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With all the honours, on my brother: Whereon,
Alack, for pity!
Hear a little further, And then I'll bring thee to the present business Which now's upon us; without the which, this
story Were most impertinent. MIRA.
Wherefore did they not That hour destroy us ? PRO.
Well demanded, wench: My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst
cried out -] Perhaps we should read—cried on't.
STEEVENS. 1- HINT,] Hint is suggestion. So, in the beginning speech of the second act :
our hint of woe
" Is common A similar thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra, Act V. Sc. I.:
it is a tidings “ To wash the eyes of kings." STEEVENS. 2 That WRINGS mine eyes.] i. e. squeezes the water out of them. The old copy
reads" That wrings mine eyes to't.” To what? every reader will ask. I have, therefore, by the advice of Dr. Farmer, omitted these words, which are unnecessary to the metre; hear, at the beginning of the next speech, being used as a dissyllable.
To wring, in the sense I contend for, occurs in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Sc. II. : his cook, or his laundry, or his washer, and his wringer." Steevens.
(So dear the love my people bore me) nor set
of a BOAT.]
The old copy reads- of a butt. HENLEY. It was corrected by Mr. Rowe. “ In few, they hurried us aboard a bark; "“ Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepard “A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg’d, “ Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats
Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us,” &c. When Shakspeare attributed to the usurper of Prospero's duke. dom this cruel treatment of his brother, had he not in his thoughts the atrocious conduct of Athelstane, the natural son of Edward the elder, and the twenty-fifth king of the West-Saxons, who on the death of his father was wrongfully seated on the throne ; and a few years afterwards (anno 934) on the pretended ground of a conspiracy against him by his brother Edwin, according to Bromton the eldest legitimate son of Edward, consigned him to destruction in the manner here described ? The fact was originally told by William of Malmesbury, and is thus related by Holinshed in his Chronicle, in 1586, vol. i.
155 : “After this was Edwin, the kings brother, accused of some conspiracie by him begun against the king: wherupon he was banished the land ; and sent out in an old rotten vessel, without rowers or mariner; onelie accompanied with one esquier: so that being lanched foorth from the shore, through despaire Edwin leapt into the sea, and drowned him selfe.”
Speed, in his Chronicle, which was published in 1611, and might have appeared early enough in that year to have fallen into our author's hands while he was writing this play, relates the same fact thus : “ A deepe jealousie possessing the king that his [Edwin's] title was too neere the crowne, he caused him to be put into a little pinnace, without either tackle or oars, one only page accompanying him, that his death might be imputed to the waves,” &c. Malone.
3 — HAD quit it :) Old copy-have quit it. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
To cry to the sea that roar'd to us * ; to sigh
Alack! what trouble
O! a cherubim
smile, Infused with a fortitude from heaven, When I have deck'd the sea. with drops full salt ;
Quit was used by Shakspeare and his contemporaries for quitted. So, in King Lear :
'Twas he inform'd against him,
Might have the freer course.”
“ He ne'er lift up his hand, but conquered." Malone. 4 TO CRY to the sea that ROAR'D to us ;] This conceit occurs again in The Winter's Tale :-" How the poor souls roard, and the sea mock'd them,” &c. STEVENS.
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 may 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. JOHNSON.
Vestegan, p. 61, speaking of beer, says “ So the overdecking or covering of beer came to be called berham, and afterwards barme.” This very well supports Dr. Johnson's explanation. The following passage in Antony and Cleopatra may countenance the verb deck in its common acceptation :
do not please sharp fate “ To grace it with your
He has brave utensils,
Steevens. To deck, I am told, signifies in the North, to sprinkle. See Ray's Dict. of North Country Words, in verb. to deg, and to deck ; and his Dict. of South Country Words, in verb. dag. The latter
Under my burden groan'd; which rais'd in me
How came we ashore ?
signifies dew upon the grass ;-hence daggle-tailed. In Cole's Latin Dictionary, 1679, we find, -" To dag, collutulo, irroro."
Horace: - gravem Pelidæ stomachum.” STEEVENS.
Master of this design,) did give us ;] Mr. Steevens has suggested, that we might better read-he being then appointed; and so we should certainly now write : but the reading of the old copy is the true one, that mode of phraseology being the idiom of Shakspeare's time. So, in the Winter's Tale:
This your son-in-law,
“ Is troth-plight to your daughter." Again, in Coriolanus :
-waving thy hand,
MALONE. I have left the passage in question as I found it, though with slender reliance on its integrity.
What Mr. Malone has styled "the idiom of Shakspeare's time," can scarce deserve so creditable a distinction. It should be re
Rich garments, linens, stuffs, and necessaries,
'Would I might
Now I arise 8
membered that the instances adduced by him in support of his position are not from the early quartos, which he prefers on the score of accuracy, but from the folio 1623, the inaccuracy of which, with equal judgement, he has censured.
The genuine idiom of our language, at its different periods, can only be ascertained by reference to contemporary writers whose works were skilfully revised as they passed through the press, and are therefore unsuspected of corruption. A sufficient number of such books are before us. If they supply examples of phraseology resembling that which Mr. Malone would establish, there is an end of controversy between us : Let, however, the disputed phrases be brought to their test before they are admitted ; for I utterly refuse to accept the jargon of theatres and the mistakes of printers, as the idiom or grammar of the age in which Shakspeare wrote. Every gross departure from literary rules may be countenanced, if we are permitted to draw examples from vitiated pages; and our readers, as often as they meet with restorations founded on such authorities, may justly exclaim, with Othello,-“Chaos is come again.” STEEVENS.
8 Now I arise :] Why does Prospero arise? Or, if he does it to ease himself by change of posture, why need he interrupt his narrative to tell his daughter of it? Perhaps these words belong to Miranda, and we should read :
“ Mir. 'Would I might
“• Pro. Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow." Prospero, in p. 26, had directed his daughter to sit down, and learn the whole of this history; having previously by some magical charm disposed her to fall asleep. He is watching the progress of this charm; and in the mean time tells her a long story, often asking her whether her attention be still awake. The story being ended (as Miranda supposes) with their coming on shore, and partaking of the conveniences provided for them by the loyal humanity of Gonzalo, she therefore first expresses a wish to see the good old man, and then observes that she may now arise, as