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Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts;
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
The narrow seas, however, were always reckoned dangerous, insomuch that Golding, in his version of the 14th book of Ovid's Metamorphosis, translates-Savior illa freto surgente,— the lady crueller
"Than are the rising narrow seas."
Again, in Burton's Anatomie of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 326: "How full of feare, how furious?
"The narrow seas are not so boisterous."
The present reading is right, but there should be a comma between the words perilous and narrow, as it was by no means Shakspeare's intention to join them together, and to make a burlesque phrase of them, such as Steevens describes. The perilousness of the ocean to be passed by the army, before the meeting of the kings, adds to the grandeur and interest of the scene; and it is well known that narrow seas are the most perilous. So, the Chorus in the next Act insinuates that it was necessary, To charm the narrow seas
To give them gentle pass."
And in The Merchant of Venice, the narrow seas are made the scene of shipwrecks, where Salarino says, "Antonio hath a ship of rich lading wrecked on the narrow seas; the Goodwins I think they call the place; a very dangerous flat, and fatal," &c.
1 Into a thousand parts divide one man,]
The meaning of this is, Suppose every man to represent a thousand;' but it is very ill expressed. M. MASON.
2 And make imaginary puissance :] This shows that Shakspeare was fully sensible of the absurdity of showing battles on the theatre, which, indeed, is never done, but tragedy becomes farce. Nothing can be represented to the eye, but by something like it, and within a wooden O nothing very like a battle can be exhibited. JOHNSON.
Other authors of that age seem to have been sensible of the same absurdities. In Heywood's Fair Maid of the West, 1631, a Chorus enters and says:
"Our stage so lamely can express a sea,
Carry them here and there3; jumping o'er times *;
Who, prologue-like, your humble patience pray,
3 For 'tis your THOUGHTS that now must deck our KINGS,
Carry them here and there;] We may read king for kings. The prologue relates only to this single play. The mistake was made by referring them to kings, which belongs to thoughts. The sense is, your thoughts must give the king his proper greatness; carry therefore your thoughts here and there, jumping over time, and crouding years into an hour.' JOHNSON.
I am not sure that Dr. Johnson's observation is just. In this play the king of France, as well as England, makes his appearance; and the sense may be this :-" It must be to your imaginations that our kings are indebted for their royalty.'" Let the fancy of the spectator furnish out those appendages to greatness which the poverty of our stage is unable to supply. The poet is still apologizing for the defects of theatrical representation.
Johnson is, in my opinion, mistaken also in his explanation of the remainder of the sentence. Carry them ere and there" does not mean, as he supposes, Carry your thoughts here and there;' for the Chorus not only calls upon the imagination of the audience to adorn his kings, but to carry them also from one place to another, though by a common poetical licence the copulative be omitted. M. MASON.
4 JUMPING O'ER times;] So, in the prologue to Troilus and Cressida :
Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils-."
KING HENRY V.
ACT I. SCENE 15.
London. An Ante-chamber in the King's Palace.
Enter the Archbishop of CANTERBURY", and Bishop of ELYR.
CANT. My lord, I'll tell you,-that self bill is urg'd,
Which in the eleventh year o' the last king's reign
5 This first scene was added since the edition of 1608, which is much short of the present editions, wherein the speeches are generally enlarged and raised: several whole scenes besides, and all the chorusses also, were since added by Shakspeare. POPE.
6 London.] It appears from Hall's and Holinshed's Chronicles, that the business of this scene was transacted at Leicester, where King Henry V. held a parliament in the second year of his reign. But the chorus at the beginning of the second Act shows that the author intended to make London the place of his first scene.
7 of CANTERBURY,] Henry Chicheley, a Carthusian monk, recently promoted to the see of Canterbury. MALO
John Fordham, consecrated 1388; died 1426.
the SCAMBLING and unquiet time-] In the household book of the 5th Earl of Northumberland there is a particular section, appointing the order of service for the scambling days in Lent; that is, days on which no regular meals were provided, but every one scambled, i. e. scrambled and shifted for himself as well as he could. So, in the old noted book intitled Leicester's Commonwealth, one of the marginal heads is, "Scrambling between Leicester and Huntington at the upshot." Where in the text, the author says, "Hastings, for ought I see, when hee commeth to the scambling, is like to have no better luck by the beare [Leices
Did push it out of further question'.
ELY. But how, my lord, shall we resist it now? CANT. It must be thought on. If it pass against
We lose the better half of our possession:
Of indigent faint souls, past corporal toil,
A hundred alms-houses, right well supplied;
A thousand pounds by the year2: Thus runs the bill.
"Twould drink the cup and all.
ELY. This would drink deep.
ter] then his ancestour had once by the boare." [K. Richard III.] edit. 1641, 12mo. p. 87. So again, Shakspeare himself makes King Henry V. say to the Princess Katharine, "I get thee with scambling, and thou must therefore prove a good soldier-breeder.” Act V. PERCY.
Shakspeare uses the same word in Much Ado About Nothing : Scambling, out-facing, fashion-mong'ring boys."
Again, in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, 1608:
"Leave us to scamble for her getting out." See vol. vii. p. 134, n. 3. STEEVENS.
out of further QUESTION.] i. e. of further debate.
So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
"If we contemn, out of our question wipe him."
2 A thousand pounds by the year:] Hall, who appears to have been Shakspeare's authority, in the above enumeration, says, "and the kyng to have clerely in his cofers twentie thousand poundes." REED.
ELY. And a true lover of the holy church. CANT. The courses of his youth promis'd it not. The breath no sooner left his father's body, But that his wildness, mortified in him, Seem'd to die too3: yea, at that very moment, Consideration like an angel came1,
And whipp'd the offending Adam out of him;
To envelop and contain celestial spirits.
So soon did lose his seat, and all at once,
3 The breath no sooner left his father's body,
But that his wILDNESS, mortified in him,
Seem'd to die too:] The same thought occurs in the last scene of the preceding play, where Henry V. says:
"My father is gone wild into his grave,
4 CONSIDERATION like an angel, &c.] As paradise, when sin and Adam were driven out by the angel, became the habitation of celestial spirits, so the king's heart, since consideration has driven out his follies, is now the receptacle of wisdom and of virtue.
Mr. Upton observes that, according to the Scripture expression, the old Adam, or the old man, signified man in an unregenerated or gentile state. MALONE.
5 Never came reformation in a flood,] Alluding to the method by which Hercules cleansed the famous stables, when he turned a river through them. Hercules still is in our author's head when he mentions the Hydra. JOHNSON.
6 With such a heady CURRENT,] Old copy-currance. rected by the editor of the second folio. MALOne.
7 Hear him but reason in divinity, &c.] This speech seems to have been copied from King James's prelates, speaking of their Solomon; when Archbishop Whitgift, who, as an eminent writer says, "died soon afterwards, and probably doated then, at the Hampton-Court conference, declared himself verily persuaded,