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The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking pitch,
6 But that the sea, &c.] So in King Lear :
“ The sea in such a storm as his bare head
“ And quench'd the stelled fires,” Malone. Thus, in Chapman's version of the 21st Iliad :
- as if his waves would drowne the skie,
“ And put out all the sphere of fire.” Steevens, 7 CREATures in her,] The old copy reads-creature; but the preceding as well as subsequent words of Miranda seem to demand the emendation which I have received from Theobald.
STEEVENS. - or e'er -] i. e. before. So, in Ecclesiastes, xii. 6: “ Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken- ." Again, in our author's Cymbeline :
or e'er I could “ Give him that parting kiss " STEEVENS. Mr. Douce, in his Illustrations of Shakspeare, says, that 'the word e'er should be written ere, and not ever, nor contractedly e'er, with which it has no connexion. It is pure Saxon æn. The corruption in Ecclesiastes cited in the note [by Mr. Steevens] is as old as the time of Henry the Eighth.'
Mr. Douce's opinions leave room for controversy on very few occasions indeed, on this, however, it may be observed :
1st. That the use of or for ere is, at least, as old as Chaucer's time. See Canterbury Tales :
" Yet would he have a ferthing or he went.” V. 257.
bell.” V. 12596. “ For paramour I loved him first or thou.” V. 1157. And 2d. That the Saxon æn and æfre-[æn-prius, antequam, priusquam,-ere, or,--sooner than, before ;-æfre-aliquando, unquam,-ever, e'er,--at any time ;) are two distinct words. Ere ever, or ever, or ere, is, in more modern English, sooner than
It should the good ship so have swallowed, and
O, woe the day!
More to know
* First folio, fraughting. at any time ; and this is the sense in which Shakspeare and the elder authors constantly use the phrase.
The other meanings of these two Saxon words, being inapplicable to the present question, are purposely passed by. Kemble.
9 Pro. No harm.]' I know not whether Shakspeare did not make Miranda speak thus :
“ O, woe the day! nọ harm ?" To which Prospero properly answers :
“ I have done nothing but in care of thee.” Miranda, when she 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."
JOHNSON. more better - ] This ungrammatical expression is very frequent among our oldest writers. So, in The History of Helyas Knight of the Swan, bl. 1. no date, imprinted by Wm. Copland: “ And also the more sooner to come, without prolixity, to the true Chronicles,” &c. Again, in the True Tragedies of Marius and Scilla, 1594 :
“ To wait a message of more better worth.” Again, ibid.: “ That hale more greater than Cassandra now."
STEEVENS. - full poor cell,] i. e. a cell in a great degree of poverty. So, in Antony and Cleopatra : “ I am full sorry." STEBVENS.
'Tis time I should inform thee further. Lend thy hand, And pluck my magick garment from me.-So;
[Lays down his mantle. Lie there my art.-Wipe thou thine eyes ; have
comfort. The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touchd The very virtue of compassion in thee, I have with such provision in mine art So safely order'd, that there is no soul 6–
3 Did never MEDDLE with my thoughts.] i. e. mix with them. To meddle is often used with this sense, by Chaucer. Hence the substantive medley. The modern and familiàr phrase by which that of Miranda may be explained, is—“ never entered my thoughts-never came into my head.” Steevens. See Howell's Dict. 1660, in v. to meddle ; se mesler de.”
Malone. It should rather mean- - to interfere, to trouble, to busy itself,' as still used in the North, e. g. Don't meddle with me; i. e. Let me alone ; Don't molest me. Ritson.
4 Lie there my art.] Sir Will. Cecil, lord Burleigh, lord high treasurer, &c. in the reign of queen Elizabeth, when he put off his gown at night, used to say, Lie there, Lord Treasurer. Fuller's Holy State, p. 257. Steevens.
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.” Johnson.
that there is no soul-] 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 wrote no soil, no stain, no spot ; for so Ariel tells :
“ Not a hair perish’d;
" But fresher than before.” And Gonzalo, “The rarity of it is, that our garments being drenched 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. JOHNSON.
no soul.” Such interruptions are not uncommon to Shakspeare. He sometimes begins a sentence, and, before he con
No, not so much perdition as an hair,
Sit down ;
You have often
The hour's now come ; The very minute bids thee ope thine ear; Obey, and be attentive. Can'st thou remember A time before we came unto this cell ? I do not think thou can'st; for then thou wast not Out three years old 8. Mira.
Certainly, sir, I can. Pro. By what ? by any other house, or person ? Of any thing the image tell me, that Hath kept with thy remembrance. MIRA.
'Tis far off ; And rather like a dream than an assurance That my remembrance warrants : Had I not Four or five women once, that tended me ? Pro. Thou had'st, and more, Miranda : But how
cludes it, entirely changes its construction, because another, more forcible, occurs. As this change frequently happens in conversation, it may be suffered to pass uncensured in the language of the stage. Steevens.
not so much perdition as an HAIR,
Betid to any creature in the vessel -] Had Shakspeare in his mind St. Paul's hortatory speech to the ship's company, where he assures them that, though they were to suffer shipwreck, “ not an hair should fall from the head of
of them?" Acts, xxvii. 34. Ariel afterwards says, “ Not a hair perishid.”
Holt White, Out three years old.] i. e. Quite three years old, three years old full-out, complete.
So, in the 4th Act : “ And be a boy right out." STEEVENS. ?
That this lives in thy mind ? What seest thou else
But that I do not. Pro. Twelve years since, Miranda, twelve years
Sir, are not you my father?
O, the heavens ! What foul play had we, that we came from thence? Or blessed was't, we did ? PRO.
Both, both, my girl : By foul play, as thou say’st, were we heav'd thence; But blessedly holp hither.
ABYSM of time?] i. e. Abyss. This method of spelling the word is common to other ancient writers. They took it from the French abysme, now written abime. So, in Heywood's Brazen Age, 1613: “And chase him from the deep abysms below."
STEEVENS. 1 Twelve years since, Miranda, twelve YEARS since,] Years, in the first instance, is used as a dissyllable, in the second as a monosyllable. But this is not a licence peculiar to the prosody of Shakspeare. In the second book of Sidney's Arcadia are the following lines, exhibiting the same word with a similar prosodiacal variation :
“ And shall she die ? shall cruel fier spill
STEEVENS. 2 A princess ;-no worse issUED.] The old copy reads“ And princess." For the trivial change in the text I am answerable. Issued is descended. So, in Greene's Card of Fancy, 1608 : “For I am by birth a gentleman, and issued of such pa
rents," &c. STEEVENS.