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(82) airs from heaven,] Gentle gales with health or healing on their wings.
“ Then her ambrosian mantle she assum'd,
Chapman's Homer's Hymn to Venus, fo. p. 93.
Ven, & Adonis, 4to. 1594.
(83) such a questionable shape] So doubtful, that I will at least make inquiry to obtain a solution, is a plain and obvious sense: but our author, even in his gravest passages, and in the very crisis of his heroes' fate, is accustomed to make them play upon words ; and as he has (As you, &c. III. 1. Ros.) used the adjective “unquestionable" in the sense of " averse to parley," the commentators are agreed, that it must here, where it is connected with speak," mean “provoking parley:" following Theobald's application of the verb.
“ Live you, or are you ought “ That man may question.” Macb. III. 1. Macb. And he had said before, Sc. 2.
“ If it assume my noble father's person,
“ I'll speak to it." (84) Let me not burst in ignorance) In that swelling agony of suspense, that struggle and convulsion of mind, which impelled him fearfully to break silence; as the equally perturbed spirit broke its confine or cerements.
(85) In complete steel] From Olaus Wormius, c. 4, Mr. Steevens shews, it was the custom to bury the Danish kings, as it was their heroes in ancient times, with their armour and other warlike accoutrements. This accentuation of the word complete occurs frequently in our author and his contemporaries. See M. for M. I. 4. Duke.
(86) Making-we fools of nature] Similar licenses in using the nominative for the accusative, and vice versa, as him for he, and she for her, and ye for you, occur throughout our author. Offending the rule of grammar, the present instance, it must be admitted, without adverting to the piceness and curiosity of modern times, offends also the ear. It must at the same time be allowed, that considering the unsettled state of the orthography of that day, a loose practise, of which there are to be found examples in the most elegant and learned writers, cannot justly be charged upon Shakespeare as vulgar and ignorant. In the comic and burlesque style, Dr. Lowth says, this license may perhaps be allowed. Gramm. 1783. p. 32,3: yet in some of the instances to which he excepts, so far from being offensive, it recommends itself to the ear, and even appcars necessary to
effect: and those instances would be considered as much less exceptionable than the use of himself as a nominative case, were not the ear by custom familiarized to it.
But, after all, we are writing upon the pages of Shakespeare: and in speeches of any length, Shakespeare, careless of rule and rapid in conception, pours along in his flow of thought with perfect indifference to the grammatical connexion of his sentences, so that his ideas cohere; often changes the person; and possessed altogether with his subject, and with the image he has conceived kept as full before the reader's mind as his own, while placed by his feelings in the middle of one sentence, he is found by his reader in the beginning of another.
(87) I do not set my life at a pin's fee] At the worth of investiture into lands holden of a superior lord, to no greater an amount. In his Com. on the Commentators Mr. Pye says, “ Gold and fee are the old terms for money and land. See the Pepys Collections, or Percy's Reliques, passim.” 8vo. 1997, p. 316. In Newton's Lemnie's Touchst. of Coinplexions, we have “ Nor house, nor land, nor gold, nor fee."
12mo 1581. p. 2. b. And the same idea we find in M. for M.
“ Life I'd throw down as frankly as a pin.” III. 3. Isab.
(88) beetles o'er his base] Projects darkly. Mr. Steevens cites Sidney's Arcadia, B. 1. “ Hills lifted up their beetle brows, as if they would overlooke pleasantnesse of their under prospect."
(89) deprive your sovereignty of reason] “Dispossess, dis . place, dethrone the sovereignty of your reason; the princely power of reason, seated in your mind.” So that he throws his image forcibly before his reader, Shakespeare leaves it to him to arrange more than his pronouns and articles, and grammatically thread his meaning. “ Nobility of love," Haml. 1. 2. King, is a similar phrascology. (90) The very place puts toys of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain,
And hears it roar beneath.] Of itself unaided, and with out other or further suggestion, raises horrible and desperate conceits in the mind. The whole of this passage from the quartos, as well as the preceding lines,
“ Tempt to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
“ That beetles o'er his base into the sea,” shew the strong impression which this scenery had made upon our author's mind. “It is Dover Cliff again; or the same image, recalling that picture to our minds.
(91) As hardy as the Némean lion's nerve] Pindar's Nemean Odes are still called Neuea, not Nsuela. Pye's Comm. on Comment. 1807. p. 313.
(92) confin'd to fast in fires] Mr. Smith cites Urry's Chauc. Parson's Tale, p. 193. “ And moreover the misese of hell, shall be in defaute of mete and drinke." And Mr. Steevens Nash's Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil, 1595, “ Whether it be a place of horror, stench and darkness, where men see meat, but can get none, and are ever thirsty.” And The Wyll of the Devyll, bl, 1. no date:
" Thou shalt lye in frost and fire
(93) Are burnt and purg'd away] Gawin Douglas really changes the Platonic hell into the “punytion of saulis in purgatory :” and it is observable, that when the Ghost informs Hamlet of his doom there, the expression is very similar to the Bishop's. I will give you bis version as concisely as I can: “ It is a nedeful thyng to suffer panis and torment;-Sum in the wyndis, sum under the watter, and in the fire uthir sum: thus the mony vices
“ Contrakkit in the corpis be done away
FARMER. These last, “ contracted, purged and done away," are the very words of our Liturgy, in the commendatory prayer for a sick person at the point of departure, in the office for ihe visitation of the sick. WHALLEY.
(94) Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres]
“ How have mine eyes out of their spheras been fitted,
MALONE. (95) this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood) Such promulgation of the mysteries of eternity must not be made to beings of a day. The term eternal is used with much license by our author. See “ eternal cell," V. 2. Fortinbr.
(96) As meditation, or the thoughts of love) As the course and process of thought generally, or the ardent emotions and rapid flights of love. We have “ I'll make him fly swifter than meditation,” in the prologue to Wily Beguiled.' It was not improbably, therefore, a common saying.
(97) That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf] “In indolence and sluggishness, by its torpid habits contributes to that morbid
state of its juices, which may figuratively be denominated rota tenness.” We have the phrase again in Ant. & Cl.
“ lacking the varying tide, “ To rot itself with motion." 1.4. Cæsar. The quartos read rootes.
(98) that adulterate beast] The use of this word here instead of adulterous, is made with his accustomed license, as it is in Rich. III. Marg. IV.2. “ Th’adulterate Hastings."
(99) sate itself in a celestial bed, and prey on garbage] Wills after appetite fully satisfied in the best way, and with every requisite of true enjoyment, prey oh garbage.
Mr. Todd aptly instances u fragment of Euripides, Antiope, V. 86, edit. Barnes :
Κορος δε παντων, και γαρ εκ καλλιονων
Φαυλη διαιτη προσβαλων ήσθη στομα.”
(100) juice of cursed hebenon] From Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 1033, Mr. Steevens quotes
“ the blood of Hydra, Lerna's bane, “ The juice of hebon, and Cocytus' breath." Hebenon is doubtless nothing more than an amplification of hebon, as most probably hebon is a liquid poetical modification of henbane. Dr. Grey tells us, the most common kind (hyo. scyamus niger) is certainly narcotick, and perhaps, if taken in a considerable quantity, might prove poisonous. Galen calls it cold in the third degree: by which in this, as well as opium, he seems not to mean an actual coldness, but the power it has of benumbing the faculties. Dioscorides ascribes to it the property of producing madness (DOCXUXNos pavwdns). These qualities have been confirmed by several cases related in modern observations. In Wepfer we have a good account of the various effects of this root upon most of the members of a convent in Germany, who eat of it for supper by mistake, mixed with succory ;-heat in the throat, giddiness, dimness of sight, and delirium. Cicut. Aquatic, c. xviii.
But, that it should, when administered as Shakespeare de. scribes, produce the consequences which he states, must, it is presumed, be taken altogether as a poetical license. See the insane root." Macb. I. 3. Banquo.
(101) Unhouseld, disappointed, unaneld] Without the sacrament administered; and unprepared, unfitted; and without extrene unction received. “ To housel, to minister the communion
to one that lieth on his deathbed.” Bullokar and Cockeram. Todd's Dict. “ Howsclyn. Communico." Promptuar, parvulor." " Communico, to make comune or howsell.' Ortus Vocabulor. 4to. 1514. “ In howsell and receiving the sacrament, Synaxi.*" Sir Tho. Chaloner's Erasmus's Praise of Folie. 4to. 1549. p. 73, b. “ The consecracyon that was whan he dyd çousecrate and make (of breed and wyne) his own holy body and sacred blode, and therwith dydcommune and howsell his apostles.” Rich. Whitforde's werke for housholders. 4to. 1530. Signat. G.II. “ He is departed without shryfte and housyll. Sine sacrorum præsidio aut viatico.” Vulgaria Hormanni. 4to. 1530. Signat. Z v, b. ' Shrive thee only for the doute of Jesu Crist and the hele of thy soule--and certes ones a yere at the lest way it is lawful to be houseled; for sothely ones a yere all thinges in the erthe renovelen.” Persone's Tale, Tyrwh. Chauc, svo. 1775. Ill. 268.
In the sense of not equipped or fitted out, as applied to any expedition or enterprise, disappointed in early times was in use, as, in the opposite sense, appoint now is: and here Mr. Steevens instances “ Therefore your best appointment make with speed.”
M. for M. III. 1. Isab. We have it much in the sense of the text in Arth. Golding's Jul. Solinus's Polyhist. “ Whatsoever is hurtful is disappointed by the touching heereof (ebonye). Quicquid maleficum fuerit, tactu ejus averti.” 4to. 1587. Signat. E. e, 11, b. “ I am dyspoynted of an hors. Defraudur equo.” Vulgaria Hormanni. Siguat. C. 11.
In the advertisement to his notes Mr. St. Weston quotes Sophocles: “Apospov, axlepio-lov, aroglov.” Avrig. v. 1071: and adds, " apoipov, disappointed or unprovided, unportioned, unprepared with sacrifices for the infernal gods: avoolov, unhouseled, without the sacrament or holy rites: axlepolov, unaneled, without the holy oil or the honours of burial.”
As to the last term, unaneled, we find in Giles Fletcher's Russe Commonwealth, 12mo. 1591. fo.98. “ They (the Russe church) hold three sacramentes of' baptisme, the Lord's supper, and the last annoiling or unction.” Mr. Brand says, “ The Anglo-Saxon noun-substantives husel (the Eucharist) and ele (oil) are plainly the root of these compound adjectives: for the meaning of the affix an to the last, I quote Spelman's gloss in loco : Quin et dictionibus an adjungitur, siquidem vel majoris notationis gratia, vel ad singulare aliquid vel unicum demonstrandum:" and he cites Fabian's Chronicle (Pynson, , 1516), “ This interdiccion was not so strayght: for there were dyverse placys in Englond, which were occupyed with dyvyne servyce by lycense purchased, also chyldren were chrystened through all the lande, and men houselyd and anelyd." And Mr. Steevens, from the
Synaxis, ouyayw, a gathering together, the holy communion os sacrament.