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* in his stables at Troy. The promise was made, « and Hesione set at liberty by the destruction of “ the sea monster. But Laomedon did not perform “ his promise, which incensed Hercules so much, " that he laid siege to, took, and sacked the city “ of Troy; killed Laomedon, and carried his son “ Priam into captivity, who was afterwards re“ deemed by the 'Trojans.” E.
To follow Mr. Capell's remark. Tell me, where is fancy bred, &c.] It may be questioned, perhaps, whether any relation subsists between the subject of this song and the occasion upon which it is introduced; If however, any such was intended, it might have been for a double purpose- -first; as conveying a kind of indirect and secret allusion to the matter then under deliberation, but too darkly expressed to serve as any direction of Bassanio's choice, and, therefore, not inconsistent with the engagement which Portia had entered into with her father, but intimating, however, under the form of an answer to an inquiry concerning the origin of fancy, that such inconsiderate predilections for particular objects as seem to be here denoted by that term, ought frequently to be considered, neither as arising from the more tender affections of the heart, nor yet, as resulting from the judgment, that faculty, the exercise of which is more immediately the province of the head, or understanding, but rather as the offspring of a gratification seated in the eyes, and, for a time, increased by indulgence, but likely soon, in consequence of disappointed hopes, to become extinct, and succeeded by unavailing sorrow and repentance. Such would, in the present instance, be the effect of an injudicious election, prompted perhaps by an admiration of the glittering exterior of either of the two most precious and attractive metals. It might at the same time be de signed to impart to Bassanio a prudential admonition respecting the source of the ardent attachment which he at present feels, and which, if it be excited merely by the splendour of beauty, or the external charms of wealth and grandeur, deserves not a more honourable appellation than that of fancy, and is likely to prove but fickle and transitory; but, if springing from a well-directed affection of the heart, or a just estimation of the lady's virtues, talents, and excellent qualities, formed under the influence of reason, and due reflection, promises a substantial and permanent happiness. Considered in this light, the passage assumes a kind of moral solemnity, attended by a certain air of mystery, well suited to the occasion, and that contributes, not a little, to heighten the romantic complexion of this Scene, which renders it so extremely interesting and agreeable.
The words, “ In the cradle where it lies,” cannot properly, I imagine, be looked upon as relating, in a metaphorical sense, to the eye or eyes, in which fancy was said to be engendered, according to the notion suggested by Mr. Capell’s remark, but rather should be understood as expressive of the shortness of its duration, as dying while still in its cradle, i.e. in a state of infancy. The whimsical manner in which it concludes, as well as the burthen repeated by the chorus, is in exact unison with the wild and fantastical spirit in which the whole is conceived. Mr. Capell has admitted the words Reply, reply, as as a line of the poetry, coming in between the first and the second stanzas. This song has, within these few years, been set to music for two voices, with much taste and judgment, by Sir John Stevenson, a de. servedly celebrated composer of the city of Dublin.
Page 135. So are those crisped snaky golden locks, &c.] The prevalence of this fashion in Shakspeare's time is evinced by the following passage in an old pamphlet entitled The Honestie of this Age, proving by good circumstance that the world was never konest till now, by Barnabe Rich, quarto, 1615 :
My lady holdeth on her way, perhaps to the tire“ maker's shop, where she shaketh her crowns to “ bestow upon some new-fashioned attire, upon such “ artificial deformed periwigs, that they were fitter “ to furnish a theatre, or for her that in a stage
play should represent some hag of hell, than to “ be used by a christian woman. Again, ibid: “ These attire-makers within these forty years were “ not known by that name; and but now very lately “ they kept their lowzie commodity of periwigs, " and their monstrous attire closed in boxes ;-and " those women that used to weare them would not
buy them but in secret. But now they are not “ ashamed to set them forth upon their stalls, “ such monstrous mop-powles of haire, so propor“ tioned and deformed, that but within these twenty “ or thirty years would have drawne the passers-by “ to stand and gaze, and to wonder at them.”
MALONE. Page 139. What find I here?] Lord Lansdown has altered this play, and, perhaps, succeeded best of those who have made that bold attempt: but an attentive reader will easily observe, how very much he has flattened many of the finest passages, where he has offered to amend, add, or take from them: I choose the present as an instance; because there are some who imagine Shakspeare's original speech inferior to the corrected one.
" What find I here?
[Kissing the Picture.
undazzled “ And see to imitate ?" There needs no commenting on these passages to shew how greatly his Lordship falls short of his inimitable original. Dodd.
Page 143. To follow Mr. Steevens's note. Is some of something, &c.] I should prefer the reading of the folio, as it is Portia's intention in this speech, to undervalue herself. J. M. MASON.
Page 186. In both the pointing and reading of old copies there is apparent corruption ; sways has no grammatical concord with Maisters ; nor that sentence, divided as it is by their punctuation from the preceding, concord in sense with any thing that went before: The point enforced by the Jew, is the power of sympathy, as it is called ; exemplified in three instances: This power Shaskpeare calls, with much more propriety, affection, and its effectpassion, in that member of the sentence which, as
the passage is by me disposed of, very properly follows the examples adduced for illustration, as cona taining their cause of action; and his terms affection and passion are chosen - with philosophic precision, intimating the thing impressing and the thing impressed : Nor is the word for which Mistress has been substituted so remote from it as a mere modern reader may be apt to think, for the form that Mistress wears in old books is not infrequentlymaistres, CAPELL.
I must confess that I cannot discover on what principle all the editors, since Theobald and Hanmer, have followed the punctuation of Thirlby. It is impossible, I think, for any reader, accustomed to the manner of our old writers, not to feel a certain harshness in the new regulation of the text, or indeed to doubt for a moment, that the old books gave the second line correctly, as at that time spoken on the stage, and originally written by the author. Cannot contain their urine for affection. I never heard, excellent and very Shylock as he is, Macklin's full stop in the middle of this verse without a shock; and the following words of the line, not only soften the expression, but are most easy and natural, We still apply the verb affect in the same sense that Shylock here uses the noun derived from it, and the simple meaning of the line is, that s Others are so affected by the sound of the bag
pipe that they cannot contain themselves.”
The mode of affection here signified, granting the old text to be genuine, must be Sympathy, illustrated by an example opposed to those before enumerated; and the opposition marked, like the hic & ille of the Latin, by the words some and others; though without the two last words of the line the contrast is less clear, and the effect of the bag-pipe might be a third instance of Antipathy. Thirlby's punctuation, and Rowe's reading, each suppose Affection to signify both Sympathy and Antipathy.