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How ! the best? What wert thou, if the king of Naples heard thee?
fore, he must have felt too much awe to have flattered himself with the hope of possessing a being that appeared to him celestial ; though afterwards, emboldened by what Miranda says, he exclaims, “ O, if a virgin,” &c. words that appear inconsistent with the supposition that he had already asked her whether she was one or not. She had indeed told him, she was; but in his astonishment at hearing her speak his own language, he may well be supposed to have forgotten what she said; which, if he had himself made the inquiry, would not be very reasonable to suppose.
It appears from the alteration of this play by Dryden and Sir W. D'Avenant, that they considered the present passage in this light:
Fair excellence, “ If, as your form declares, you are divine, “ Be pleas’d to instruct me, how you will be worship’d; “ So bright a beauty cannot sure belong
“ To human kind." In a subsequent scene we have again the same inquiry : “ Alon. Is she the goddess that hath sever'd us,
“ And brought us thus together?” " Fer. Sir, she's mortal.” Our author might have remembered Lodge's description of Fawnia, the Perdita of his Winter's Tale: “Yet he scarce knew her, for she had attired herself in rich apparel, which so increased her beauty, that she resembled rather an angel than a creature.” Dorastus and Fawnia, 1592.
I have said “ that nothing is more common in these plays than a word being used in reply in a sense different from that in which it was employed by the first speaker.” Here follow my proofs. In As You Like It, Orlando, being asked by his brother, - Now sir, what make you here?” [i. e. What do you do here ?] replies, “ Nothing ; I am not taught to make any thing." So, in King Henry VI. Part III. :
Henceforward will I bear
“ Rich. Nay, bear three daughters.” Again, in King Henry IV. Part II. : “ °Ch. Just. Your means are very slender, and your waste great.
“ Fal. I would it were otherwise; I would my means were greater, and my waist slenderer.” Again, in King Richard III. :
“ With this, my lord, myself hath nought to do.
Fer. A single thing, as I am now, that wonders To hear thee speak of Naples : He does hear me ; And, that he does, I weep: myself am Naples ; Who with mine eyes, ne'er since at ebb, beheld The king my father wreck’d. Mira.
Alack, for mercy !
The duke of Milan, And his more braver daughter, could control thee? If now 'twere fit to do't :-At the first sight
[Aside. They have chang'd eyes :-Delicate Ariel, I'll set thee free for this !-A word, good sir; I fear, you have done yourself some wrong: a
word. MIRA. Why speaks my father so ungently? This Is the third man that e'er I saw; the first That e'er I sigh'd for: pity move my father To be inclin'd my way! FER.
O, if a virgin, And your affection not gone forth, I'll make you The queen of Naples. PRO.
Soft, sir: one word more.
The question, (I use the words of Mr. M. Mason,) is “whether our readers will adopt a natural and simple expression which requires no comment, or one which the ingenuity of many commentators has but imperfectly supported. Steevens.
1 And his brave son, being twain.] This is a slight forgetfulness. Nobody was lost in the wreck, yet we find no such character as the son of the duke of Milan. THEOBALD.
2 - control thee,] Confute thee, unanswerably contradict thee.
JOHNSON. 3 I fear, you have done yourself some wrong :]} i. e. I fear that in asserting yourself to be King of Naples, you have uttered a falsehood which is below your character, and, consequently, injurious to your honour. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor“This is not well, master Ford, this wrongs you." Steevens.
They are both in either's powers: but this swift
business I must uneasy make, lest too light winning [ Aside. Make the prize light.-One word more; I charge
No, as I am a man. Mira. There's nothing ill can dwell in such a
O dear father,
4 He's gentle, and not fearful.] Fearful signifies both terrible and timorous. In this place it may mean timorous. She tells her father, that as he is gentlé, rough usage is unnecessary; and as he is brave, it may
be dangerous. Fearful, however, may signify formidable, as in K. Henry IV.:
“ A mighty and a fearful head they are:” and then the meaning of the passage is obvious. Steevens.
“He's gentle and not fearful." i. e. terrible; producing fear. In our author's age to fear signified to terrify, (see Minsheu in verb.) and fearful was much more frequently used in the sense of formidable than that of timorous. MALONE.
What, I say, My foot my tutor -Put thy sword up, traitor ; Who mak'st à shew, but dar'st not strike, thy con
science Is so possess'd with guilt : come from thy ward ®; For I can here disarm thee with this stick, And make thy weapon drop.
“ Do not rashly determine to treat him with severity, he is mild and harmless, and not in the least terrible or dangerous.”
Ritson. A late novelist has the following remark on this passage :“ How have your commentators been puzzled by the following expression in the Tempest-"He's gentle, and not fearful;" as if it was a paralogism to say that being gentle, he must of course be courageous; but the truth is, one of the original meanings, if not the sole meaning, of that word was, noble, high minded : and to this day a Scotch woman in the situation of the young lady in The Tempest, would express herself nearly in the same terms. ---Don't provoke him : for being gentle, that is, high spirited, he won't tamely bear an insult. Spenser, in the very first stanza of his Fairy Queen, says:
“A gentle knight was pricking on the plain," which knight, far from being tame and fearful, was so stout that
Nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad."
Smollett's Humphrey Clinker, vol. ii. p. 182. REED. 5 My foot my tutor !] So, in The Mirrour for Magistrates, 1587, p. 163 :
• What honest heart would not conceive disdayne,
HENDERSON. We have the same thought in Lyly's Euphues, 1580: “Then how vain is it, that the foot should neglect his office, to correct the face." MALONE. Again, in K. Lear, Act IV. Sc. II. one of the quartos reads
“My foot usurps my head." Thus also Pope, Essay on Man, i. 260:
What, if the foot, ordain'd the dust to tread, “ Or hand to toil, aspir'd to be the head?” Steevens.
come from thy WARD ;] Desist from any hope of awing me by that posture of defence.
JOHNSON. So, in King Henry IV. Part I. Falstaff says :- “ 'Thou know'st my old ward ;-here I lay, and thus I bore my point.”
Beseech you, father! Pro. Hence; hang not on my garments. MIRA.
Sir, have pity; I'll be his surety. PRO.
Silence: one word more Shall make me chide thee, if not hate thee. What! An advocate for an impostor ? hush! Thou think'st, there are no more such shapes as
Come on; obey: [To FERD.
So they are : My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up. My father's loss, the weakness which I feel, The wreck of all my friends, or this man's threats, To whom I am subdued, are but light to me”, Might I but through my prison once a day
Thy nerves are in their infancy again,] Perhaps Milton had this
passage in his mind, when he wrote the following line in his Masque at Ludlow Castle :
· Thy nerves are all bound up in alabaster." Steevens. 8 My spirits, as in a dream, are all bound up.] Alluding to a common sensation in dreams; when we struggle, but with a total impuissance in our endeavours, to run, strike, &c.
WARBURTON. - ARE hut light to me,] This passage, as it stands at present, with all allowance for poetical licence, cannot be reconciled to grammar. I suspect that our author wrotem" were but light to me,” in the sense of_would be.- In the preceding line the old copy reads--nor this man's threats. The emendation' was made by Mr. Steevens. MALONE.