Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

j.e. “ A love manner. Sompoor, and spe

[ocr errors]

Beyond all manner of so much I love you.

Beyond all manner of so much--) Beyond all assign. able quantity: I love you beyond limits, and cannot say it is so much, for how much soever I should name, it would be yet more. Joun.

The present reading is harsh. I would strike out the preposition of, and read and point thus :

• A love that makes breath poor, and speech unable

« Beyond all.mauner. So much I love you." i. e. “ A love which cannot be expressed in words— love of which you can have no conception. B. Reg. .

1 profess Myself an enemy to all other joys,

Which the most precious square of sense possesses; · And find, I am alone felicitate In your dear highness' love."

Which the most precious square of sense possesses ;] By the square of sense, we are, here, to understand the four nobler senses, viz. the sight, hearing, taste, and smell. For a young lady could not, wih decency, insinuate that she knew of any pleasures which the filth afforded. This is imagined and expressed with great propriety and delicacy. But the Oxford editor, for square, reads spirit. WARB.

This is acute; but perhaps square means only compass, comprehension. John.

So, in a Parænesis to the Prince, by lord Sterline, 1604:
“ The square of reason, and the mind's clear eye.”. Steev.

• Which the most precious square of sense possesses.' Mr. Steevens' quotation is nothing to the purpose. The • square of reason' is the suitableness, the fitness, the agreeableness of reason. B.

Lear.

To whose young love The vines of France, and milk of Burgundy, Strive to be interess'd. : Interessd] Tointerest and to interesse, are not, perhaps, different spellings of the same verb, but are two distinct words though of the same import; the one being derived from the Latin the other from the French interesser. Steev.

"Strive to be interess'd. To interesse has the sense of to unite, to coalesce, a french signification ; which signifi-' cation the verb “to interest' will not bear. How then can the two words be of the same import? B. Lear. Since thou hast sought to make us break • Since thou hast sought to make us break our vow, (Which we durst never yet) and with straip'd pride, To come betwixt our sentence and our power, , (Which nor our nature por our place can bear :) Make we our potency good :-take thy reward !

our vow, (Which we durst never yet,) and with strain d

pride, To come betwixt our sentence and our power, (Which not our nature nor our place can bear,) Our potency made good, take thy reward.

To come betwixt our sertence and our power;] Power, for execution of the sentence. WARB.

Rather, as Mr. Edwards observes, oar power to execute that sentence. STELV.

Our sentence and our power.' • Power' is not used for elecution of the sentence, nor does it mean power to erecute that sentence :' our power' is our right, our just and lawful right : since the power he had to boast of might be usurped, to punish as a sovereign.”- lu which sense it is employed by Milton. B.

Which nor our nature, nor our place, can bear,

Our potency make good ;- ) Mr. Theobald, by putting the first line into a parenthesis, and altering make to made in the second line, had destroyed the sense nf the whole: which, as it stood before he corrupted the words, was this : “ You have endeavoured, says Lear, to make me break my oath ; you have presumed to stop the execution of my sentence; the latter of these attempts neither my temper nor high station will suffer me to bear; and the other, had i yielded to it, my power could not make good, or excuse." Which, in the first line, referring to both attempts : but the ambiguity of it, as it might refer only to the latter, has occasioned all the obscurity of the passage. WARB.

To come betwixt our sentence and our power, .
Which nor our nature, nor our place can bear,

Our potency make good.' A very slight change in the order of the words of the latter line, with the addition of 'we,' will give that clearness and strength to the passage which it at present wants. Read,

[ocr errors]

Five days, &c. “ Since thou hast presumed to question, to dispute our power, then, (as consequent of that presumption) Make we our potency good.'-" Let us shew ihat we have power,”-or, “ we will exercise our power," so “ Take thy reward, &c." 'B.

Lear. Five days we do allot thee, for provision To shield thee from disasters of the world; And, on the sixth, to turn thy hated back Upon our kingdom.

disasters.] The quartos read discases. Steer. Five days we do allot thee, for provision To shield thee from disasters of the world. I believe ' diseases to be the right word-not, however, in the sense of malady or sickness, but ill at ease, that is, as far as respects the goods of fortune. The word • provision' directs to this reading—for disasters' are calamities, unhappy accidents, and from which no provision accumulation of stores or stock could save him." - Provision to sbield thee from diseases of the world,' i..e. sufficient to shield thee from worldly want. B. ,

Lear. Sir, there she stands :
If aught within that little, seeming substance,
Or all of it, with our displeasure piec'd,
And nothing more, may fitly like your grace,
She's there, and she is yours.

Seeming) is beautiful. Steev.

* Seeming substance.' “Seeming' cannot possibly be explained by beautiful, whatever may be thought of seemly. : Seeming substance is seeming reality. In vulgar language hollow. Lear would insinuate that Cordelia is of deceitful appearance, that she is untrue.

But let us attend to Dr. Johnson " To interpret words

with such laxity as to make full the same with beneficial, is to put an end to all necessity of emendation, for any word may then stand in place of another.” Such is the remark of the Lexicographer, on Warburton's interpretation of full. But see my note, Measure for Measure, Act 4. by which it will appear that the learned Prelate is perfectly right. Thus the remarker is not only wrong in his censure, but errs bimself in the very matter he goes about to reprove : nay errs in it most egregiously, since it is impossible, by any endeavour whatever, to give to seeming the sense of beautiful. B.

France.

Sure, her offence
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it, or your fore-vouch'd affection
Fall into taint.

That monsters it ;] This uncommon verb occurs again in Coriolanus, Act II. sc. ii :

“ To hear my nothings monster'd." Steev. . “ Monsters it” should, I think, be masters it : and I am the more inclined to this opinion, as monstrous occurs a line or two before. I read the passage thus :

• " that she should
Commit a thing so monstrous, to dismantle
“ So many folds of favor! sure, her offence
“ Must be of most unnatural degree,

« That masters it." “ That masters it," i. e. that masters your favor or kind. ness. If we do not admit this reading, where is the antecedent to it? B.

The common books read:

---or your fore-vouch'd affection

Fall'n into taint: This line bas no clear or strong sense, nor is this reading authorized by any copy, though it has crept into all the late editions. The early quarto reads :

-->or you for vouch'd affections

Fall'n into taint. The folio :

or your fore-vouch'd affection Fallinto taint. Taint is used for corruption and for disgrace. If therefore we take the oldest reading, it may be reformed thus:

SHAK,

sure her offence"
Must be of such unnatural degree,
That monsters it'; or you for vouch'd affection

Fall into taint. Her offence must be prodigious, or you must fall into reproach for having couched affection which you did not feel. If the reading of the folio be preferred, we may with a very slight change produce the same sense :,

sure her offence Must be of such unnatural degree, That inoustess it, or your fore-vouch'd affection :

Falls into taint. That is, falls into reproach or censure. But there is another possible sense. Or signifies before, and or ever is before ever ; ihe meaning in the fulio may therefore be, Sure her crime must be monstrous before your affection can be affected with hatred. Let the reader determine. As I am not much a friend to conjectural emendation, I should prefer the latter sense which requires no change of reading. John.

In sypport of the reading of the quarto, in preference to that of the folio, it should be observed, that Lear had not vouch'd, had not made any particular declaration of his affection for Cordelia : while on the other hand Goneril and Regan have made in this scene an ostentatious profession of their love for their father. Mal. :

The reading of the folio is right. Taint, I think, is suspicion.

“ or your fore-vouch'd affection

“ Fall into taint.” That is, the affection which you had before expressed will be questioned or disbelievedits sincerity will be doubted.

Mr. Malone is wrong, in saying that Lear had not made any declaration of his affection for Cordelia. He says of her, in one place, “ Now our joy, although the last, not least," and in another, “ We loved her most," &c. B.

U

Cor. Time shall unfold what plaited cunning

hides, Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.

-plaited cunning- i.e. complicated, involved cunning. John.

“ Plaited cunning." The epithet plaited is weak and.

« AnteriorContinuar »