« AnteriorContinuar »
And ye, that on the sands with printless foot
Auræque, et venti, montesque, amnesque, lacusque,
Diique omnes nemorum, diique omnes noctis, adeste. The translation of which, by Golding, is by no means literal, and Shakspeare hath closely followed it. FARMER.
Whoever will take the trouble of comparing this whole passage with Medea's speech, as translated by Golding, will see evidently that Shakspeare copied the translation, and not the original. The particular expressions that seem to have made an impression on his mind, are printed in Italicks : “ Ye ayres and windes, ye elves of hills, of brookes, of woodes
alone, “Of standing lakes, and of the night, approche ye everych one. Through help of whom (the crooked bankes much wondering
at the thing) “ I have compelled streames to run clear backward to their spring. “By charms I make the calm sea rough, and make the rough
seas playne, “ And cover all the skie with clouds, and chase them thence again.
By charmes I raise and lay the windes, and burst the viper's jaw, “ And from the bowels of the earth both stones and trees do draw. “ Whole woodes and forrests I remove, I make the mountains
“ And even the earth itself to groan and fearfully to quake. “ I call up dead men from their graves, and thee, O lightsome
moone, “ I darken oft, though beaten brass abate thy peril soone. “ Our sorcerie dimmes the morning faire, and darks the sun at
noone, " The flaming breath of fierie bulles ye quenched for my sake, “ And caused their unwieldy neckes the bended yoke to take.
Among the earth-bred brothers you a mortal warre did set, “ And brought asleep the dragon fell, whose eyes were never
shet.” MALONE. “ Ye elves of hills,” &c. Fairies and elves are frequently, in the poets, mentioned together without any distinction of character that I can recollect. Keysler kays, that alp and alf, which is elf with the Suedes and English, equally signified a mountain, or a dæmon of the mountains. This seems to have been its original meaning; but Somner's Dict. mentions elves or fairies of the mountains, of the woods, of the sea and fountains, without any distinction between elves and fairies. TOLLET.
It would be an injustice to our great poet, if the reader were not to take notice that Ovid has not supplied him with any thing
When he comes back; you demy-puppets, that
forth By my so potent art : But this rough magick”
resembling the exquisite fairy imagery with which he has enriched this speech. BosWELL.
with PRINTIESs foot Do chase the ebbing Neptune,) So Milton, in his Masque :
“ Whilst from off the waters feet,
“ Thus I set my printless feet.” STEEVENS. 2 (Weak MASTERS though ye be,)] The meaning of this passage may be,
Though you are but inferior masters of these supernatural powers-though you possess them but in a low degree.” Spenser uses the same kind of expression in The Fairy Queen, b. iii. cant. 8, st. 4:
“ Where she (the witch) was wont her sprights to entertain,
by whose aid, (Weak masters though ye be,) That is; ye are powerful auxiliaries, but weak if left to yourselves ;—your employment is then to make green ringlets, and midnight mushrooms, and to play the idle pranks mentioned by Ariel in his next song ;-yet by your aid I have been enabled to invert the course of nature. We say proverbially, “Fire is a good servant, but a bad master.”
BLACKSTONE. 3 - But this rough magick, &c.] This speech of Prospero VOL. XV.
I'll drown my
I here abjure: and, when I have requir'd
[Solemn musick. Re-enter Ariel: after him, Alonso, with a fran
tick gesture, attended by GonzalO; SEBASTIAN and Antonio in like manner, attended by ADRIAN and Francisco: they all enter the circle which PROSPERO had made, and there stand charmed;
which PROSPERO observing, speaks. A solemn air, and the best comforter To an unsettled fancy, cure thy brains, Now useless, boild within thy skull 4! There stand, For you are spell-stopp’d. Holy Gonzalo, honourable man, Mine eyes, even sociable to the shew of thine, Fall fellowly drops 5.—The charm dissolves apace ; And as the morning steals upon the night, Melting the darkness, so their rising senses
sets out with a long and distinct invocation to the various ministers of his art ; yet to what purpose they were invoked does not very distinctly appear. Had our author written-“ All this,” &c. instead of " But this,” &c. the conclusion of the address would have been more pertinent to its beginning. Steevens.
BOIL'D within thy skull!] So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream : Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,” &c.
STEEVENS. Again, in The Winter's Tale: “ Would any but these boild brains of nineteen and two-and-twenty, hunt this weather ? ”
MALONE. 5 - fellowly drops.] I would read, fellow drops. The additional syllable only injures the metre, without enforcing the sense. Fellowly, however, is an adjective used by Tusser.
Begin to chase the ignorant fumes that mantle
blood, You brother mine, that entertain'd ambition ®, Expelld remorse and nature o; who, with Sebas
tian, (Whose inward pinches therefore are most strong,) Would here have killd your king ; I do forgive
6 -- the ignorant fumes --] i. e. the fumes of ignorance.
HEATн. . 7 Thou’rt pinch'd for't now, Sebastian.-Flesh and blood,] Thus the old copy: Theobald points the passage in a different manner, and perhaps rightly : “ Thou’rt pinch'd for’t now, Sebastian, flesh and blood.”
STEEVENS. 8 -- that ENTERTAIN'D ambition,] Old copy-entertain. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
9 — REMORSE and NATURE;] Remorse is by our author and the contemporary writers generally used for pity, or tenderness of heart. Nature is natural affection. Malone.
ARIEL re-enters, singing, and helps to attire
In a cowslip's bell I lie?:
• In a cowslip's bell I lie :) So, in Drayton's Nymphidia :
“At midnight, the appointed hour ;
“ On Hipcut hill that bloweth.”
As this passage is now printed, Ariel says that he reposes in a cowslip's bell during the night. Perhaps, however, [as Mr. Capell has suggested), a full point ought to be placed after the word couch, and a comma at the end of the line. If the passage should be thus regulated, Ariel will then take his departure by night, the proper season for the bat to set out upon the expedition. Malone. So, in Drayton's Owle, 4to. 1604 :
such thieves as hate the light, “The black-ey'd bat, the watchman of the night.” That the crying of owls was introduced as descriptive of night, and not to mark the season of the year, is proved by Shakspeare's frequent mention of the same bird in various places, in all of which the owl is introduced as an attendant upon night. So, in Macbeth :
“ It was the owl that cry'd, the fatal bellman,
That giv'st the stern'st good-night." Again, in King Henry VI. Part II. :
“Deep night, dread night, the silent of the night,
“ When scritch-owls cry." Again, in his Venus and Adonis :
“ The owl, night's herald, shrieks ; 'tis very late,” &c. Again, in Cymbeline : The night to the owl, and morn to the lark, less welcome.”
MALONE. The pointing of Ariel's song, its third line in particular, is in the last degree bad, and that in every edition ; couch has no stop at all in any of them, and cry a full one : what results from this