break-promise] [W: atheistical] I do not see but that pathetical may stand, which seems to afford as much sense and as much humour as atheistical.
IV.ii.14 (315,2) [Take thou no scorn] [T: In former editions: Then sing him home, the rest shall bear his burden. This is an admirable instance of the sagacity of our preceding editors, to say nothing worse. One should expect, when they were poets, they would at least have taken care of the rhimes, and not foisted in what has nothing to answer it. Now, where is the rhime to, the rest shall bear this burden? Or, to ask another question, where is the sense of it? Does the poet mean, that He, that kill’d the deer, shall be sung home, and the rest shall bear the deer on their backs? This is laying a burden on the poet, that we mist help him to throw off. In short, the mystery of the whole is, that a marginal note is wisely thrust into the text: the song being design’d to be sung by a single voice, and the stanzas to close with a burden to be sung by the whole company.] This note I have given as a specimen of Mr. Theobald’s jocularity, and the eloquence with which he recommends his emendations.
IV.iii (316,4) [Enter Rosalind and Celia] The foregoing noisy scene was introduced only to fill up an interval, which is to represent two hours. This contraction of the time we might impute to poor Rosalind’s impatience, but that a few minutes after we find Orlando sending his excuse. I do not see that by any probable division of the acts this absurdity can be obviated.
IV.iii.48 (318,3) [That could do no vengeance to me] Vengeance is used for mischief.
IV.iii.59 (318,4) [youth and kind] Kind is the old word for nature.
IV.iii.101 (319,5) [Within an hour] We must read, within two hours.
IV.iii.160 (321,6) [cousin—Ganymed!] Celia in her first fright forgets Rosalind’s character and disguise, and calls out cousin, then recollects herself, and says Ganymed.
V.ii.21 (325,9) [And you, fair sister] I know not why Oliver should call Rosalind sister. He takes her yet to be a man. I suppose we should read, and you, and your fair sister.
V.ii.45 (326,1) [Clubs cannot part them] Alluding to the way of parting dogs in wrath.
V.ii.74 (327,2) [human as she is] That is, not a phantom, but the real Rosalind, without any of the danger generally conceived to attend the rites of incantation.
V.iii.17 (329,3) [It was a lover and his lass] The stanzas of this song are in all the editions evidently transposed: as I have regulated them, that which in the former copies was the second stanza is now the last.
The same transposition of these stanzas is made by Dr. Thirlby, in a copy containing some notes on the margin, which I have perused by the favour of Sir Edward Walpole. (see 1765, II,97,3)
V.iii.36 (330,4) [the note was very untuneable] [T: untimeable] This emendation is received. I think very undeservedly, by Dr. Warburton.
V.iv.4 (331,5) [As those that fear, they hope, and know they fear] [W: their hap, and know their] The deprivation of this line is evident, but I do not think the learned commentator’s emendation very happy. I read thus,
As those that fear with hope, and hope with fear.
Or thus, with less alteration,
As those that fear, they hope, and now they fear.
V.iv.36 (332,6) [Here comes a pair of very strange beasts] [W: unclean beasts] Strange beasts are only what we call odd animals. There is no need of any alteration.
V.iv.51 (333,7) [found the quarrel was upon the seventh cause] So all the copies; but it is apparent from the sequel that we must read, the quarrel was not upon the seventh cause.
V.iv.56 (333,8) [I desire you of the like] [W: of you] I have not admitted the alteration, because there are other examples of this mode of expression. (1773)
V.iv.59 (333,9) [according as marraige binds, and blood breaks] I cannot discover what has here puzzled the commentator [W]: to swear according as marriage binds, ii to take the oath enjoin’d in the ceremonial of marriage.
V.iv.68 (334,1) [dulcet diseases] This I do not understand. For diseases it is easy to read discourses: but, perhaps the fault may lie deeper.
V.iv.114 (336,4) [Enter Hymen] Rosalind is imagined by the rest of the company to be brought by enchantment, and is therefore introduced by a supposed aerial being in the character of Hymen.
V.iv.125 (336,5) [If there be truth in sight] The answer of Phebe makes it probable that Orlando says, if there be truth in shape: that is, if a form may be trusted; if one cannot usurp the form of another.
V.iv.136 (337,6) [If truth holds true contents] That is, if there be truth in truth, unless truth fails of veracity.
V.iv.147 (337,7) [Wedding is great Juno’s crown] Catullus, addressing himself to Hymen, has this stanza:
Quae tuis careat sacris, Non queat dare praesides Terra finibus: at queat Te volente. Quis huic deo Compararier ausit? (1773)
Epilogue.7 (340,5) [What a case am I in then] Here seems to be a chasm, or some other depravation, which destroys the sentiment here intended. The reasoning probably stood thus, Good wine needs no bush, good plays need no epilogue, but bad wine requires a good bush, and a bad play a good epilogue.What case am I in then? To restore the words is impossible; all that can be done without copies is, to note the fault.
Epilogue.10 (340,1) [furnish’d like a beggar] That is dressed: so before, he was furnished like a huntsman.
Epilogue.13 (340,2) [I charge you, O women, for the love you bear to men, to like as much of this Play as pleases them: and I charge you, O men, for the love you bear to women——that between you and the women] [W: pleases them…pleases them] The words you and of written as was the custom in that time, were in manuscript scarcely distinguishable. The emendation is very judicious and probable.
(341,4) General Observation. Of this play the fable is wild and pleasing. I know not how the ladies will approve the facility with which both Rosalind and Celia give away their hearts. To Celia much may be forgiven for the heroism of her friendship. The character of Jaqaes is natural and well preferred. The comick dialogue is very sprightly, with less mixture of low buffoonery than in some other plays; and the graver part is elegant and harmonious. By hastening to the end of his work, Shakespeare suppressed the dialogue between the usurper and the hermit, and lost an opportunity of exhibiting a moral lesson in which he might have found matter worthy of his highest powers.
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
Induction.i.l (346,1) [I’ll pheeze you] To pheeze or fease. is to separate a twist into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harrass. to plague. Perhaps I’ll pheeze you, may be equivalent to I’ll comb your head, a phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly’s character on like occasions. The following explanation of the word is given by Sir Tho. Sayth in his book de Sermone Anglico, printed by Robert Stephens, 4vo. To feize. means in fila diducere. (see 1765, III,,1)
Induction.i.3 (347,2) [no rogues] That is vagrants, no mean fellows, but gentlemen.
Induction.i.17 (348,7) [Brach Merriman, the poor cur is imboat] Sir T. Banner reads, Leech Merriman. that is, apply some remedies to Merriman, the poor cur has his joints swelled. Perhaps we might read, bathe Merriman, which is I believe the common practice of huntsmen, but the present reading may stand:
—tender well my hounds: Brach—Merriman—the poor cur is imboat.
Induction.i.64 (351,8) [And when he says he is,—say that he dreams] [steevens:he’s poor,—say] If any thing should be inserted, it may be done thus,
“And when he says he’s Sly, say that he dreams.”
The likeness in writing of Sly and say produced the omission.(1773)
[It will be pastime excellent, If it be husbanded with modesty]
By modesty is meant moderation, without suffering our merriment to break into an excess.
Induction.i.82 (352,1) [to accept our duty] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses.
Induction.i.101 (353,4) [property] in the language of a playhouse, is every implement necessary to the exhibition.
Induction.i.125 (355,7) [To rain a shower of commanded toars, An onion will do well for such a shift]
It is not unlikely that the onion was an expedient used by the actors of interludes.
Induction.ii.89 (359,8) [Leet] As the Court leet. or courts of the manor.
I.i.9 (362,2) [ingenious studies] I rather think it was written ingenuous studies, but of this and a thousand such observations there is little certainty.
I.i.18 (363,4) [Virtue, and that part of philosophy Will I apply] Sir Thomas Hammer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read to virtues but formerly ply and apply were indifferently used, as to ply or apply his studies.
I.i.78 (365,7) [A pretty peat!] Peat or pet is a word of endearment from petit, little, as if it meant pretty little thing.
I.i.85 (365,8) [will you be so strange?] That is, so odd, so different from others in your conduct.
I.i.97 (366,9) [cunning men] Cunning had not yet lost its original signification of knowing, learned, as nay be observed in the translations of the Bible.
I.i.167 (368,2) [Redime te captum quasi queas minimi] Our author had this line from Lilly, which I mention, that it may not be brought as an argument of his learning.
I.i.208 (369,3) [port] Pert, is figure, show, appearance.
I.ii.52 (372,5) [Where small experience grows. But, in a few] Why this should seem nonsense, I cannot perceive. In few words it means the same as in short.
I.ii.68 (373,6) [As wealth is burthen of my wooing dance] The burthen of a dance is an expression which I have never heard; the burthen of his wooing song had been more proper.
I.ii.72 (373,8) [Affection’s edge in me] Surely the sense of the present reading is too obvious to be missed or mistaken. Petruchio says, that, if a girl has money enough, no bad qualities of mind or body will remove affection’s edge; i.e. hinder him from liking her.
I.ii.112 (375,1) [an’ he begin once, he’ll rail—In his rope-tricks] This is obscure. Sir Thomas Hammer reads, he’ll rail in his rhetorick; I’ll tell you, &c. Rhetorick agrees very well with figure in the succeeding part of the speech, yet I am inclined to believe that rope-tricks is the true word.
I.ii.115 (375,2) [that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat] It may mean, that he shall swell up her eyes with blows, till she shall seem to peep with a contracted pupil like a cat in the light. (1773)
I.ii.276 (381,9) [Please ye, we may contrive this afternoon] The word is used in the same sense of spending or wearing out in the Palace of Pleasure.
II.1.17 (382,2) [You will have Gremio, to keep you fair] I wish to read, To keep you fine. But either word may serve.
II.i.26 (388,3) [hilding] The word hildlng or hinderling—a low wretch; it is applied to Catharine for the coarseness of her behaviour.
II.i.209 (389,7) [Ay, for a turtle; as he takes a buzzard] Perhaps we may read better, Ay, for a turtle, and he take a buzzard. That is, he may take me for a turtle, and he shall find me a hawk.
II.i.310 (393,9) [kill on kiss She vy’s so fast] I know not that the word vie has any construction that will suit this place; we may easily read,
—kiss on kiss She ply’d so fast.
[Tra. Grey-beard! thy love doth freeze. Ore. But thine doth fry]
Old Gremio’s notions are confirmed by Shadwell:
The fire of love in youthful blood. Like what is kindled in brush-wood. But for a moment burns— But when crept into aged reins, It slowly burns, and long remains, It glows, and with a sullen heat. Like fire in logs, it burns, and warms us long; And though the flame be not so great, Yet is the heat as strong.
II.1.407 (397,4) [Yet have I fac’d it with a card of ten] [W. quoted Jonson for “a hart of ten”] If the word hart be right, I do not see any use of the latter quotation.
II.1.413 (398,5)[Here the former editors add, Sly. Sim, when will the fool come again? Steevens.] The character of the fool has not been introduced in this drama, therefore I believe that the word again should be omitted, and that Sly asks, When will the fool come? the fool being the favourite of the vulgar, or, as we now phrase it, of the upper gallery, was naturally expected in every interlude.
III.1.37 (400,6) [pantaloon] the old cully in Italian farces.
III.ii.10 (403,1) [full of spleen] That is, full of humour, caprice; and inconstancy.
III.ii.45 (404,3) [a pair of boots that have been candle—eases; one buckled, another lac’d; an old rusty sword ta’en out of the town armory, with a broken hilt, and chapeless, with two broken points] Bow a sword should have two broken points, I cannot tell. There is, I think, a transposition caused by the seeming relation of point to sword. I read, a pair of boots, one buckled, another
laced with two broken points; an old rusty sword—with a broken hilt, and chapeless.
III.ii.109 (406,7) [to digress] to deviate from any promise.
IV.i.3 (412,9) [was ever man so ray’d?] That is, was ever man so mark’d with lashes.
IV.i.93 (416,7) [garters of an indifferent knit] What is the sense of this I know not, unless it means, that their garters should be fellows; indifferent, or not different, one from the other.
IV.i.139 (417,8) [no link, to colour Peter’s hat] Link, I believe, is the name with what we now call lamp-black.
IV.i.145 (418,9) [Soud, soud] That is, sweet, sweet. Soot, and sometimes sooth, is sweet. So in Milton, to sing soothly, is, to sing sweetly.
IV.i.196 (420,3) [to man my haggard] A haggard is a wild hawk; to man a hawk is to tame her.
IV.iii.43 (428,8) [And all my pains is sorted to no proof] And all my labour has ended in nothing, or proved nothing. We tried an experiment, but it sorted not. Bacon.
IV.iii.56 (428,9) [With silken coats, and caps, and golden rings, With ruffs, and cuffs, and fardingals, and things] Though things is a poor word, yet I have no better, and perhaps the authour had not another that would rhyme. I once thought to transpose the words rings and things, but it would make little improvement.
IV.iii.91 (430,2) [censer] in barber’s shops, are now disused, but they may easily be imagined to have been vessels which, for the emission of the smoke, were cut with great number and varieties of interstices.
IV.iii.107 (430,3) [thou thimble] The taylor’s trade having an appearance of effeminacy, has always been, among the rugged English, liable to sarcasms and contempt.
IV.iii.140 (431,3) [a small compass’d cape] A compass’d cape is a round cape. To compass is to come round. (1773)
IV.iv (434,5) I cannot but think that the direction about the Tinker, who is always introduced at the end of the acts, together with the change of the scone, and the proportion of each act to the rest, make it probable that the fifth act begins here.
IV.iv.48 (436,7) [Where then do you know best, Be we affied] This seems to be wrong. We may read more commodiously, ——Where then you do know best Be we affied;——-
Or thus, which I think is right, Where then do you trow best, We be affied;———
V.i.70 (443,2) [a copatain hat!] is, I believe, a hat with a conical crown, such as was anciently worn by well-dressed men.
V.ii.54 (448,5) [A good swift simile] besides the original sense of speedy in motion, signified witty, quick-witted. So in As You Like It, the Duke says of the Clown, He is very swift and sententious. Quick is now used in almost the same sense as nimble was in the age after that of our author. Heylin says of Hales, that he had known Laud for a nimble, disputant.
V.ii.186 (453,7) [tho’ you hit the white] To hit the white is a phrase borrowed from archery: the mark was commonly white. Here it alludes to the name Bianca, or white.
(454) General Observation. From this play the Tatler formed a story, [Johnson here copies out the Tatler story.] It cannot but seen strange that Shakespeare should be so little known to the author of the Tatler, that he should suffer this story to be obtruded upon him; or so little known to the publick, that he could hope to make it pass upon his readers as a real narrative of a transaction in Lincolnshire; yet it is apparent, that he was deceived, or intended to deceive, that he knew not himself whence the story was taken, or hoped that he might rob so obscure a writer without detection.
Of this play the two plots are so well united, that they can hardly be called two without injury to the art with which they are interwoven. The attention is entertained with all the variety of a double plot, yet is not distracted by unconnected incidents.
The part between Catharine and Petruchio is eminently spritely and diverting. At the marriage of Bianca the arrival of the real father, perhaps, produces more perplexity than pleasure. The whole play is very popular and diverting, (see 1765, III,97,5)
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
I.i.1 (3,2) [In delivering my son from me] [W: dissevering] Of this change I see no need: the present reading is clear, and, perhaps, as proper as that which the great commentator would substitute; for the king dissevers her son from her, she only delivers him.
I.i.5 (4,3) [to whom I am now in ward] Under his particular care, as my guardian, till I come to age. It is now almost forgotten in England that the heirs of great fortunes were the king’s wards. Whether the same practice prevailed in France, it is of no great use to enquire, for Shakespeare gives to all nations the manners of England.
I. i.19 (4,5) [This young gentlewoman had a father, (O, that had! how sad a passage ’tis!)] [W: presage ’tis] This emendation is ingenious, perhaps preferable to the present reading, yet since passage may be fairly enough explained, I have left it in the text. Passage is anything that passes, so we now say, apassage of an authour. and we said about a century ago, the passages of a reign. When the countess mentions Helena’s loss of a father, she recollects her own loss of a husband, and stops to observe how heavily that word had passes through her mind.
I.i.48 (6,6) [for where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity, they are virtues and traitors too; in her they are the better for their simpleness; she derives her honesty, and atchieves her goodness] [W: her simpleness] This is likewise a plausible but unnecessary alteration. Her virtues are the better for their simpleness, that is, her excellencies are the better because they are artless and open, without fraud, without design. The learned commentator has well explained virtues. but has not, I think, reached the force of the word traitors, and therefore has not shown the full extent of Shakespeare’s masterly observation. Virtues in an unclean mind are virtues and traitors too. Estimable and useful qualities, joined with evil disposition, give that evil disposition power over others, who, by admiring the virtue, are betrayed to the malevolence. The Tatler mentioning the sharpers of his time, observes, that some of them are men of such elegance and knowledge, that a young man who falls into their way is betrayed as much by his judgment as his passions.
I.i.86 (7,8) [If the living be enemy to the grief, the excess makes it soon mortal] [W: be not enemy] This emendation I had once admitted into the text, but restored the old reading, because I think it capable of an easy explication. Lafeu says, excessive grief is the enemy of the living: the countess replies, If the living be an enemy to grief, the excess soon makes it mortal: that is, if the living do not indulge grief, grief destroys itself by its own excess. By the word mortal I understand that which dies, and Dr. Warburton, that which destroys. I think that my interpretation gives a sentence more acute and more refined. Let the reader judge.
I.i.78 (8,9) [That thee may furnish] That may help thee with more and better qualifications.
I.i.84 (8,1) [The best wishes that can beforg’d in your thoughts, be servants to you!] That is, may you be mistress of your wishes, and have power to bring then to effect.
I.i.91 (8,2) [And these great tears grace his remembrance more] The tears which the king and countess shed for him.
I.i.99 (8,3) [In his bright radiance and collateral light Must I be comforted, not in his sphere] I cannot be united with him and move in the same sphere, but must be comforted at a distance by the radiance that shoots on all sides from him.
I.i.107 (9,4) [Of every line and trick of his sweet favour!] So in King John; he hath a trick of Coeur de Lion’s face. Trick seen to be some peculiarity of look or feature.
I.i.122 (9,6) [you have some stain of soldier in you] [W: “Stain for colour.”] Stain rather for what we now say tincture, some qualities, at least superficial, of a soldier. (1773)
I.i.150 (10,8) [He, that hangs himself, is a virgin] [W: As he…so is] I believe most readers Will spare both the emendations, which I do not think much worth a claim or a contest. The old reading is more spritely and equally just.
I.i.165 (11,1) [Marry, ill, to like him that ne’er it likes] Parolles, in answer to the question, how one shall lose virginity to her own liking? plays upon the word liking, and says, she must do ill, for virginity, to be so lost, must like him that likes not virginity.
I.i.178-191 (12,5) [Not my virginity yet] This whole speech is abrupt, unconnected, and obscure. Dr. Warburton thinks much of it suppofititious. I would be glad to think so of the whole, for a commentator naturally wishes to reject what he cannot understand. Something, which should connect Helena’s words with those of Parolles, seems to be wanting. Hammer has made a fair attempt by reading,
Not my virginity yet—You’re for the court, There shall your master, &c.
Some such clause has, I think, dropped out, but still the first words want connection. Perhaps Parolles, going away after his harangue, said, will you any thing with me? to which Helen may reply—I know not what to do with the passage.
I.i.184 (13,7) [a traitress] It seems that traitress was in that age a term of endearment, for when Lafeu introduces Helena to the king, he says, You like a traytor, but such traytors his majesty does not much fear.
I.i.199 (14,8) [And shew what we alone must think] And shew by realities what we now must only think.
I.i.218 (14,9) [is a virtue of a good wing, and I like the wear well] [W: good ming] This conjecture I could wish to see better proved. This common word ming I have never found. The first edition of this play exhibits wing without a capital: yet, I confess, that a virtue of good wing is an expression that I cannot understand, unless by a metaphor taken from falconry, it may mean, a virtue that will fly high, and in the stile of Hotspur, Pluck honour from the moon.
I.i.235 (15,1) [What power is it, which mounts my love so high; That makes me see, and cannot feed mine eye?]
She means, by what influence is my love directed to a person so much above me. [why am I made to discern excellence, sad left to long after it, without the food of hope.]
[The mightiest space in fortune, nature brings To join like likes, and kiss, like native things. Impossible be strange attempts, to those That weigh their pain in sense; and do suppose, What hath been]
All these four lines are obscure, and, I believe, corrupt. I shall propose an emendation, which those who can explain the present reading, are at liberty to reject.
Through mightiest space in fortune nature brings Likes to join likes, and kiss, like native things.
That is, nature brings like qualities and dispositions to meet through any distance that fortune may have set between them; she joins them and makes them kiss like things born together.
The next lines I read with Hammer.
Impossible be strange attempts to those That weigh their pains in sense, and do suppose What ha’n’t been, cannot be.
New attempts seen impossible to those who estimate their labour or enterprises by sense, and believe that nothing can be but what they see before them.
[He had the wit, which I can well observe To-day in our young lords, but they may jest, Till their own scorn return to them; unnoted, Ere they can hide their levity in honour]
I believe honour is not dignity of birth or rank, but acquired reputation: Your father, says the king, had the same airy flights of satirical wit-with the young lords of the present time, but they do not what he did, hide their unnoted levity in honour, cover petty faults with great merit.
This is an excellent observation. Jocose follies, and slight offences, are only allowed by mankind in him that overpowers them by great qualities.
[So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness Were in his pride or sharpness; if they were, His equal had awak’d them]
[W: no contempt or] The original edition reads the first line thus,
So like a courtier, contempt nor bitterness.
The sense is the same. Nor was used without reduplication. So in Measure for Measure,
More nor less to others paying, Than by self-offences weighing.
The old text needs to be explained. He was so like a courtier, that there was in his dignity of manner nothing contemptuous, and
I.ii.41 (19, 5) [His tongue obey’d his hand] We should read,
His tongue obeyed the hand.
That is, the hand of his honour’s clock, shewing the true minute when exceptions bad him speak.
I.ii.44 (19, 7) [Making then proud of his humility, In their poor praise he humbled] [W: proud; and his] Every man has seen the mean too often proud of the humility of the great, and perhaps the great may sometimes be humbled in the praises of the mean, of those who commend them without conviction or discernment: this, however is not so common; the mean are found more frequently than the great.
I.ii.50 (19, 8)
[So in approof lives not his epitaph, As in your royal speech]
[W: Epitaph for character.] I should wish to read,
Approof so lives not in his epitaph, As in your royal speech.
Approof is approbation. If I should allow Dr. Warburton’s interpretation of Epitaph, which is more than can be reasonably expected, I can yet find no sense in the present reading.
I.ii.61 (20, 9) [whose judgments are meer fathers of their garments] Who have no other use of their faculties, than to invent new modes of dress.
I.iii (21, 1) [Enter Countess, Steward, and Clown] A Clown in Shakespeare is commonly taken for a licensed jester, or domestick fool. We are not to wonder that we find this character often in his plays, since fools were, at that time, maintained in all great families, to keep up merriment in the house. In the picture of Sir Thomas More’s family, by Hans Holbein, the only servant represented is Patison the fool. This is a proof of the familiarity to which they were admitted, not by the great only, but the wise.
In some plays, a servant, or a rustic, of remarkable petulance and freedom of speech, is likewise called a clown.
I.iii.3 (21, 2) [to even your content] To act up to your desires.
I.iii.45 (23, 4) [You are shallow, madam, in great friends; for the knaves come to do that for me, which I am a weary of] [Tyrwhitt: my great] The meaning seems to be, you are not deeply skilled in the character of offices of great friends. (1773)
I.iii.96 (26, 1) [Clo. That man should be at woman’s command, and yet no hurt done!—Tho’ honesty be no puritan, yet it will do no hurt; it will wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart] The clown’s answer is obscure. His lady bids him do as he is commanded. He answers with the licentious petulance of his character, that if a man does as a woman commands, it is likely he will do amiss; that he does not amiss, being at the command of a woman, he makes the effect, not of his lady’s goodness, but of his own honesty, which, though not very nice or puritanical, will do no hurt; and will not only do no hurt, but, unlike the puritans, will comply with the injunctions of superiors, and wear the surplice of humility over the black gown of a big heart; will obey commands, though not much pleased with a state of subjection.
Here is an allusion, violently enough forced in, to satirize the obstinacy with which the puritans refused the use of the ecclesiastical habits, which was, at that time, one principal cause of the breach of union, and, perhaps, to insinuate, that the modest purity of the surplice was sometimes a cover for pride.
I.iii.140 (28,3) [By our remembrances] That is, according to our recollection. So we say, he is old by my reckoning.
[—or, were you both our mothers I care no more for, than I do for heaven. So I were not his sister]
[W: I can no more fear, than I do fear heav’n.] I do not much yield to this emendation; yet I have not been able to please myself with any thing to which even my own partiality can give the preference.
Sir Thomas Banner reads,
Or were you both our mothers. I cannot ask for more than that of heaven. So I were not his sister; can be no other Way I your daughter, but he must be my brother?
I.iii.171 (30,6) [can’t no other, But, I your daughter, he must be my brother?] The meaning is obscur’d by the elliptical diction. Can it be no other way, but if I be your daughter he must be my brother?
I.iii.178 (30,8) [Your salt tears’ head] The force, the fountain of your tears, the cause of your grief.
I.iii.208 (31,9) [captious and intenible sieve] The word captious I never found in this sense; yet I cannot tell what to substitute, unless carious, for rotten, which yet is a word more likely to have been mistaken by the copyers than used by the author.
[As notes, whose faculties inclusive were Receipts in which greater virtues were _inclosed]
Do not throw from you; you, my lord,, farewell; Share the advice betwixt you; if both gain all, The gift doth stretch itself as ’tis receiv’d, And is enough for both.
The first edition, from which the passage is restored, was sufficiently clear; yet it is plain, that the latter editors preferred a reading which they did not understand.
[let higher Italy (Those ‘hated, that inherit but the fall Of the last monarchy) [see, that you come Not to woo honour, but to wed it]
[Hammer: Those bastards that inherit] Dr. Warburton’s observation is learned, but rather too subtle; Sir Tho. Hanmer’s alteration is merely arbitrary. The passage is confessedly obscure, and there-fore I may offer another explanation. I am of opinion that the epithet higher is to be understood of situation rather than of dignity. The sense may then be this,Let upper Italy, where you are to exercise your valour, see that you come to gain honour, to the abatement, that is, to the disgrace and depression of those that have now lost their ancient military fame, and inherit but the fall of the last monarchy. To abate is used by Shakespeare in the original sense of abatre, to depress, to sink, to deject, to subdue. So in Coriolanus,
—’till ignorance deliver you. As moat abated captives to some nation That won you without blows. And bated is used in a kindred sense in the Jew of Venice.
—_in a bondman’s key With bated breath and whisp’ring humbleness_.
The word has still the same meaning in the language of the law.
II.i.21 (37,9) [Beware of being captives, Before you serve] The word serve is equivocal; the sense is, Be not captives before you serve in the war. Be not captives before you are soldiers.
II.i.36 (37,1) [I grow to you, and our parting is a tortur’d body] I read thus, Our parting is the parting of a tortured body. Our parting is as the disruption of limbs torn from each other. Repetition of a word is often the cause of mistakes, the eye glances on the wrong word, and the intermediate part of the sentence is omitted.
II.i.54 (38,3) [they wear themselves in the cap of the time, there, do muster true gait] [W: to muster] I think this amendation cannot be said to give much light to the obscurity of the passage. Perhaps it might be read thus, They do muster with the true gaite. that is, they have the true military step. Every man has observed something peculiar in the strut of a soldier, (rev. 1778, IV,35,8)
II.i.70 (39,4) [across] This word, as has been already observed, is used when any pass of wit miscarries.
II.i.74 (39,5) [Yes, but you will, my noble grapes, as if] These words,my noble grapes, seem to Dr. Warburton and Sir T. Hammer, to stand so much in the way, that they have silently omitted them. They may be indeed rejected without great loss, but I believe they are Shakespeare’s words. You will eat, says Lafen, no grapes. Yes, but you will eat such noble grapes as I bring you, if you could reach them.
II.i. 100 (41,8) [I am Cressid’s uncle] I am like Pandarus. See Troilus and Cressida. (see 1765, III,310,2)
II.i.114 (41,9) [wherein the honour Of my dear father’s gift stands chief in power] Perhaps we may better read,— wherein the power Of my dear father’s gift stands chief in honour,
II.i.144 (42,1) [When miracles have by the greatest been deny’d] I do not see the import or connection of this line. As the next line stands without a correspondent rhyme, I suspect that something has been lost.
II.i.159 (43,2) [Myself against the level of mine aim] I rather think that she means to say, I am not an impostor that proclaim one thing and design another, that proclaim a cure and aim at a fraud: I think what I speak.
[a divulged shame Traduc’d by odious ballds; my maiden’s name Sear’d otherwise; no worse of worst extended, With vilest torture let my life be ended]
This passage is apparently corrupt, and how shall it be rectified? I have no great hope of success, but something must be tried. I read the whole thus,
King. What darest thou venture? Hal. Tax of impudence. A strumpet’s boldness; a divulged shame, Traduc’d by odious ballads my maiden name; Sear’d otherwise, to worst of worst extended; With vilest torture let my life be ended.
When this alteration first came into my mind, I supposed Helen to mean thus, First, I venture what is dearest to me, my maiden reputation; but if your distrust extends my character to the worst of the _worst, and supposes me seared against the sense of infamy, I will add to the stake of reputation, the stake of life. This certainly is sense, and the language as grammatical as many other passages of Shakespeare. Yet we may try another experiment.
Fear otherwise to worst of worst extended; With vilest torture let my life be ended. That is, let me act under the greatest terrors possible.
But once again we will try to find the right way by the glimmer of Hanmer’s amendation, who reads thus,
—my maiden name Sear’d; otherwise the worst of worst extended. etc.
Perhaps it were better thus,
— my maiden name Sear’d; otherwise the worst to worst extended;
With vilest torture let my life be ended.
II.i.182 (45,5) [Thy life is dear; for all, that life can rate Worth name of life, in thee hath estimate] May be counted among the gifts enjoyed by them.
II.i.185 (45,7) [prime] Youth; the spring or morning of life.
II.ii.40 (48,1) [To be young again] The lady censures her own levity in trifling with her jester, as a ridiculous attempt to return back to youth.
Il.iii.6 (49,3) [unknown fear] Fear is here the object of fear.
[Par. So I say, both of Galen and Paracelsus. Laf. Of all the learned and authentic fellows]
As the whole merriment of this scene consists in the pretensions of Parollei to knowledge and sentiments which he has not, I believe here are two passages in which the words and sense are bestowed upon him by the copies, which the author gave to Lafen. I read this passage thus,
Laf. To be relinquished of the artists—— Par. So I. say. Laf. Both of Galen and Paracelsus, of all the learned and authentick fellows—— Par. _Right, so I say.__
[which should, indeed, give us a farther use to be made, than alone the recovery of the King; as to be— Laf. Generally thankful]
I cannot see that there is any hiatus, or other irregularity of language than such as is very common in these plays. I believe Parolles has again usurped words and sense to which he has no right; and I read this passage thus,
Laf. In a most weak and debile minister, great power, great transcendence; which should, indeed, give us a farther use to be made than the mere recovery of the king. Par. As to be. Laf. Generally thankful.
II.iii.66 (52,9) [My mouth no more were broken than these boys’] A broken mouth is a mouth which has lost part of its teeth.
II.iii.77 (53,1) [Let the white death sit on thy cheek for ever] [W: dearth] The white death is the chlorosis.
II.iii.80 (53,2) [And to imperial Love] [W. The old editions read IMPARTIAL, which is right.] There is no edition of this play older than that of 1623, the next is that of 1632, of which both read imperials the second reads imperial Jove.
II.iii.92 (53,3) [Laf. Do they all deny her?] None of them have yet denied her, or deny her afterwards but Bertram. The scene must be so regulated that Lafeu and Parolles talk at a distance, where they nay see what passes between Helena and the lords, but not hear it, so that they know not by whom the refusal is made.
II.iii.105 (54,4) [There’s one grape yet,—I am sure, they father drunk wine.—But if thou be’st not an ass, I am a youth of fourteen. I have known thee already] This speech the three last editors have perplexed themselves by dividing between Lafeu and Parolles, without any authority of copies, or any improvement of sense. I have restored the old reading, and should have thought no explanation necessary, but that Mr. Theobald apparently misunderstood it.
Old Lafeu having, upon the supposition that the lady was refused, reproached the young lords as boys of ice, throwing his eyes on Bertram who remained, cries out, “There is one yet into whom his father put good blood,——but I have known thee long enough to know thee for an ass.”
II.iii.135 (55,6) [good alone Is good, without a name, vileness is so] [W: good; and with a name,] The present reading is certainly wrong, and, to confess the truth, I do not think Dr. Warburton’s emendation right; yet I have nothing that I can propose with much confidence. Of all the conjectures that I can make, that which least displeases me is this:
—good alone. Is good without a name; Helen is so;
The rest follows easily by this change.
[—She is young, wise, fair; In these, to nature she’s immediate heir; And these breed honour]
Here is a long note [W’s] which I wish had been shorter. Good is better than young, as it refers to honour. But she is more the immediate heir of nature with respect to youth than goodness. To be immediate heir is to inherit without any intervening transmitter: thus she inherits beauty immediately from nature, but honour is transmitted by ancestors; youth is received immediately from nature. but goodness may be conceived in part the gift of parents, or the effect of education. The alteration therefore loses on one side what it gains on the other.
II.iii.170 (58,9) [Into the staggers] One species of the staggers, or the horses apoplexy, is a raging impatience which makes the animal dash himself with destructive violence against posts or walls. To this the allusion, I suppose, is made.
[whose ceremony Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief, And be perform’d to-night]
This, if it be at all intelligible, is at least obscure and inaccurate. Perhaps it was written thus,
—what ceremony Shall seem expedient on the now-born brief Shall be perform’d to-night; the solemn feast Shall more attend—
The brief is the contract of espousal, or the licence of the church. The King means, What ceremony is necessary to make this contract a marriage, shall be immediately performed; the rest may be delayed.
II.iii.211 (60,2) [I did think thee, for two ordinaries, to be a pretty wise fellow] While I sat twice with thee at table.
II.iii.217 (60,3) [yet art then good for nothing but taking up] To take up, is to contradict, to call to account, as well as to pick off the ground.
II.iii.242 (60,4) [in the default] That is, at a need.
II.iii.246 (61,5) [for doing, I am past; as I will by thee, in what motion age will give me leave] [Warburton suspected a line lost after “past”] This suspicion of chasm is groundless. The conceit which is so thin that it might well escape a hasty reader, is in the word past, I am past, as I will be past by thee.
II.iii.309 (63,9) [To the dark house] The dark house is a house made gloomy by discontent. Milton says of death and the king of hell preparing to combat,
So frown’d the mighty combatants, that hell Grew darker at their frown.
II.iv.45 (65,1) [Whose want, and whose delay, is strew’d with sweets] The sweets with which this want are strewed, I suppose, are compliments and professions of kindness.
II.iv.52 (65,2) [probable need] A specious appearance of necessity.
III.i.10 (70,5) [The reasons of our state I cannot yield] I cannot inform you of the reasons.
III.i.11 (70,6) [an outward man] [W: i.e. one not in the secret of affairs] So inward is familiar, admitted to secrets. I was an inward of his. Measure for Measure.
III.ii.59 (73,1) [When thou canst get the ring upon my finger] [W: When thou canst get the ring, which is on my finger, into thy possession] I think Dr. Warburton’s explanation sufficient, but I once read it thus, When thou canst get the ring upon thy finger, which newer shall come off mine.
III.ii.100 (74,3) [Not so, but as we change our courtesies] The gentlemen declare that they are servants to the Countess, she replies, No otherwise than as she returns the same offices of civility.
III.iv.4 (77,4) [St. Jaques’ pilgrim] I do not remember any place famous for pilgrimages consecrated in Italy to St. James, but it is common to visit St. James of Compostella, in Spain. Another saint might easily have been found, Florence being somewhat out of the road from Bonsillon to Compostella.
III.iv.13 (77,6) [Juno] Alluding to tho story of Hercules.
III.iv.19 (77,6) [Rinaldo, you did never lack advice so much] Advice, is discretion or thought.
III.v.21 (79,7) [are not the things they go under] [W: Mr. Theobald explains these words by, They are not really so true and sincere as in appearance they seem to be.] I think Theobald’s interpretation right; to go under the name of any thing is a known expression. The meaning is, they are not the things for which their names would make them pass.
III.v.66 (81,8) [examin’d] That is, question’d, doubted.
III.v.74 (81,9) [brokes] Deals as a broker.
III.vi.107 (86,6) [we have almost imboss’d him] To imboss a deer is to inclose him in a wood. Milton uses the same word:
Like that self-begotten bird In th’ Arabian woods embost. Which no second knows or third.
III.vi.III (87,7) [ere we case him] This is, before we strip him naked. (1773)
III.vii.9 (88,2) [to your sworn council] To your private knowledge, after having required from you an oath of secrecy.
III.vii.21 (88,9) [Now his important blood will nought deny] Important here, and elsewhere, is importunate.
IV.i.16 (90,2) [some band of strangers i’ the adversary’s entertainment] That is, foreign troops in the enemy’s pay.
Iv.i.44 (91,3) [the instance] The proof.
[No more of that! I pr’ythee, do not strive against my vows: I was compell’d to her]
I know not well what Bertram can mean by entreating Diana not to strive against his vows. Diana has just mentioned his wife, so that the vows seem to relate to his marriage. In this sense not Diana, but himself, strives against his vows. His vows indeed may mean vows made to Diana; but, in that case, tostrive against is not properly used for to reject, nor does this sense cohere well with his first exclamation of impatience at the mention of his wife. No more of that! Perhaps we might read,
I Pr’ythee do not drive _against my vows.
Do not_ run upon that topick; talk of any thing else that I can bear to hear.
I have another conceit upon this passage, which I would be thought to offer without much confidence:
No more of that! I pr’ythee do not strive—against my voice I was compell’d to her.
Diana tells him unexpectedly of his wife. He answers with perturbation, No more of that! I pr’ythee do not play the confessor —against my own consent I was compelled to her.
When a young profligate finds his courtship so gravely repressed by an admonition of his duty, he very naturally desires the girl not to take upon her the office of a confessor.
IV.ii.23 (95,6) [What is not holy, that we swear not ‘bides] [W: not ‘bides] This is an acute and excellent conjecture, and I have done it the due honour of exalting it to the text; yet, methinks, there is something yet wanting. The following words, but take the High’st to witness, even though it be understood as an anticipation or assumption in this sense,—but now suppose that you take the Highest to witness,—has not sufficient relation to the antecedent sentence. I will propose a reading nearer to the surface, and let it take its chance.
Ber. How have I sworn!
Diana. ‘Tis not the many oaths, that make the truth, But the plain single vow, that is vow’d true.
Ber. What is not holy, that we swear not by. But take the High’st to witness.
Diana. Then, pray tell me. If I should swear, &c.
Bertram means to enforce his suit, by telling her, that he has bound himself to her, not by the pretty protestations usual among lovers, but by vows of greater solemnity. She then makes a proper and rational reply.
IV.ii.25 (96,7) [If I should swear by Jove’s great attributes] In the print of the old folio, it is doubtful whether it be Jove’s or Love’s, the characters being not distinguishable. If it is read Love’s, perhaps it may be something less difficult. I am still at a loss.
It may be read thus,
—”this has no holding, “To swear by him whom I attest to love, “That I will work against him.”
There is no consistence in expressing reverence for Jupiter by calling him to attest my love, and shewing at the same time, by working against him by a wicked passion, that I have no respect to the name which I invoke. (1773)
IV.ii.28 (96,8) [To swear by him whom I protest to love, That I will work against him] This passage likewise appears to me corrupt. She swears not by him whom she loves, but by Jupiter. I believe we may read, to swear to him. There is, says she, no holding, no consistency, in swearing to one that I love him, when I swear it only to injure him.
IV.ii.73 (98,9) [Since Frenchmen are so braid, Marry that will, I’ll live and die a maid] [W: Marry ’em] The passage is very unimportant, and the old reading reasonable enough. Nothing is more common than for girls, on such occasions, to say in a pet what they do not think, or to think for a time what they do not finally resolve.
IV.iii.7 (98,1) [I Lord] The later editors have with great liberality bestowed lordship upon these interlocutors, who, in the original edition, are called, with more propriety, capt. E. and capt. G. It is true that captain E. is in a former scene called lord E. but the subordination in which they seem to act, and the timorous manner in which they converse, determines them to be only captains. Yet as the later readers of Shakespeare have been used to find them lords, I have not thought it worth while to degrade them in the margin.
IV.iii.29 (99,2) [he, that in this action contrives against his own nobility, in his proper stream o’erflows himself] That is, betrays his own secrets in his own talk. The reply shows that this is the meaning.
IV.iii.38 (100,3) [he might take a measure of his own judgment] This is a very just and moral reason. Bertram, by finding how erroneously he has judged, will be less confident, and more easily moved by admonition.
IV.iii.113 (102,4) [bring forth this counterfeit module] [W: medal] Module being the pattern of any thing, may be here used in that sense. Bring forth this fellow, who, by counterfeit virtue pretended to make himself a pattern.
IV.iii.237 (106,8) [Dian. the Count’s a fool, and full of gold] After this line there is apparently a line lost, there being no rhime that corresponds to gold.
IV.iii.254 (106,9) [Half won, is match well made; match, and well make it] This line has no meaning that I can find. I read, with a very slight alteration, Half won is match well made; watch, and well make it. That is, a match well made is half won; watch, and make it well.
This is, in my opinion, not all the error. The lines are misplaced, and should be read thus:
Half won is match well made; watch, and well make it; when he swears oaths, bid him drop gold, and take it. After he scores, he never pays the score: He never pays after-debts, take it before. And say——
That is, take his money and leave him to himself. When the players had lost the second line, they tried to make a connection out of the rest. Part is apparently in couplets, and the note was probably uniform.
IV.iii.280 (107,1) [He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister] I know not that cloister, though it may etymologically signify any thing shut is used by our author, otherwise than for a monastery, and therefore I cannot guess whence this hyperbole could take its original: perhaps it means only this: He will steal any thing, however trifling, from any place, however holy.
IV.iii.307 (108,2) [he’s a cat still] That is, throw him how you will, he lights upon his legs. [Steevens offered another explanation] I an still of my former opinion. The same speech was applied by king James to Coke, with respect to his subtilties of law, that throw him which way we would, he could still like a cat light upon his legs. (see 1765, III,372,1)
IV.iii.317 (109,3) [Why does he ask him of me?] This is nature. Every man is on such occasions more willing to hear his neighbour’s character than his own.
IV.iii.332 (109,4) [Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition of that lascivious young boy the Count, have I run into this danger] That is, to deceive the opinion, to make the count think me a man that deserves well.
IV.iv.23 (III,6) [When saucy trusting of the cozen’d thoughts Defiles the pitchy night!] [W: When Fancy,] This conjecture is truly ingenious, but, I believe, the author of it will himself think it unnecessary, when he recollects that saucy may very properly signify luxurious, and by consequence lascivious.
[But with the word, the time will bring on summer, When briars shall have leaves as well as thorns, And be as sweet as sharp]
The meaning of this observation is, that as briars have sweetness with their prickles, so shall these troubles be recompensed with joy.
IV.iv.34 (112,8) [Our waggon is prepar’d, and time revives us] [W: revyes] The present reading is corrupt, and I am afraid the emendation none of the soundest. I never remember to have seen the word revye. One may as well leave blunders as make them. Why may we not read for a shift, without much effort,the time invites us?
IV.v.8 (114,1) [I would, I had not known him!] This dialogue serves to connect the incidents of Parolles with the main plan of the play.
IV.v.66 (116,4) [Laf. A shrewd knave, and an unhappy] That is, mischievously waggish; unlucky. (see 1765, III,379,3)
IV.v.70 (116,5) [he has no pace, but runs where he will] [Tyrrwhit: place] A pace is a certain or prescribed walk, so we say of a man meanly obsequious, that he has learned his paces. (1773) [(rev. 1778, IV,126,3]
[I will come after you, with what good speed Our means will make us means]
Shakespeare delights much in this kind of reduplication, sometimes so as to obscure his meaning. Helena says, they will follow with such speed as the means which they have will give them ability to exert.
V.ii.57 (123,3) [tho’ you are a fool and a knave, you shall eat] Parolles has many of the lineaments of Falstaff, and seems to be the character which Shakespeare delighted to draw, a fellow that had more wit than virtue. Though justice required that he should be detected and exposed, yet his vices sit so fit in himthat he is not at last suffered to starve.
V.iii.1 (123,4) [We lost a jewel of her, and our esteem Was made much poorer by it] Dr. Warburton, in Theobald’s edition, altered this word to estate, in his own he lets it stand and explains it by worth or estate. But esteem is here reckoning or estimate. Since the loss of Helen with her virtues andqualifications, our account is sunk; what we have to reckon ourselves king of, is much poorer than before.
V.iii.4 (123,5) [home] That is, completely, in its full extent.
V.iii.6 (123,6) [done i’ the blade of youth] In the spring of early life, when the man is yet green, oil and fire suit but ill with blade, and therefore Dr. Warburton reads, blaze of youth.
V.iii.21 (124,7) [the first view shall kill All repetition] The first interview shall put an end to all recollection of the past. Shakespeare is now hastening to the end of the play, finds his matter sufficient to fill up his remaining scenes, and therefore, as on other such occasions, contracts his dialogue and precipitates his action. Decency required that Bertram’s double crime of cruelty and disobedience, joined likewise with some hypocrisy, should raise more resentment; and that though his mother might easily forgive him, his king should more pertinaciously vindicate his own authority and Helen’s merit: of all this Shakespeare could not be ignorant, but Shakespeare wanted to conclude his play.
V.iii.50 (125,9) [My high repented blames] [A long note by Warburton] It was but just to insert this note, long as it is, because the commentator seems to think it of importance. Let the reader judge.
[Our own love, waking, cries to see what’s done, While shameful hate sleeps out the afternoon]
These two lines I should be glad to call an interpolation of a player. They are ill connected with the former, and not very clear or proper in themselves. I believe the author made two couplets to the same purpose, wrote them both down that he might take his choice, and so they happened to be both preserved.
For sleep I think we should read slept. Love cries to see what was done while hatred slept, and suffered mischief to be done. Or the meaning may be, that hatred still continues to sleep at ease, while love is weeping; and so the present reading may stand.
V.iii.93 (128,3) [In Florence was it from a casement thrown me] Bertram still continues to have too little virtue to deserve Helen. He did not know indeed that it was Helen’s ring, but he knew that he had it not from a window.
V.iii.95 (128,4) [Noble she was, and thought I stood engag’d] [T: I don’t understand this reading; if we are to understand, that she thought Bertram engag’d to her in affection, insnared by her charms, this meaning is too obscurely express’d.] The context rather makes me believe, that the poet wrote,
noble she was, and thought I stood ungag’d;——-
i.e. unengag’d: neither my heart, nor person, dispos’d of.—The plain meaning is, when she saw me receive the ring, she thought me engaged to her.
V.iii.101 (129,5) [King Plutus himself , That knows the tinct and multiplying medicine] Plutus the grand alchemist, who knows the tincture which confers the properties of gold upon base metals, and the matter by which gold is multiplied, by which a small quantity of gold is made to communicate its qualities to a large mass of metal.
In the reign of Henry the fourth a law was made to forbid all men thenceforth to multiply gold, or use any craft of multiplication. Of which law Mr. Boyle, when he was warm with the hope of transmutation, procured a repeal.
V.iii.105 (129,6) [Then if you know, That you are well acquainted with yourself] The true meaning of this strange [Warburton’s word] expression is, If you know that your faculties are so found, as that you have the proper consciousness of your own actions, and are able to recollect and relate what you have done, tell me. &c.
[My fore-past proofs, howe’er the matter fall, Shall tax my fears of little vanity, Having vainly fear’d too little]
The proofs which I have already had, are sufficient to show that my fears were not vain and irrational. I have rather been hither-to more easy than I ought, and have unreasonably had too little fear.
V.iii.131 (130,8) [Who hath, some four or five removes, come short] Removes are journies or post-stages.
V.iii.191 (133,1) [O, behold this ring. Whose high respect and rich validity] _Validity is a very bad word for value, which yet I think is its meaning, unless it be considered as making a contract valid.
[As all impediments in fancy’s course, Are motives of more fancy: and in fine, Her insult coming with her modern grace, Subdu’d me to her rate: she got the ring]
Every thing that obstructs love is an occasion by which love is heightened. And, to conclude, her solicitation concurring with her fashionable appearance, she got the ring.
I an not certain that I have attained the true meaning of the word modern, which, perhaps, signifies rather meanly pretty.
V.iii.296-305 (137,3) This dialogue is too long, since the audience already knew the whole transaction; nor is there any reason for puzzling the king and playing with his passions; but it was much easier than to make a pathetical interview between Helen and her husband, her mother, and the king.
V.iii.305 (137,4) [exorcist] This word is used not very properly for enchanter.
V.iii.339 (139,2) [Ours be your patience then, and yours our parts] The meaning is: Grant us then your patience; hear us without interruption. And take our parts; that is, support and defend us. (see 1765, III,399)
(139) General Observation. This play has many delightful scenes, though not sufficiently probable, and some happy characters, though not new, nor produced by any deep knowledge of human nature. Parolles is a boaster and a coward, such as has always been the sport of the stage, but perhaps never raised more laughter or contempt than in the hands of Shakespeare.
I cannot reconcile my heart to Bertram; a man noble without generosity, and young without truth; who marries Helen as a coward, and leaves her as a profligate: when she is dead by his unkindness, sneaks home to a second marriage, is accused by a woman whom he has wronged, defends himself by falsehood, and is dismissed to happiness.
The story of Bertram and Diana hod been told before of Mariana and Angelo, and, to confess the truth, scarcely merited to be heard a second time.
(142) The persons of the drama were first enumerated, with all the cant of the modern stage, by Mr. Rowe.
I.i.2 (143,2) [that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die] [W: app’tite, Love] It is true, we do not talk of the death of appetite, because we do not ordinarily speak in the figurative language of poetry; but that appetite sickens by a surfeit is true, and therefore proper.
I.i.21 (145,6) [That instant was I turn’d into a hart] This image evidently alludes to the story of Acteon, by which Shakespeare seems to think men cautioned against too great familiarity with forbidden beauty. Acteon, who saw Diana naked, and was torn in pieces by his hounds, represents a man, who indulging his eyes, or his imagination, with the view of a woman that he cannot gain, has his heart torn with incessant longing. An interpretation far more elegant and natural than that of Sir Francis Bacon, who, in his Wisdom of the Antients, supposes this story to warn us against enquiring into the secrets of princes, by shewing, that those who knew that which for reasons of state is to be concealed, will be detected and destroyed by their own servants.
I.ii.25 (147,9) [A noble Duke in nature, as in name] I know not whether the nobility of the name is comprised in Duke, or in Orsino, which is, I think, the name of a great Italian family.
[Vio. O, that I serv’d that lady; And might not be deliver’d to the world, ‘Till I had made mine own occasion mellow What my estate is!]
I wish I might not be made public to the world, with regard to the state of my birth and fortune, till I have gained a ripe opportunity for my design.
Viola seems to have formed a very deep design with very little premeditation: she is thrown by shipwreck on an unknown coast, hears that the prince is a batchelor, and resolves to supplant the lady whom he courts.
I.ii.55 (149,2) [I’ll serve this Duke] Viola is an excellent schemer, never at a loss; if she cannot serve the lady, she will serve the Duke.
I.iii.77 (152,5) [It’s dry, sir] What is the jest of dry hand, I know not any better than Sir Andrew. It may possibly mean, a hand with no money in it; or, according to the rules of physiognomy, she may intend to insinuate, that it is not a lover’s hand, a moist hand being vulgarly accounted a sign of an amorous constitution.
I.iii.148 (154,9) [Taurus? that’s sides and heart] Alluding to the medical astrology still preserved in almanacks, which refers the affections or particular parts of the body, to the predominance of particular constellations.
I.iv.34 (155,1) [And all is semblative—a woman’s part] That is, thy proper part in a play would be a woman’s. Women were then personated by boys.
I.v.9 (156,2) [lenten answer] A lean, or as we now call it, a dry answer.
I.v.39 (157,4) [Better be a witty fool, than a foolish wit] Hall, in his Chronicle, speaking of the death of Sir Thomas More, says, that he knows not whether to call him a foolish wise man, or a wise foolish man.
I.v.105 (159,5) [Now Mercury indue thee with leasing, for thou speak’st well of fools!] [W: pleasing] I think the present reading more humourous. May Mercury teach thee to lie, since thou liest in favour of fools.
I.v.213 (164,1) [to make one in so skipping a dialogue] Wild, frolick, mad.
I.v.218 (164,2) [Some mollification for your giant] Ladies, in romance, are guarded by giants, who repel all improper or troublesome advances. Viola seeing the waiting-maid so eager to oppose her message, intreats Olivia to pacify her giant.
[Oli. I do, I know not what; and fear to find Mine eye too great a flatterer for my mind]
I believe the meaning is; I am not mistress of my own actions, I am afraid that my eyes betray me, and flatter the youth without my consent, with discoveries of love.
II.i.15 (169,9) [to express myself] That is, to reveal myself.
II.i.28 (169,1) [with such estimable wonder] These words Dr. Warburton calls an interpolation of the players, but what did the players gain by it? they may be sometimes guilty of a joke without the concurrence of the poet, but they never lengthen a speech only to make it longer. Shakespeare often confounds the active and passive adjectives. Estimable wonder is esteeming wonder, or wonder and esteem. The meaning is, that he could not venture to think so highly as others of his sister.
II.ii.21 (171,2) [her eyes had lost her tongue] [W: crost] That the fascination of the eyes was called crossing ought to have been proved. But however that be, the present reading has not only sense but beauty. We say a man loses his company when they go one way and he goes another. So Olivia’s tongue lost her eyes; her tongue was talking of the Duke and her eyes gazing on his messenger.
II.ii.29 (171,3) [the pregnant enemy] is, I believe, the dexterous fiend, or enemy of mankind. (1773)
[How easy is it, for the proper false In women’s waxen hearts to set their forms]
This is obscure. The meaning is, how easy is disguise to women; how easily does their own falsehood, contained in their _waxen changeable hearts, enable them to assume deceitful appearances. The two next lines are perhaps transposed, and should be read thus,
For such as we are made, if such we be, Alas, our frailty is the cause, not we.
II.iii.27 (175,9) [I did impeticoat thy gratility] This, Sir T. Hammer tells us, is the same with impocket thy gratuity. He is undoubtedly right; but we must read, I did impeticoat thy gratuity. The fools were kept in long coats, to which the allusion is made. There is yet much in this dialogue which I do not understand.
II.iii.51 (176,1) [In delay there lies no plenty] [W: decay] I believe delay is right.
II.iii.52 (176,2) [Then come kiss me, sweet, and twenty] This line is obscure; we might read,
Come, a kiss then, sweet, and twenty.
Yet I know not whether the present reading be not right, for in some counties sweet and twenty, whatever be the meaning, is a phrase of endearment.
II.iii.59 (176,3) [make the welkin dance] That is, drink till the sky seems to turn round.
II.iii.75 (177,5) [They sing a catch] This catch is lost.
II.iii.81 (177,6) [Peg-a-Ramsey] Peg-a-Ramsey I do not understand. Tilly vally was an interjection of contempt, which Sir Thomas More a lady is recorded to have had very often in her mouth.
II.iii.97 (178,7) [ye squeak out your coziers catches] A Cozier is a taylor, from coudre to sew, part, consu, French, (see 1765, 11,383,2)
II.iii.128 (180,l) [rub your chain with crums] I suppose it should be read, rub your chin with crums, alluding to what had been said before that. Malvolio was only a steward, and consequently dined after his lady.
II.iii.131 (180,2) [you would not give means for this uncivil rule] Rule is, method of life, so misrule is tumult and riot.
II.iii.149 (181,3) [Possess us] That is, inform us, tell us, make us masters of the matter.
II.iv.5 (183,5) [light airs, and recollected terms] I rather think that recollected signifies, more nearly to its primitive sense, recalled, repeated, and alludes to the practice of composers, who often prolong the song by repetitions.
II.iv.26 (184,6) [favour] The word favour ambiguously used.
II.iv.35 (184,7) [lost and worn] Though lost and worn may means lost and worn out, yet lost and won being, I think, better, these two words coming usually and naturally together, and the alteration being very slight, I would so read in this place with Sir Tho. Hammer.
II.iv.46 (185,8) [free] is, perhaps, vacant, unengaged, easy in mind.
II.iv.47 (185,9) [silly sooth] It is plain, simple truth.
II.iv.49 (185,2) [old age] The old age is the ages past, the times of simplicity.
II.iv.58 (185,3) [My part of death no one so true Did share it] Though death is a part in which every one acts his share, yet of all these actors no one is so true as I.
[But ’tis that miracle, and queen of gems, That nature pranks her in]
[W: pranks, her mind] The miracle and queen of gems is her beauty, which the commentator might have found without so emphatical an enquiry. As to her mind, he that should be captious would say, that though it may be formed by nature it must be pranked by education.
Shakespeare does not say that nature pranks her in a miracle, but in the miracle of gems, that is, in a gem miraculously beautiful.
II.v.43 (191,2) [the lady of the Strachy] [W: We should read Trachy. i.e. Thrace; for so the old English writers called it] What we should read is hard to say. Here it an allusion to some old story which I have not yet discovered.
II.v.51 (191,3) [stone-bow] That is, a cross-bow, a bow which shoots stones.
II.v.66 (192,4) [wind up my watch] In our author’s time watches were very uncommon. When Guy Faux was taken, it was urged as a circumstance of suspicion that a watch was found upon him.
II.v.70 (192,5) [Tho’ our silence be drawn from us with carts] I believe the true reading is, Though our silence be drawn from us with carts, yet peace. In the The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one of the Clowns says, I have a mistress, but who that is, a team of horses shall not draw from me. So in this play,Oxen and wainropes will not bring them together.
II.v.97 (193,7) [her great P‘s] [Steevens: In the direction of the letter which Malvolio reads, there is neither a C, nor a P, to be found] There may, however, be words in the direction which he does not read. To formal directions of two ages ago were often added these words, Humbly Present. (1773)
II.v.144 (195,2) [And O shall end, I hope] By O is here meant what we now call a hempen collar.
II.v.207 (197,6) [tray-trip] The word tray-trip I do not understand.
II.v.215 (198,7) [aqua vitae] Is the old name of strong waters.
III.i.57 (200,9) [lord Pandarus] See our author’s play of Troilus and Cressida.
III.i.71 (200,1) [And, like the haggard, check at every feather] The meaning may be, that he must catch every opportunity, as the wild hawk strikes every bird. But perhaps it might be read more properly,
Not like the haggard.
He must chuse persons and times, and observe tempers, he must fly at proper game, like the trained hawk, and not fly at large like the haggard, to seize all that comes in his way. (1773)
III.i.75 (201,2) [But wise-men’s folly fall’n] Sir Thomas Hammer reads, folly shewn. [The sense is, But wise men’s folly, when it is once fallen into extravagance, overpowers their discretion. Revisal.] I explain it thus. The folly which he shows with proper adaptation to persons and times, is fit, has its propriety, and therefore produces no censure; but the folly of wise men when it falls or happens, taints their wit, destroys the reputation of their judgment. (see 1765, II,402,2)
III.i.86 (202,4) [she is the list of my voyage] Is the bound, limit, farthest point.
III.i.100 (202,5) [most pregnant and vouchsafed ear] Pregnant is a word in this writer of very lax signification. It may here mean liberal. (1773)
III.i.123 (203,6) [After the last enchantment (you did hear)] [W: enchantment you did here] The present reading is no more nonsense than the emendation.
III.i.132 (203,8) [a Cyprus] Is a transparent stuff.
III.i.135 (204,9) [a grice] Is a step, sometimes written greese from degres, French.
III.i.170 (205,1) [I have one heart, one bosom, and one truth, And that no woman has] And that heart and boson I have never yielded to any woman.
III.ii.45 (207,5) [Go, write it in a martial hand; be curst and brief] Martial hand, seems to be a careless scrawl, such as shewed the writer to neglect ceremony. Curst, is petulant, crabbed—a curst cur, is a dog that with little provocation snarls and bites. (1773)
III.iv.61 (213,1) [midsummer madness] Hot weather often turns the brain, which is, I suppose, alluded to here.
III.iv.82 (214,3) [I have lim’d her] I have entangled or caught her, as a bird is caught with birdlime.
III.iv.85 (214,4) [Fellow:] This word which originally signified companion, was not yet totally degraded to its present meaning; and Malvolio takes it in the favourable sense.
III.iv.130 (215,6) [Hang him, foul collier] The devil is called Collier for his blackness, Like will to like, says the Devil to the Collier. (1773)
III.iv.154 (216,7) [a finder of madmen] This is, I think, an allusion to the witch-finders, who were very busy.
III.iv.184 (217,8) [God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine, but my hope is better] We may read, He may have mercy upon thine, but my hope is better. Yet the passage may well enough stand without alteration.
It were much to be wished, that Shakespeare in this and some other passages, had not ventured so near profaneness.
III.iv.228 (218,9) [wear this jewel for me] Jewel does not properly signify a single gem, but any precious ornament or superfluity.
III.iv.257 (219,2) [Be is knight, dubb’d with unhack’d rapier, and on carpet consideration] That is, he is no soldier by profession, not a Knight Banneret, dubbed in the field of battle, but, on carpet consideration, at a festivity, or on sone peaceable occasion, when knights receive their dignity kneeling not on the ground, as in war, but on a carpet. This is, I believe, the original of the contemptuous term a carpet knight, who was naturally held in scorn by the men of war.
III.iv.301 (222,4) [I have not seen such a virago] Virago cannot be properly used here, unless we suppose Sir Toby to mean, I never saw one that had so much the look of woman with the prowess of man.
III.iv.408 (225,7) [Methinks, his words do from such passion fly, That he believes himself;—so do not I]
This I believe, means, I do not yet believe myself, when, from this accident, I gather hope of my brother’s life.
IV.i.14 (227,8) [I am afraid this great lubber the world will prove a cockney] That is, affectation and foppery will overspread the world.
IV.i.57 (228,2) [In this uncivil and unjust extent] Extent is, in law, a writ of execution, whereby goods are seized for the king. It is therefore taken here for violence in general.
IV.i.60 (228,3) [This ruffian hath botch’d up] I fancy it is only a coarse expression for made up, as a bad taylor is called a botcher. and to botch is to make clumsily.
IV.i.63 (229,4) [He started one poor heart of mine in thee] I know not whether here be not an ambiguity intended between heart and hart. The sense however is easy enough. He that offends thee attacks one of my hearts; or, as the antients expressed it, half my heart.
IV.i.64 (229,5) [What relish is this?] How does it taste? What judgment am I to make of it?
IV.ii.53 (231,9) [constant question] A settled, a determinate, a regular question.
IV.ii.68 (232,1) [Nay, I am for all waters] I rather think this expression borrowed from sportsmen, and relating to the qualifications of a complete spaniel.
IV.ii.99 (233,2) [They have here property’d me] They have taken possession of me as of a man unable to look to himself.
IV.ii.107 (233,3) [Maintain no words with him] Here the Clown in the dark acts two persons, and counterfeits, by variation of voice, a dialogue between himself and Sir Topas.—I Will, sir, I Will. is spoken after a pause, as if, in the mean time, Sir Topas had whispered.
IV.ii.121 (234,4) [tell me true, are you not mad, indeed, or do you but counterfeit?] If he was not mad, what did be counterfeit by declaring that he was not mad? The fool, who meant to insult him, I think, asks, are you mad, or do you but counterfeit? That is, you look like a madman, you talk like a madman:Is your madness real, or have you any secret design in it? This, to a man in poor Malvolio’s state, was a severe taunt.
IV.ii.134 (234,5) [like to the old vice] Vice was the fool of the old moralities. Some traces of this character are still preserved in puppet-shows, and by country mummers.
IV.ii.141 (235.6)‘Adieu, goodman devil] This last line has neither rhime nor meaning. I cannot but suspect that the fool translates Malvolio’s name, and says,
Adieu, goodman mean-evil. (1773)
IV.iii.12 (236,8) [all instance, all discourse] Instance is example. (see 1765, II,433,9)
IV.iii.15 (236,9) [To any other trust] To any other belief, or confidence, to any other fixed opinion.
IV.iii.29 (236,1) [Whiles] Is until. This word is still so used in the northern counties. It is, I think, used in this sense in the preface to the Accidence.
IV.iii.33 (237,2) [And, having sworn truth, ever will be true] Truth is fidelity.
V.i.23 (238,3) [so that, conclusions to be as kisses, if your four negatives make your two affirmatives, why, then the worse for my friends, and the better for my foes] Though I do not discover much ratiocination in the Clown’s discourse, yet, methinks, I can find some glimpse of a meaning in his observation, that the conclusion is as kisses. For, says he, if four negatives make two affirmatives, the conclusion is as kisses; that is, the conclusion follows by the conjunction of two negatives, which, by kissing and embracing, coalesce into one, and make an affirmative. What the four negatives are I do not know. I read, So that conclusions be as kisses.
V.i.42 (239,4) [bells of St. Bennet] When in this play he mentioned the bed of Ware, he recollected that the scene was in Illyria, and added in England; but his sense of the same impropriety could not restrain him from the bells of St. Bennet.
V.i.67 (240,5) [desperate of shame, and state] Unattentive to his character or his condition, like a desperate man.
V.i.112 (241,5) [as fat and fulsome] [W: flat] Fat means dull; so we say a fatheaded fellow; fat likewise means gross, and is sometimes used for obscene; and fat is more congruent to fulsome than flat.
V.i.168 (244,7) [case] Case is a word used contemptuously for skin. We yet talk of a fox case, meaning the stuffed skin of a fox.
V.i.204 (246,9) [A natural perspective] A perspective seems to be taken for shows exhibited through a glass with such lights as make the pictures appear really protruberant. The Duke therefore says, that nature has here exhibited such a show, where shadows seem realities; where that which is not appears like that which is.
V.i.306 (249,3) [but to read his right wits, is to read thus] Perhaps so,—but to read his wits right is to read thus. To represent his present state of mind, is to read a madman’s letter, as I now do, like a madman. (1773)
V.i.326 (249,4) [One day shall crown the alliance on’t, so please you] [Revisal: an’t so] This is well conjectured; but on’t may relate to the double character of sister and wife. (1773)
V.i.347 (250,5) [to frown Upon sir Toby, and the lighter people] People of less dignity or importance.
V.i.351 (250,6) [geck] A fool.
(253) General Observation. This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely humorous. Ague—cheek is drawn with great propriety, but his character is, in a great measure, that of natural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly comic; he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The marriage of Olivia, and the succeeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life.
THE WINTER’S TALE
(257,1) The story of this play is taken from the Pleasaunt History of Dorastus and Fawnia, written by Robert Greene. (1773)
I.i.9 (258,2) [Wherein our entertainment shall shame us, we will be justified in our loves] Though we cannot give you equal entertainment, yet the consciousness of our good-will shall justify us.
I.i.30 (258,3) [royally attornied] Nobly supplied by substitution of embassies, &c.
l.i.43 (259,4) [physicks the subject] Affords a cordial to the state; has the power of assuaging the sense of misery.
I.ii.13 (259,5) [that may blow No sneaping rinds] That may blow is a Gallicism, for may there blow. (1773)
I.ii.31 (261,6) [All in Bohemia’s well: this satisfaction The bygone day proclaim’d] We had satisfactory accounts yesterday of the state of Bohemia. (1773)
I.ii.123 (266,6) [We must be neat] Leontes, seeing his son’s nose smutched, cries, We must be neat, then recollecting that neat is the term for horned cattle, he says, not neat, but cleanly.
I.ii.125 (266,7) [Still virginalling] Still playing with her fingers, as a girl playing on the virginals.
I.ii.132 (266,8) [As o’er-dy’d blacks] Sir T. Hammer understands, blacks died too much, and therefore rotten.
I.ii.136 (267,9) [welkin-eye] Blue eye; an eye of the same colour with the welkin, or sky.
I.ii.139 (267,2) [Thou dost make possible things not so held] i.e. thou dost make those things possible, which are conceived to be impossible. (1773)
I.ii.161,3 (268,3) [will you take eggs for mony?] This seems to be a proverbial expression, used when a man sees himself wronged and makes no resistance. Its original, or precise meaning, I cannot find, but I believe it means, will you be a cuckold for hire. The cuckow is reported to lay her eggs in another bird’s nest; he therefore that has eggs laid in his nest, is said to be cocullatus, cuckow’d, or cuckold.
I.ii.163 (268,4) [happy man be his dole!] May his dole or share in life be to be a happy man.
I.ii.176 (269,5) [he’s Appareat to my heart] That is, heir apparent.or the next claimant.
I.ii.186 (269,6) [a fork’d one] That is, a horned one; a cuckold.
I.ii.217 (270,9) [whispering, rounding] To round in the ear, is to whisper, or to tell secretly. The expression is very copiously explained by H. Casaubon, in his book de Ling. Sax.
I.ii.227 (271,1) [lower messes] Mess is a contraction of Master, as Mess John. Master John; an appellation used by the Scots, to those who have taken their academical degree. Lower Messes, therefore are graduates of a lower form.
The speaker is now mentioning gradations of understanding, and not of rank, (see 1765, II,244,9)
I.ii.260 (372,2) [Whereof the execution did cry out Against the nonperformance] This is one of the expressions by which Shakespeare too frequently clouds his meaning. This sounding phrase means, I think, no more than a thing necessary to be done. [Revisal; the now-performance] I do not see that this attempt does any thing more, than produce a harsher word without on easier sense, (see 1765, II,245,1)
I.ii.320 (275,5) [But with a ling’ring dram, that should not work, Maliciously, like poison] [Hammer: Like a malicious poison] Rash is hasty, as in another place, rash gunpowder. Maliciously is malignantly, with effects openly hurtful. Shakespeare had no thought of betraying the user. The Oxford emendation is harmless and useless.
[But I cannot Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress, So sovereignly being honourable. Leo. I have lov’d thee—Make that thy question, and go rot!]
[Theobald had emended the text to give the words “I have lov’d thee” to Leontes] I have admitted this alteration, as Dr. Warburton has done, but am not convinced that it is necessary. Camillo, desirous to defend the queen, and willing to secure credit to his apology, begins, by telling the king that he has loved him, is about to give instances of his love, and to infer from them his present zeal, when he is interrupted.
I.ii.394 (278,7) [In whose success we are gentle] I know not whether success here does not mean succession.
I.ii.424 (279,1) [Cam. Swear this thought over By each particular star in heaven] [T: this though] Swear his thought over
May however perhaps mean, overswear his present persuasion, that is, endeavour to overcome his opinion, by swearing oaths numerous as the stars. (1773)
I.ii.458 (281,3) [Good expedition be my friend, and comfort The gracious queen] [W: queen’s] Dr. Warburton’s conjecture is, I think, just; but what shall be done with the following words, of which I can make nothing? Perhaps the line which connected them to the rest, is lost.
—and comfort The gracious queen, part of his theme, but nothing Of his ill-ta’en suspicion!
Jealousy is a passion compounded of love and suspicion, this passion is the theme or subject of the king’s thoughts.—Polixenes, perhaps, wishes the queen, for her comfort, so much of that theme or subject as is good, but deprecates that which causes misery. May part of the king’s present sentiments comfort the queen, but away with his suspicion. This is such meaning as can be picked out. (1773)
II.i.38 (283,4) [Alack, for lesser knowledge!] That is, O that my knowledge were less.
II.i.50 (284,5) [He hath discover’d my design, and I Remain a pinch’d thing] [Revisal: The sense, I think, is, He hath now discovered my design, and I am treated as a mere child’s baby, a thing pinched out of clouts, a puppet for them to move and actuate as they please.] This sense is possible, but many other meanings might serve as well. (1773)
[No, if I mistake In these foundations which I build upon, The center is not big enough to bear A school-boy’s top]
That is, if the proofs which I can offer will not support the opinion I have formed, no foundation can be trusted.
II.i.104 (286,8) [He, who shall speak for her, is far off guilty, But that he speaks] [T: far of] It is strange that Mr. Theobald could not find out that far off guilty, signifies, guilty in a remote degree.
II.i.121 (287,9) [this action] The word action is here taken in the lawyer’s sense, for indictment, charge, or accusation.
II.i.143 (288,2) [land-damn him] Sir T. Hammer interprets, stop his urine. Land or lant being the old word for urine.
Land-damn is probably one of those words which caprice brought into fashion, and which, after a short time, reason and grammar drove irrecoverably away. It perhaps meant no more than I will rid the country of him; condemn him to quit the land, (see 1765, II,259,2)
II.i.177 (290,5) [nought for approbation, But only seeing] Approbation, in this place, is put for proof.
II.i.185 (290,6) [stuff’d sufficiency] That is, of abilities more than enough.
II.i.195 (291,7) [Left that the treachery of the two, fled hence, Be left her to perform] He has before declared, that there is a plot against his life and crown, and that Hermione is federary with Polixenes and Camillo.
II.iii.5 (294,9) [out of the blank And level of my brain] Beyond the aim of any attempt that I can make against him. Blank and level are terms of archery.
II.iii.60 (296,1) [And would by combat make her good, so were I A man, the worst about you] The worst means only the lowest. Were I the meanest of your servants, I would yet claim the combat against any accuser.
II.iii.67 (297,2) [A mankind witch:] A mankind woman, is yet used in the midland counties, for a woman violent, ferocious, and mischievous. It has the same sense in this passage. Witches are supposed to be mankind, to put off the softness and delicacy of women, therefore Sir Hugh, in the Merry Wives of Windsor, says, of a woman inspected to be a witch, that he does not like when a woman has a beard. Of this meaning Mr. Theobald has given examples.
II.iii.77 (298, 5)
[Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou Tak’st up the princess, by that forced baseness]
Leontes had ordered Antigonus to take up the bastard, Paulina forbids him to touch the princess under that appellation. Forced is false, uttered with violence to truth.
II.iii.106 (299, 6) [No yellow in’t] Yellow is the colour of jealousy.
II.iii.181 (301, 8) [commend it strangely to some place] Commit to some place, as a stranger, without more provision.
III.i.2 (302, 9) [Fertile the isle] [Warburton objected to “isle” as impossible geographically and offered “soil”] Shakespeare is little careful of geography. There is no need of this emendation in a play of which the whole plot depends upon a geographical error, by which Bohemia is supposed to be a maritime country.
III.i.3 (303, 1) [I shall report, For most it caught me] [W: It shames report, Foremost] Of this emendation I see no reason; the utmost that can be necessary is, to change, it caught me, to they caught me; but even this may well enough be omitted. It may relate to the whole spectacle.
III.i.14 (304, 2) [The time is worth the use on’t] [W: The use is worth the time on’t] Either reading may serve, but neither is very elegant. The time is worth the use on’t, means, the time which we have spent in visiting Delos, has recompensed us for the trouble of so spending it.
III.ii.18 (305, 4) [pretence] Is, in this place, taken for a scheme laid, a design formed; to pretend means to design, in the Gent. of Verona.
III.ii.27 (305, 5) [mine integrity, Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it, Be so receiv’d] That is, my virtue being accounted wickedness, my assertion of it will pass but for a lie. Falsehood means both treachery and lie.
III.ii.43 (306, 6) [For life I prize it As I weigh grief which I would spare] Life is to me now only grief, and as such only is considered by me, I would therefore willingly dismiss it.
III.ii.44 (306, 5) [I would spare] To spare any thing is to let it go. to quit the possession of it. (1773)
III.ii.49 (306, 7)
[Since he came, With what encounter so uncurrent I Have strain’d, to appear thus?]
These lines I do not understand; with the license of all editors, what I cannot understand I suppose unintelligible, and therefore propose that they may be altered thus,
————Since he came, With what encounter so uncurrent have I Been stain’d to appear thus.
At least I think it might be read,
With what encounter so uncurrent have I Strain’d to appear thus? If one Jet beyond. (see 1765, II,276,5)
[I ne’er heard yet, That any of those bolder vices wanted Less impudence to gain—say what they did, Than to perform it first]
It is apparent that according to the proper, at least according to the present, use of words, less should be more, or wanted should be had. But Shakespeare is very uncertain in his use of negatives. It nay be necessary once to observe, that in our language two negatives did not originally affirm, but strengthen the negation. This mode of speech was in time changed, but as the change was made in opposition to long custom, it proceeded gradually, and uniformity was not obtained but through an intermediate confusion.
III.ii.82 (308,9) [My life stands in the level of your dreams] To be in the level is by a metaphor from archery to be within the reach.
III.ii.85 (308,1) [As you were past all shame, (Those of your fact are so) [so past all truth] I do not remember that fact is used any where absolutely for guilt, which must be its sense in this place. Perhaps we may read,
Those of your pack are so.
Pack is a low coarse word well suited to the rest of this royal invective.
III.ii.107 (309,3) [I have got strength of limit] I know not well how strength of limit can mean strength to pass the limits of the childbed chamber, which yet it must mean in this place, unless we read in a more easy phrase, strength of limb. And now, &c.
III.ii.123 (310,4) [The flatness of my misery] That is, how low, how flat I am laid by my calamity.
III.ii.146 (310,5) [Of the queen’s speed] Of the event of the queen’s trial: so we still say, he sped well or ill.
III.ii.173 (311,6) [Does my deeds make the blacker!] This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confession of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers, and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt.
[That thou betray’dst Polixenes, ’twas nothing That did but shew thee, of a fool, inconstant, And damnable ungrateful]
[T: of a soul] [W: shew thee off, a fool] Poor Mr. Theobald’s courtly remark cannot be thought to deserve much notice. Or. Warburton too might have spared his sagacity if he had remembered, that the present reading, by a mode of speech anciently much used, means only, It shew’d thee first a fool, theninconstant and ungrateful.
III.ii.219 (314,9) [I am sorry for’t] This it another instance of the sudden changes incident to vehement and ungovernable minds.
III.iii.1 (315,1) [Thou art perfect then] Perfect is often used by Shakeapeare for certain, well assured, or well informed.
III.iii.56 (317,2) [A savage clamour!—Well may I get aboard—This is the chace] This clamour was the cry of the dogs and hunters; then seeing the bear, he cries, this is the chace. or, the animal pursued.
IV.i.6 (321,9) [and leave the growth untry’d Of that wide gap] [W: gulf untry’d] This emendation is plausible, but the common reading is consistent enough with our author’s manner, who attends more to his ideas than to his words. The growth of the wide gap, is some-what irregular; but he means, the growth, or progression of the time which filled up the gap of the story between Perdita’s birth and her sixteenth year. To leave this growth untried, is to leave the passages of the intermediate years unnoted and unexamined. Untried is not, perhaps, the word which he would have chosen, but which his rhyme required.
[since it is in my power To o’erthrow law, and in one self-born hour To plant and o’erwhelm custom. Let me pass The same I am, ere ancient’st order was, Or what is now receiv’d]
The reasoning of Time is not very clear! he seems to mean, that he who has broke so many laws may now break another; that he who introduced every thing, may introduce Perdita on her sixteenth year; and he intreats that he may pass as of old, before any order or succession of objects, ancient or modern, distinguished his periods.
[Imagine me, Gentle spectators, that I now may be In fair Bohemia]
Time is every where alike. I know not whether both sense and grammar may not dictate,
—imagine we, Gentle spectators, that_ you now may be, &c. Let us imagine that you, who behold these scenes, are now in Bohemia?
IV.i.29 (322,3) [Is the argument of time] Argument is the same with subject.
IV.i.32 (322,4) [He wishes earnestly you newer may] I believe this speech of time rather begins the fourth act than concludes the third.
IV.ii.21 (323,6) [and my profit therein, the heaping friendships] [W. reaping] I see not that the present reading is nonsense; the sense of heaping friendships is, though like many other of our author’s, unusual, at least unusual to modern ears, is not very obscure. To be more thankful shall be my study; and my profit therein the heaping friendships. That is, I will for the future be more liberal of recompence, from which I shall receive this advantage, that as I heap benefits I shall heap friendships, as I confer favours on thee I shall increase the friendship between us.
IV.ii.35 (324,7) [but I have, missingly, noted] [W. missing him] [Hammer; musingly noted] I see not how the sense is mended by Sir T. Hammer’s alteration, nor how is it at all changed by Dr. Warburton’s.
[Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year; For the red blood reigns in the winter pale]
Dr. Thirlby reads, perhaps rightly, certainly with much more probability, and easiness of construction;
For the red blood runs in the winter pale. That is, for the red blood runs pale in the winter. Sir T. Banner reads,
For the red blood reigns o’er the winter’s pale.
IV.iii.7 (326,1) [pugging tooth] Sir T. Hammer, and after his, Dr. Warburton, read, progging tooth. It is certain that pugging is not now understood. But Dr. Thirlby observes, that this is the cant of gypsies.
IV.iii.28 (327,7) [Gallows, and knock, are too powerful on the highway; beating and hanging are terrors to me] The resistance which a highwayman encounters in the fact, and the punishment which he suffers on detection, withold me from daring robbery, and determine me to the silly cheat and petty theft. (1773)
IV.iii.99 (330,4) [abide] To abide, here, must signify, to sojourn, to live for a time without a settled habitation.
IV.iv.6 (331,7) [To chide at your extremes, it not becomes me] That is, your excesses, the extravagance of your praises.
IV.iv.8 (331,8) [The gracious mark o’ the land] The object of all men’s notice and expectation.
IV.iv.13 (332,9) [sworn, 1 think, To shew myself a glass] [Banner: swoon] Dr. Thirlby inclines rather to Sir T. Hanmer’s emendation, which certainly makes an easy sense, and is, in my opinion, preferable to the present reading. But concerning this passage I know not what to decide.
IV.ii.21 (333,1) [How would he look, to see his work, so noble, Vilely bound up!] It is impossible for any man to rid his mind of his profession. The authorship of Shakespeare has supplied him with a metaphor, which rather than he would lose it, he has put with no great propriety into the month of a country maid. Thinking of his own works, his mind passed naturally to the binder. I am glad that he has no hint at an editor.
IV.ii.76 (335,2) [Grace and remembrance] Rue was called herb of grace. Rosemary was the emblem of remembrance; I know not why, unless because it was carried at funerals. (see 1765, II,300,5)
[Each your doing, So singular in each particular, Crowns what you’re doing in the present deeds] That is, your manner in each act crowns the act.
IV.iv.155 (338,8) [Per. I’ll swear for ’em] I fancy this half line is placed to a wrong person. And that the king begins his speech aside
Pol. I’ll swear for ’em This is the prettiest. &c.
IV.iv.164 (339,1) [we stand upon our manners] That is, we are now on our behaviour.
IV.iv.169 (339,2) [a worthy feeding] I conceive feeding to be a pasture, and a worthy feeding to be a tract of pasturage not inconsiderable, not unworthy of my daughter’s fortune.
IV.iv.204 (340,3) [unbraided wares?] Surely we must read braided, for such are all the wares mentioned in the answer.
IV.iv.212 (341,5) [sleeve-band] Is put very properly by Sir T. Hammer, it was before sleeve—hand.
IV.iv.316 (346,9) [sad] For serious. (1773)
IV.iv.330 (346,1) [That doth utter all mens’ wear-a] To utter. To bring out, or produce. (1773)
IV.iv.333 (347,3) [all men of hair] [W: i.e. nimble, that leap as if they rebounded] This is a strange interpretation. Errors, says Dryden, flow upon the surface, but there are men who will fetch them from the bottom. Men of hair, are hairy men, or satyrs. A dance of satyrs was no unusual entertainment in the middle ages. At a great festival celebrated in France, the king and some of the nobles personated satyrs dressed in close habits, tufted or shagged all over, to imitate hair. They began a wild dance, and in the tumult of their merriment one of them went too near a candle and set fire to his satyr’s garb, the flame ran instantly over the loose tufts, and spread itself to the dress of those that were next him; a great number of the dancers were cruelly scorched, being neither able to throw off their coats nor extinguish them. The king had set himself in the lap of the dutchess of Burgundy, who threw her robe over him and saved him.
IV.iv.338 (347,4) [bowling] Bowling, I believe, is here a term for a dance of smooth motion with great exertion of agility.
IV.iv.411 (350,6) [dispute his own estate?] Perhaps for dispute we might read compute; but dispute his estate may be the same with talk over his affairs.
IV.iv.441 (351,7) [Not hold thee of our blood, no, not our kin, Far than Deucalion off] I think for far than we should read far as. We will not hold thee of our kin even so far off as Deucalion the common ancestor of all.
IV.iv.493 (354,2) [and by my fancy] It must be remembered that fancy in this author very often, as in this place, means love.
IV.iv.551 (356,3) [Ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies] As chance has driven me to these extremities, so I commit myself to chance to be conducted through them.
IV.iv.613 (359,6) [as if my trinkets had been hallowed] This alludes to beads often sold by the Romanists, as made particularly efficacious by the touch of some relick.
IV.iv.651 (360,7) [boot] that is, something over and above, or, as we now say, something to boot.
IV.iv.734 (362,9) [pedler’s excrement] Is pedler’s beard, (see 1765, II,323,2)
IV.iv.748 (363,1) [therefore they do not give us the lye] [W: do give] The meaning is, they are paid for lying, therefore they do not give us the lye, they sell it us. (1773)
IV.iv.768 (363,2) [Advocate’s the court-word for a pheasant] This satire, or this pleasantry, I confess myself not well to understand.
IV.iv.779 (364,3) [A great man, I’ll warrant; I know, by the picking on’s teeth] It seems, that to pick the teeth was, at this time, a mark of some pretension to greatness or elegance. So the Bastard in King John, speaking of the traveller, says,
He and his pick-tooth at my worship’s mess.
IV.iv.816 (365,4) [the hottest day prognostication proclaims] That is, the hottest day foretold in the almanack.
V.i.14 (368,7) [Or, from the All that are, took something good] This is a favourite thought; it was bestowed on Miranda and Rosalind before.
V.i,19 (368,8) [What were more holy, Than to rejoice, the former queen is well] [W: rejoice the…queen? This will.] This emendation is one of those of which many may be made; It is such as we may wish the authour had chosen, but which we cannot prove that he did chuse; the reasons for it are plausible, but not cogent.
V.i.58 (370,9) [on this stage, (Where we offend her now)] [The offenders now appear] The Revisal reads,
Were we offenders now——
very reasonably. (1773)
V.i.74 (371,1) [Affront his eye] To affront, is to meet.
V.i.98 (372,2) [Sir, you yourself Have said, and writ so] The reader must observe, that so relates not to what precedes, but to what follows that, she had not been’——equall’d.
V.i.159 (374, 3) [whose daughter His tears proclaim’d his, parting with her] This is very ungrammatical and obscure. We aay better read,
——whose daughter His tears proclaim’d her parting with her.
The prince first tells that the lady came from Lybia. the king interrupting him, says, from Smalus; from him, says the prince, whose tears, at parting, shewed her to be his daughter.
V.i.214 (376, 4) [Your choice is not so rich in worth as beauty] [W. in birth] Worth is as proper as birth. Worth signifies any kind of worthiness, and among others that of high descent. The King means that he is sorry the prince’s choice is not in other respects as worthy of him as in beauty.
V.ii.105 (380, 5) [that rare Italian meter, Jolio Romano] [Theobald praised the passage but called it an anachronism] Poor Theobald’s eucomium of this passage is not very happily conceired or expressed, nor is the passage of any eminent excellence; yet a little candour will clear Shakespeare from part of the impropriety imputed to him. By eternity he means only i_mmortality_, or that part of eternity which is to come; so we talk of eternal renown and eternal infamy. Immortality may subsist without divinity, and therefore the meaning only is, that if Julio could always continue his labours, he would mimick nature.
V.ii.107 (381, 6) [would beguile nature of her custom] That is, of her trade,—would draw her customers from her.
V.ii.118 (381, 7) [Who would be thence, that has the benefit of access?] It was, I suppose, only to spare his own labour that the poet put this whole scene into narrative, for though part of the transaction was already known to the audience, and therefore could not properly be shewn again, yet the two kings might have met upon the stage, and after the examination of the old shepherd, the young lady might have been recognised in sight of the spectators.
V.ii.173 (383, 8) [franklins say it] Franklin is a freeholder, or yeoman, a man above a Villain, but not a gentleman.
V.ii.179 (383 ,9) [tall fellow] Tall, in that time, was the word used for stout.
V.iii.17 (384,1) [therefore I keep it Lonely, apart] [Hammer: lovely] I am yet inclined to lonely, which in the old angular writing cannot be distinguished from lovely. To say, that I keep it alone, separate from the rest, is a pleonasm which scarcely any nicety declines.
V.iii.46 (385,2) [Oh, patience] That is, Stay a while, be not go eager.
[Indeed, my lord, If I had thought, the sight of my poor image Would thus have wrought you, (for the stone is mine) I’d not have shew’d it]
[Tyrwhitt: for the stone i’ th’ mine] To change an accurate expression for an expression confessedly not accurate, has somewhat of retrogradation. (1773)
V.iii.131 (389,6) [You precious winners all] You who by this discovery have gained what you desired may join in festivity, in which I, who have lost what never can be recovered, can have no part.
(300) General Observation, Of this play no edition is known published before the folio of 1623.
This play, as Dr. Warburton justly observes, is, with all its absurdities, very entertaining. The character of Antolycus is very naturally conceived, and strongly represented, (see 1765, II, 349)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
General Introduction Introduction on Comedies Notes to _The Tempest The Two Gentlemen of Verona The Merry Wives of Windsor Measure for Measure The Comedy of Errors Much Ado About Nothing Love’s Labour’s Lost A Midsummer-Night’s Dream The Merchant of Venice As You Like It The Taming of the Shrew All’s Well that Ends Well Twelfth-Night The Winter’s Tale