Imagens das páginas
[ocr errors]

house' is to be understood a tavern. He would speak of it . indignantly, as a place where wine is brewed, or manufactured:

thus, he has said a little before to the Vintner, “ you rogue, there is lime in the sack: there is nothing but roguery in man." He would give us to understand, that the liquor, while it was rendered clear by the process, became hurtful. • A similar mistake occurs in the Taming of the Shrew, where horses are printed instead of houses. See note T. of S. B.

Fal. There's no more faith in thee than in a stew'd prune; por no more truth in thee, than in a drawn fox;

There's no more faith in thee than in a stew'd prune, &c.] The propriety of these similies I am not sure that I fully understand. A stcw'd prune has the appearance of a prune, but has no taste. A drawn for, that is, an exenterated for, has the form of a fox without his powers. I think Dr. Warburton's explication wrong, which makes a drawn for to mean, à fos often hunted; though to draw is a hunter's term for pursuit by the track. My interpretation makes the fox suit better to the prune. These are very slender disquisitions, but such is the task of a commentator. Joun.

than in a stew'd prune. There appears to be a conceit in this expression, a double conceit, indeed : at one time it seems to mean the stews, and a prune become dry (prunam passam) or wrinkled; and at another time the sters and a trimm'd in allusion to the pruning of the hawk) or well-dressed female. “A prune' for a pruned person. B.

P. Henry. If thy pocket were enrich'd with any other injuries but these, I am a villain. And yet you will stand to it; you will not pocket up wrong : Art thou not ashamd ?

--if thy pocket were enrich'd with any other injuries but these, &c.] As the pocketing of injuries was a common phrase, I supposc, the Prince calls the contents of Falstaff's pocket-injuries. Steev.

other injuries but these. The argument is illogical. The conditional if, the exceptive but, followed by the conjunction yet, creates confusion, so that we know not what to infer immediately from the Prince's words. Falstaff we must remember

will not pocket up wrong ;' so at least we are to understand of him. The Prince avers that he did pocket up wrong, and this he means to prove by enumerating the contents of Falstaff's pocket, and which he calls injuries : (injuries done by himself to himself). This I conceive to be the meaning. Henry having himself picked the Knight's pocket, clears the hostess from the charge which had been brought against her. We then must

read: "If there were any thing in thy pocket but tavern-reckonings &c. if thy pocket were not enrich'd with these injuries (judging from the bills and memorandums there found) I am a villain ; and yet you will not pocket up wrong : art thou not. ashamed of this ?' B.

· Mess. His letters bear his mind, not I.

Mess. His letters bear his mind, not I his mind.] The line should be read and divided thus :

Mess. His letters bear his mind, not I.

Hot. Ilis mind ! : ... Hotspur had asked who leads his powers ? The Messenger answers, His letters bear his mind. The other replies, His mind! As much as to say, I enquire not about his mind, I want to know where his powers are. This is natural, and perfectly in character. WARB. .. His letters bear his mind.' The dividing of the line, as proposed by Dr. W., appears to be wrong. The messenger says to Hotspur : His lelters will tell you his mind, or what he purposes : he has not intrusted me so far as to make me acquainted with his intentions." B. o


for therein should we read
The very bottom and the soul of hope;
The very list, the very utmost bound
Of all our fortunes.

therein should we read

The very bottom, and the soul of hope ;] To read the bottom and soul of hope, and the bound of fortune, though all the copies, and all the editors have received it, surely cannot be right. I can think on no other word than risque :

therein should we risque The very bottom &c. The list is the salvage ; figuratively, the utmost line of circumference, the utmost extent. If we should with less change read rend, it will only suit with list, not with soul, or bottom. JOHN.

“ The very bottom, &c.” Change is unnecessary. “ To read " is to discover. We now talk of reading a man, i. e. that we are able to discover, that we can easily see through his designs. B.

Doug. A comfort of retirement lives in this,

A comfort of retirement - ] A support to which we may have recourse. Join.

id comfort of retirement,' This is very unmeaning. I read "a comfort of retrievement lives in this : 'Comfort' for hope.

When the context is considered, this, I believe, will be found to be the right reading. B.

Wor. The quality and hair of our attempt Brooks no division :

The quality and hair of our attempt] The hair seems to be the complexion, the character. The metaphor appears harsh to us, but, perhaps, was familiar in our author's time. We still say, something is against the hair, as against the grain, that is, against the natural tendency. John. I am not satisfied with this interpretation, and therefore reall,

" The quality and aire of our attempt.” An aire, or airy, is the nest of a bird of prey : which vests are always built on the tops of the loftiest trees. The sense of the passage is,--our attempt being great and towering, &c. B.

Wor. For, well you know, we of the offering side Must keep aloof from strict arbitrement;

we of the offering side] All the latter editions read offending, but all the older copies which I have seen, from the first quarto to the edition of Rowe', read, we of the off'ring side. Of this reading the sense is obscure, and thereforc the change has been made ; but since neither offering nor offending are words likely to be mistaken, I cannot but suspect that offering is right; especially as it is read in the first copy of 1599, which is more correcily printed than any single edition, that I have yet seen, of a play written by Shakspeare.

The offering side may signify that party, which, acting in opposition to the law, strengthens itself only by offers ; increases its numbers only by promises. The king can raise an army, and continue it by threats of punishment; but those, whom no man is under any obligation to obey, can gather forces only by offers of advantage : and it is truly remarked, that they, whose influence arises from offers, must keep danger out of sight.

The offering side may mean simply the assailant, in opposition to the defendant ; and it is likewise true of him that offers war, or makes an invasion, that his cause ought to be kept clear from all objections. Joun.

"We of the offering side. Neither offering nor offending,' have any sense here. We must read affeering. To affeer an account (in the exchequer) is to approve it. Worcester's meaning is : “We who set up for affeerers or regulators in this business, must keep clear of all appearance of partiality : we must not subject ourselves, by evident prejudices, to a nice examination juto our conduct, &c.” B.

Hot. Come, let me take my horse,
Who is to bear me, like a thunder-bolt,
Against the bosom of the prince of Wales :
Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse-
Meet, and ne'er part, 'till one drop down a corse.

Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horsema

Aleet, and ne'er part, This reading I have restored from the first edition. The edition in 1623, reads:

Ilarry to Harry skall, not horse to horse,

Meet, and ne'er part. Which has been followed by all the critics except Sir Thomas Ilaumer, who, justly remarking the impertinence of the negative, reads :'

Harry to Harry shall, and horse to horse,

Meet, and ne'er part. But the unexampled expression of meeting to for meeting with, or simply meeting, is yet left. · The ancient reading is surely right.

Join. Harry to Harry shall, hot horse to horse.' I can discover no impertinence in not horse to horse :' on the contrary I think the reading has force, while that of 'hot horse to horse' is ex ceedingly harsh and feeble. By “Harry to Harry shall, not horse to horse," Hotspur would insinuate that it will be no ordinary encounter- not like that in which men fight in the way of business; but that he will meet the Prinee as a sworn enemy, as an inveterate foe— one or other must drop down a corse. It is Harry to Harry, 'not’ mercenary to mercenary. Johnson is at the same time wrong in talking of the "unexampled expression of meeting to, instead of meeting with. There is no such expression here. The construction is : ‘Harry to Harry shall'[be opposed). There is then an Ellipsis so common with our author : [They shall] ' meet and ne'er part &c.' B.

Hot. Never did I hear
Of any prince, so wild, at liberty :-

Of any prince, so wild, at liberty :-) Of any prince that play'd such pranks, and was not confined as a madman. John. "

The quartos 1598, 1599, and 1608, read, so wild a libertie.' Perhaps the author wrote, so wild a libertine. STEEV.

" So wild, at liberty.” So wild a libertie,"is no doubt the true reading. The construction is not that Hotspur had never heard of so wild a prince being at liberty. The remark, indeed, would be absurd, since a prince is not to be put in durance

by reason of his frolics, of his juvenile pranks. The meaning is, that he had never heard of the son of a king who had conducted himself so very unseemly : that he cou!d instance no other of his station in life whose manners were so very dissolute. B.

« AnteriorContinuar »