Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

From our debate, from our diffention ;
We are their parents and original.

Obe. Do you amend it then; it lies in you:
Why should Titania cross her Oberon?
I do but beg a little changeling boy,
To be

my

henchman. ?

7

be said grace as

- henchman.) Page of honour. This office was abolithed by queen Elizabeth.

GREY. The oífice might be abolished at court, but probably remained in the city. Glapthorne, in his comedy called Wit in a Constable, 2640, has this passage :

I will teach his hench-boys,
Serjeants, and trumpeters to a&, and save

56 The city all that charges." So, again :

is When she was lady may'ress, and you humble

66 As her trim hinch-bogs," Again, in Ben Jonson's Christmas Masque : " well as any of the sheriff's hench-boys."

Skinner derives the word from Hinc A. S. qual domesticus tau.uius. Spelman from Hengstman, equi curator, 17 TOHUG.

STEEVENS. in a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury dated uth of December 1765, it is said, " Her highness (i. e. Queen Elizabeth) hathe of Hote, wherat some doo moche marvell, dissolved the auncient office rf Henchemen." (Lodge's Illustrations, Vol. I. p. 358.) On this Liablage Mr Lodge observes that Henchmen were "alertain vumber @1 youths, the fons of gentlemen, who stood or walked near the person of the monarch on all publick occasions. They are men10..ed in the sumptuary flatutes of the 4th of Edward ibe Fourth, and 24th of Henry VII. and a patent is preserved in the Federa, Vol. XV. 242, whereby Edward VI. gives to William Bukley, M. 4. propter gravitatem morum & do&ring abundantiam, oficium docendi, erudiendi, atque inftituendi adolescentulos vocalos Henchmen ; with a falary of 40l. per annum. Henchman, or Heinsman, is a German word, as Blount informs us in his Cloffographia, signifying a domestic, whence our ancient term Hind, a servant in the house of a larmer. Dr. Percy, in a note on the Earl of Northumberland's household-book, with less probability, derives the appellation from tbeir cuitom of standing by the side, or Haunch of their Lord."

REED. Upon the establishment of the houshold of Edward IV. were henxmen fix. enfants, or more, as it pleysoth the king, catinge in the

Tita.

Set your heart at rest The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a vot'refs of my order: And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossip'd by my side; Aud fat with me on Neptune's yellow fands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laugh'd to fee the fails conceive, And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind: Which she', with pretty and with swimming gait, (Following her womb, then tich with my young

'squire, 8 )

halle; &c. There was also a maister of the henomen, to fhewe themi the schoole of nurture, and learne them to ride, to wear their harnese; to have all courtefie --- to teach them all languages, and other virtues, as karping, pipinge, finging, daưncing, with honeft behavioure of tempere aunce and patyence. MS. Harl. 293.

At the funeral of Henry VIII. nine henchmen attended with fio Francis Bryan, 'mafer of the henchmen.

Strype's Eccl. Mem. v. 2. App. n. 1. TYRWHITT,
Henchman. Quali haunch-man. On that

goce behind another. Pedifequus. BLACKSTONE.

The learned commentator might have givea his etymology Como support from the following passage in King Henry IV. P. II AX IV. sc. iv :

" O Westmoreland, thou art a summer bird,
" Which ever in the haunch of winter fings

“ The lifting up of day." STEEVENS.
8 Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait,

Following (her womb, then rich with my young Vquite)

Would imitate --] Perhaps the parenthefis should begia Cooner; as I think Mr. Kenrick obferves :

(Following her womb, then rich with my young squire,)". So, in Trulla's combat with Hudibras ;

She

P. fs'd so home, " That he retired, and follow'd's. bum." And Dryden says of his Spanish Friar, “ his great belly walks in ftate before him, and his gouty legs como limping after it."

FARMER, I have followed this regulation, (which is likewise adopted by Mr. Steevens,) though I do not think that of the old copy at all liable to thic obje&iou made to it by Dr. Warburton. "She did

Would imitate; and fail upon the land,
To fetch me trifles, and return again,
As from a voyage, rich with merchandize.
But she, being mortal, of that boy did die,
And, for her fake, I do rear up her boy:
And, for her sake, I will not part with him.

OBE. How long within this wood intend you stay?

Tita. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day.
If you will patiently dance in our round,
And see our moon - light revels, go with us,
If not, shun me, and I will spare your haunts.

Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee,

Tita. Not for thy kingdom.-Fairies, away: We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.

[Exeunt TITANIA, and her train. OBE. Well, go thy way thou shalt not from this

grove,
Till I torment thee for this injury, --
My gentle Puck, come hither: Thou remember'st
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song;

[ocr errors]

:

[ocr errors]

not, ( he says ) follow the ship whose motion she imitated ; for that failed on the water, she on land." But might she not on land move in the same direâion with the sbip at sea, which certainly would outstrip her ? and what is this but following?

Which, according to the present regulation, trust mean - - which motion of the ship with swelling fails, &c: according to the old regua lation it must refer to "s embarked traders." MALONE,

8 Not for thy kingdom. Fairies, awey :] The ancient copies Icad

". Not for thy fairy kingdom. — Fairies, away." By the advice of Dr. Farmer I have omitted the useless adje&ive fairy, as it spoils the metre; Fairies, the following substantive, being apparently used, in an earlier inftance, as a trisfyllable,

STEEVENS.

And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea--maid's mufick. 9

Thou remember
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin's back,
Ultering such dalcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude seas grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their Spheres,

To hear the sea-maid's musick.] The firft thing observable on these words is, that this a&ion of the mermaid is laid in the same time and place with Cupid's attack upon the veftal. By the vestal every one knows is meant queen Elizabeth. It is very natural and reasonable then to think that the mermaid Atands for some cminent personage of her time. And if so, the allegorical covering, in which there is a mixture of satire and panegyric, will lead us to conclude that this person was one of whom it had been inconve. nient for the author to speak openly, either in praise or dispraise. All this agrees with Mary queen of Scots, aod with no other. Q. Elizabeth could not bear to hear her commended ; and her success for would not forgive her satirist. But the poet has so well marked out every diftinguished circumstance of her life and chara&er in this beautiful allegory, as will leave no room to doubt about his secret meaning. She is called a mermaid, 1. to denote her reiga over a kingdom fituate in the sea, and 2. her beauty, aod intemperate lust:

Ut turpiter atrum " Definat in pifcem mulier formofa superne." for as Elizabeth for (her chastity is called a vestal, this unfortunate lady on a contrary account is called a mermaid.

3. An ancient story may be supposed to be here alluded to. The emperor Julian tells us, Epiftlc 41. that the Sirens ( which, with all the modern poets, are mermaids ) contended for precedeacy With the Muses, who overcoming them, took away their wings. The quarrels between Mary and Elizabeth had the same cause, and the same issue.

- on a dolphin's back,] This evidently marks out that diftinguishing circumstance of Mary's fortune, her marriage with the dauphin of France, son of Henry II.

Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,] This alludes to her great abilities of genius and learning, wbicb rendered her the moft accomplished princess of her age. The French writers tell us, that, while she was in that court, the pronounced a Latin oration in the great hall of the Louvre, with so much grace and eloquence, as filled the whole court with admiration.

Puck.

I remember. Obe. That very time I saw, (but thou could'rt

not, )

That the rude' sea grew civil at her song :) By the tude foa is meant Scoiland cucircled with the occan; which rose up in arms against the regent, while she was in France. But her return home presently quieted those disorders : and had not her strange ill condud afterwards more violently inflamed them, she might have passed her whole life in peace. There is the greater juftness and beauty in this image, as the yulgar opinion is, that the mermaid always fings in forms:

And certain liars fnot madly from their spheres,

To hear the sea-maid's musick.] Thus concludes the description, with that remarkable circumftance of this unhappy lady's fate, the deftrudion she brought upon several of the English nobility, whom The drew in to support her cause. This, in the boldeit expression of the sublime, the poet images by certain fars Shooting madly from their spheres : By which he meant thc carls of Northumberland and Weltmoreland, who fell in her quarrel ; and principally the great duke of Norfolk, whose projeded marriage with her was attended with such fatal consequences. Here again the reader may observe a peculiar juftness in the imagery. The vulgar opinion being that the mermaid allured men to deftru&ion by her songs. To which opinion Shaklpeare alludes in his Comedy of Errors :

" O train me not, sweet incrmaid, with thy note,

" To drown me in thy sister's flood of tears." On the whole, it is the noblest and justest allegory that was ever written. The laying it in fairy land, and out of nature, is in the charader of the speaker. And on these occasions Shakspeare always excels himself. He is borne away by the magic of his enthufiasm, and hurries his reader along with him into these ancient regions of poetrý, by that power of verse, which we may well fancy to be ļike what,

Olim fauni vatesque canebant.” WARBURTON. And certain fars Mot madly from their spheres,] So, in our au. khor's Rape of Lucrece :

“ And little flors fot from their fixed places." MALONE. Every reader may be induced to wish that the foregoing allusion, pointed out by fo acute a critic as Dr. Warburton, hould remain uncontroverted; and yet I cannot difsemble my doubts concerning it. Why is the thrice-married Queen of Scotland filed a SeaMAID ? and is it probable that Shakspeare ( who understood his own political as well as poetical intereft,) should have ventured such a panegyric on this ill-fated Princess, during the reign of her rival Elizabeth? If it was unintelligible to his audience, it was thrown away ; if obvious, there was danger of offence to her Majesty,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »