Imagens das páginas

With all the honours, on my brother: Whereon, A treacherous army levied, one midnight

Fated to the purpose, did Antonio open

The gates of Milan; and, i̇' the dead of darkness, The ministers for the purpose hurried thence

Me, and thy crying self.


Alack, for pity!

I, not rememb'ring how I cried out then,
Will cry it o'er again; it is a hint 1,

That wrings mine eyes to't 2.


Hear a little further,

And then I'll bring thee to the present business Which now's upon us; without the which, this

[blocks in formation]

My tale provokes that question. Dear, they durst



cried oUT] Perhaps we should read-cried on't. STEEVENS.

Ia 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.:

[subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

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 A mark so bloody on the business; but

With colours fairer painted their foul ends.

In few, they hurried us aboard a bark;

Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd
A rotten carcass of a boat2, not rigg'd,

Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats
Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us,


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 prepar'd


A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd,

"Nor tackle, sail, nor mast; the very rats

[ocr errors]

Instinctively had quit it: there they hoist us," &c. When Shakspeare attributed to the usurper of Prospero's dukedom 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. p. 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
To the winds, whose pity, sighing back again,
Did us but loving wrong.


Was I then to you!


Alack! what trouble

O a cherubim

Thou wast, that did preserve me! Thou didst


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,

"And quit the house on purpose, that their punishment


Might have the freer course."

So, in King Henry VI. Part I. lift for lifted:

"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 roar'd, and the sea mock'd them," &c.

[ocr errors]


5 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 :

[ocr errors]


do not please sharp fate grace it with your sorrows."

What is this but decking it with tears?

Again, our author's Caliban says, Act III. Sc. II. :



He has brave utensils,

Which, when he has a house, he'll deck withal."

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
An undergoing stomach, to bear up

Against what should ensue.


PRO. By Providence divine.

How came we ashore ?

Some food we had, and some fresh water, that
A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,

Out of his charity, (who being then appointed
Master of this design,) did give us'; with

signifies dew upon the grass;-hence daggle-tailed. In Cole's Latin Dictionary, 1679, we find,-"To dag, collutulo, irroro." MALONE.

A correspondent, who signs himself Eboracensis, proposes that this contested word should be printed degg'd, which, says he, signifies sprinkled, and is in daily use in the North of England. When clothes that have been washed are too much dried, it is necessary to moisten them before they can be ironed, which is always done by sprinkling; this operation the maidens universally call degging. REED.


6 An undergoing STOMACH.] Stomach is stubborn resolution. So, Horace: gravem Pelidæ stomachum." STEEVENS. 7 Some food we had, and some fresh water, that

[ocr errors]

A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,

Out of his charity, (WHO being then appointed

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,

"And son unto the king, (whom heavens directing,)
"Is troth-plight to your daughter."

Again, in Coriolanus:

"waving thy hand,

"Which, often, thus, correcting thy stout heart,
"Now humble as the ripest mulberry,

"That will not hold the handling; or, say to them," &c.


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,

Which since have steaded much; so, of his gen


Knowing I lov'd my books, he furnish'd me,
From my own library, with volumes that

I prize above my dukedom.


But ever see that man!

'Would I might

Now I arise:

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

"But ever see that man!-Now I arise.


"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 gress 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

« AnteriorContinuar »