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THE Manuscript has been strictly followed, except in the instance of enlarging the quotations, so as to bring the disputed word or passage into view with the context.
The references to the pages of the three editions are arranged in the following order:
Johnson's and Steevens's, 1785.—Malone's, 1790.—
Johnson's and Steevens's, 1793.
DR. Farmer remarks that Ben Jonson, in the original Every Man in his Humour, had taught Shakespeare the true pronunciation of Stephano, which is always right in The Tempest, and always wrong in his earlier play, The Merchant of Venice: and this is urged as a proof of Shakespeare's want of learning. My opinion on that point is the same, or nearly so, with that which Mr. Colman has delivered in his Terence. The argument from Shakespeare's making false quantities in his names, I think, proves nothing: he thought himself (as other poets have done) at liberty to make a syllable long, or short, as it suited him. Thus we have Posthumus, and Posthūmus; Arvirăgus, and Arvirāgus. He makes the penult of Barabbas (a word which he doubtless had frequently heard pronounced) short, omitting one of the bs, and writing Barabas. But a similar liberty has been taken by writers who certainly had a competent share of literature. Dryden has Cleomēnes ; and Fenton in Mariamne, Salome throughout the play. Other similar instances might easily be produced. Hughes, in The Siege of Damascus, calls one of his characters Eumēnes.
P. 4. p. 4. p. 5.
Speak to the mariners fall to't yarely,
I take to mean-quickly, soon.
-quickly, soon. I read-a yare
age-with Warburton, in Cymbeline, by which I understand an early, premature age.
-Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room
I think Mr. Steevens's conjecture extremely plausible, and strongly incline to read with him, -Blow till thou burst thee, Wind.
Have sunk the sea within the earth, or e'er
The use of-or e'er, (or which is the same,) or ever, for before, is very common in old writers. See Daniel vi. 24. Psalm lviii. 8, old version. Acts xxiii. 15. This explanation seems scarcely necessary.
Pros. There's no harm done.
O, woe the day!
I have done nothing but in care of thee.
The arrangement proposed by Dr. Johnson appears to me probable.
Did never meddle with my thoughts.
I think the explanation given by the author of the Remarks * (whose note Mr. Malone has omitted) is the true one. The quotation from Spenser proves that the word meddle is used in the sense of mingle; but the sense given by the Remarker seems to me easier.
* Mr. Ritson.
I have with such provision in mine art
Mr. Steevens's remark is certainly true. See an instance of the change of the structure of the sentence (as I think happily used) in Romeo and Juliet, Act iv. Sc. 2.
I doubt whether Mr. Malone rightly understands the passage in The Winter's Tale, which he has quoted (in the Appendix) in confirmation of Steevens's explanation. Though there may be a harshness in saying that a dream is awake, yet it is not greater than what frequently occurs in Shakespeare I now, on reconsideration at a distance of time, am disposed to think that Dr. Johnson's emendation ought not to be received.
P. 13 and 14.-11.-15.
Thy false uncle
Being once perfected how to grant suits,
The creatures that were mine;
Though I think Mr. Warton has explained the word trash in Othello rightly, yet I think Mr. Steevens's explanation here is the true one. Perhaps the poet had in his mind the story of Tarquin's striking off the heads of the poppies. Livy, Lib. i. 54. I find in the edition of 1793 that Mr. M. Mason has concurred in this remark.
Who having, unto truth, by telling of it,
To credit his own lie.
Lie is certainly the correlative to which it refers. The use of the pronoun before the noun to which it relates, though a sort of vsepov polepov, and improper, is not very uncommon in conversation. The following is an instance of it in Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding. B. II. C. 4. S. 1. "The bodies which we daily handle, make us perceive, that whilst they remain between them, they do by an insurmountable force, hinder the approach of the parts of our hands that press them." The thought is something like the "Fingebant, credebantque" of Tacitus, Ann. 5.
(So dry he was for sway) with the king of Naples,
Surely there was no need of a note to tell us that dry means thirsty, in which sense it is very commonly used. So Gay in his Shepherd's Week:
"Your herds for want of water stand a-dry."
I think Mr. Steevens's conjecture (cried on't) is right.
That wrings mine eyes.
it is a hint
Hear a little further,
And then I'll bring thee to the present business.
I cannot agree with Dr. Farmer and Mr. Steevens, in thinking that the words to't should be omitted. I do not think that Hear, in this verse, is used as a dissyllable. I believe wrings