Imagens das páginas

One, whom the musick of his own vain tongue

Doth ravish; like enchanting harmony;
A man of complements, whom right and wrong

Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:


[ocr errors]

3 A man of complements, whom right and wrong

Have chose as umpire of their mutiny: ] As very bad a play as this is, it was certainly Shakspeare's, as appears by many fine master-strokes scattered up and down. An excessive complaisance is here adnirably painted, in the person of one who was willing to make even right and wrong friends: and to persuade the one recede from the accustomed klubbornnels of her nature, and wink at the liberties of her opposite, rather than he would incur the imputation of ill breeding in keeping up the quarrel. And as our au. thor, and Jonson his contemporary, are consessedly the two greatest writers in the drama that our nation could ever boast of, this may be no improper occalion to take notice of one material difference between Shakspeare's worst plays and the other’s. Our author owed all to his prodigious uatural genius; and Jonson moft to his acquired parts and learning. This, if attended to, will explain the difference we speak of. Which is this, that, in Jonson's bad pieces, we do not discover the least traces of the author of the Fox and Alchemis; but in the wildest and moft extravagant totes of Shakspeare, you every now and then encounter strains that recognize their divine composer. And the reason is this, that Jonson owing his chief excellence to art, by which he sometimes trained himself to an uncommon pitch, when he unbent himself, had nothing to support him ; but fell below all likeness of himself; while Shakspeare, indebted more largely to nature than the other to his acquired talents, could never, in his most negligent hours, so totally divest himself of his genius, but that it would frequenily break out with amazing force and fplendour. WARBURTON.

This passage, I believe, means no more than that Don Armado was a man nicely versed in ceremonial diftin&ions, one who could distinguish in the most delicate questions of honour the exa& boun. daries of right and wrong. Compliment, in Shakspeare's time, did not signify, at least did not only fignify verbal civility, or phrases of courtesy, but according to its original meaning, the trappings, or ornamental appendages of a chara&ter, in the same manner, and on the fame principles of speech with accomplishment. Complement is, as Armado well expresses it, the varnish of a complete man.

JOHNSON. Dr. Johnson's opinion may be supported by the following passage in Lingua, or The Combat of the Tongue and the five Senses for Speriority, 1607;no" after all falhions and of all colours, with rings,

[ocr errors]

This, child of fancy, “ that Armado hight,

For interim to our studies, shall relate, In high-born words, the worth of mang,a knight

From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate.. How you delight, my lords, I know not, I ; But, I protest, I love to hear him lie, And I will use him for

my minstrelsy."

jewels, a fan, and in every other place, old complements. And again, by the title-page to Richard Braithwaite's English Gentlewoman, “ drawne out to the full body, expressing what habiliments doe best attire her; what ornaments doe beit adorne her; and what complements doe beft accomplish her." Again, in Sir Giles Goofecap, 1606 :

adorned with the exacteft complements belonging to everlafting nobleuess.

STEEVENS. Thus, in Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio calls Tybalt, is the Caprain of complements. M. MASON.

4 This child of fancy, ] This fantastick. The expression, in another sense, has been adopted by Milton in his L'Allegro:

“ Or sweetest Shakfpeare; Fancy's child." MALONE. s That Armado hight, ] Who is called Armado. MALONE.

6 From tawny Spain, lost in the world's debate. ] i. e. he shall rea late to us the celebrated stories recorded in the old romances, and in their very ftile. Why he says from tawny Spain is, because those romances, being of Spanish original, the heroes and the scene were generally of that country. Why he says, lost in the world's debate is, because the subjeđ of those romances were the crusades of the European Christians against the Saracens of Asia and Africa.

WARBURTUN. I have suffered this note to hold its place, though Mr. Tyrwhile has thewn that it is wholly unfounded, hecause Dr. Warburton refers to it in his dissertation at the end of this play. MALONE.

- 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 feculo, in the buftle of human affairs, from which we are now happily sequestred, in the world, to which the votaries of solitude have no relation. Johnson.

Warburton's interpretation is clearly preferable to that of Johnfon. The King had not yet so weaned himself from the world, as to adopt the language of a cloister. M. MASON.

7 And I will use him for my minstrelsy. ) i. e. I will make a mina strel of him, whose occupation was to relate fabulous stories.


[ocr errors]

Biron. Armado is a most illustrious wight; A man of fire-new words, ' fashion's own knight. LONG. Costard the swain, and he, shall be our

sport; And, so to iludy, three years is but short.

Enter Dull, with a letter, and COSTARD. Dull. Which is the duke's own person? Biron. This, fellow; What would't ?

Dull. I myself reprehend his own person, for I ám his grace's tharborough : ' but I would see his own person in flesh and blood.

BIRON. This is he.

Dull. Signior Arme-Arme-commends you. There's villainy abroad; this letter will tell you


Cost. Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching



fire-new words;] " i. e. (says an intelligent writer in the Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786) words newly coined, new from the forge. Fire-new, new off the irons, and the Scottish expreflion bren-new, have all the same origin.” The same compound epithet occurs in K. Richard III: " Your fire-new ftamp of honour is scarce current.

STEEVENS. 3. Which is the duke's own person? ] The king of Navatre in several passages, through all the copies, is called the duke : but as this must have sprung rather from the inadvertence of the editors than a forgetfulness in the poet, I have every where, to avoid consufion, restored king to the text. THEOBALD.

The princess in the next a& calls the king -" this virtuous duke; " a word which, in our author's time, seems to have been used with great laxity. And indeed. tliough this were not the case, such a fellow as Costard may well be supposed ignorant of his true title. MALONE.

I have followed the old copics. STEEVENS. 3

tharborough: ] i. e. Thirdborough, a peace officer, alike in authority with a headborough or a confiable. Sir J. HAWKINS.

King. A letter from the magnificent Armado.

BIRON. How low foever the matter, I hope in God for high words.

LONG. A high hope for a low having: “God grant us patience!

Biron. To hear? or forbear hearing?'

LONG. To hear meekly, fir, and to laugh moderately; or to forbear both.

BIRON. Well, fir, be it as the stile shall give us cause to climb in the merriness.

Cost. The matter is to me, fir, as concerning Jaquenetta. The manner of it is, I was taken with the manner.


This our poet

[ocr errors]

4 A high hope for a low having ::] In old editions:

" Å high hope for a low heaven;" A low heaven, sure is a very jutricate matter 10 conceive. I dare warrant, I have retrieved the poet's true reading; and the meaning is this: - Though you hope for high words, and should have them, it will be but a low acquisition at best." calls a low having: and it is a substantive' which he uses in several other passages. THLOBALD. It is employed in Macbeill, Ad I:

greai prediâion " Of noble having, and of royal hope." Heayen, however, may be the true reading, in allufion to the gradations of happiness promised by Mohammed to his followers. So, in the comedy of Old Fortunatus, 1600 : " Oh, how my soul is rapt to a third hiaven !"

STEEVENS. s To hear? or forbear hearing?]

One of the modern editors' plaufibly enough, reads.

- To hear? or forbear laughing ?" MALONE.

- as the flile hall give us cause to climb -] A quibble hea tween the file that must be climbed to pass from one field to another, and Azle, the term expressive of manner of writing in regard 10 lana guage. STEEVENG. taken with the manner. ] i. c. in the fad.

So in Heya wood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630: "- - and, being taken with the manner, had nothing to, say for himself. STEEVENS. A forenfick term.

A thief is said to be taken with the manner, Vol. VII.




Biron. In what manner?

Cost. In manner and form following, fir;all those three: I was feen with her in the manor house, fitting with her upon the form, and taken following her into the park; which, put together, is, in manner and form following. Now, fir, for the manner,-it is the manner of a man to speak to a woman : for the form ---in some form.

Biron. For the following, fir ?

Cost. As it shall follow in my correction ? And God defend the right!

King. Will you hear this letter with attention ? BIRON. As we would hear an oracle.

Cost. Such is the fimplicity of man to hearken after the flesh.

King. (reads. ] Great deputy, the welkin's vicegerent, and fole dominator of Navarre, my soul's earth's God, and body's fostering patron,

Cost. Not a word of Costard yet.
KING. So it is,

Cost. It may be fo: but if he say it is so, he is, in telling true, but so, fo.

KING. Peace.

Cost.-be to ine, and every man that dares not fight!

KING, No words.
Cost.--of other men's secrets, I beseech you.
King. So it is, befeged with fable-colour'd melan-


i. e. mainour or monour, (for so it is written in our old law-books, when he is apprehended with the thing stolen in his pofseflion. The thing that he has taken was called mainour, from the Fr. maniet, manu tra&are. MALONE. 7

but so, so. The second so was added by Sir T. Hanmer, and adopted by the subsequent editors. MALONE.

« AnteriorContinuar »