Page images
PDF
EPUB

taineers, &c. may consult Maundeville's Travels, printed in 1503, by Wynken de Worde.

STEEVENS. Line 353. Each putter out, &c.) This passage, alluding to a forgotten custom, is very obscure: the putter out must be a traveller, else how could he give this account? the five for one is money to be received by him at his return. Mr. Theobald has well illustrated this passage by a quotation from Jonson. JOHNSON,

The ancient custom was this. In this age of travelling, it was customary for those who engaged in long expeditions to place out a sum of money on condition of receiving great interest for it at their return home. So Puntarvolo (it is Theobald's quotation) in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour : “I do intend, " this year of jubilee coming on, to travel; and (because I will “ not altogether go upon expence) I am determined to put forth " some five thousand pound, to be paid me five for one, upon " the return of my wife, myself, and my dog, from the Turk's “ court in Constantinople.”

STEEVENS. Line 369. Enter Ariel like a harpy, &c.] Milton's Paradise Regained, Book 2.

" with that
“Both table and provisions vanish'd quite,
“With sound of harpies wings, and talons heard."
At subitá horrifco lapsu de montibus adsunt
Harpyiæ, & magnis quatiunt clangoribus alas
Diripiuntque dapes. Virg. Æn. 3.

STEEVENS. Line 372. One dowle that's in my plume:] i.e. Feather, or par

ficle of down.

Line 391. -clear life-) Pure, blameless, innocent.

JOHNSON. · Line 396. with good life,] This seems a corruption. I know not in what sense life can here be used, unless for alacrity, liveliness, vigour, and in this sense the expression is harsh. With good life may however mean, with exact presentation of their severul characters, with observation strange of their particular and distinct parts. So we say, he acted to the life.

JOHNSON. Good life, however, is used by our author in various acceptations ; thus, in Twelfth Night, it seems to be used for innocent mirth or jollity—a meaning not here to be applied

[merged small][ocr errors]

Line 398. Their several kinds have done ;

-] i.e. Have per formed their various functions.

Line 412. -bass my trespass.] The deep pipe told it me in a rough bass sound.

JOHNSON Line 421. Like poison given, &c.] The natives of Africa have been supposed to be possessed of the secret how to temper poisons with such art as not to take effect till several years after they were administered, and were then as certain in their effect as they were subtle in their preparation.

STEEVENS. Line 424. ecstacy) i. e. Want of reflection.

ACT IV. SCENE I.

Line 3. a thread of mine own life,] In the old copy we read, third, i. e. a part or fibre thereof.

Line 7. - strangely stood the test.] Strangely is used by way of commendation, marveilleusement, to a wonder; the sense is the same in the foregoing scene, with observation strange. JOHNSON Line 14. - my gift,-] My guest, first folio. JOHNSON.

19. aspersion_] i.e. Shower.
- 41. -the rabble,] The crew of meaner spirits.

JOHNSON, 49. -Come, and go,

Each one, tripping on his toe,] So Milton,

“ Come, and trip it as you go

On the light fantastic toe." STEEVENS. 65. -bring a corollary,] That is, bring more than are sufficient, rather than fail for want of numbers. Corollary means surplus.

STEEVENS. Line 67. No tongue ;- - ] Those who are present at incantations are obliged to be strictly silent, “else," as we are afterwards told, “ the spell is marred.”

Line 71. -thatch'd with stover,–] Stover is a law word, and signifies an allowance in food or other necessaries of life. It is here used for provision in general for animals. STEEVENS.

Line 72. Thy banks with peonied, and lilied brims.) The old edition reads pioned and twilled brims; which gave rise to Mr. Holt's conjecture, that the poet originally wrote,

with pioned and tilled brims, .

Line 77.

Line 92.

Spenser and the author of Mulcasses the Turk, a tragedy, 1610; use pioning for digging. It is not therefore difficult to find a meaning for the word as it stands in the old copy; and remove a letter from twilled and it leaves us tilled. I am yet, however, in doubt whether we ought not to read lillied brims, as Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History mentions the water-lilly as a preserver of chastity.

Steevens. Line 74. - and thy broom groves,] i. e. A shrub, of which brooms are made. Line 77.

lorn; -] i.e. Forsaken.

thy pole-clipt vineyard,] To clip is to twine round or embrace. The poles are clipt or embraced by the vines.

STEEVENS. Line 90. My bosky acres, &c.] Bosky is woody. Bosquet, Fr. So Milton, “And every bosky bourn from side to side." STEEVENS.

to this short-grass'd green?] The old copy reads short-graz'd green. Short-graz'd green means grazed so us to be short.

STEEVENS. Line 115. Highest queen of state, &c.] Mr. Whalley thinks this passage in The Tempest,

High queen of state,

Great Juno comes; I know her by her gait, a remarkable instance of Shakspeare's knowledge of ancient poetic story; and that the hint was furnished by the Divûm incedo Regina of Virgil. · John Taylor, the water-poet, declares, that he never learned his Accidence, and that Latin and French were to him Heathen Greek; yet, by the help of Mr. Whalley's argument, I will prove him a learned man, in spite of every thing he may say to the contrary: for thus he makes a gallant address his lady; "Most in"estimable magazine of beauty! in whom the port and majesty

of Juno, the wisdom of Jove's braine-bred girle, and the feature “ of Cytherea, - have their domestical habitation." FARMER.

Line 124. Earth's increase, and foison plenty;] Foison, i.e. plentiful in a great degree. All the editions that I have ever seen concur in placing this whole sonnet to Juno; but very absurdly, in my opinion. I believe every accurate reader, who is acquainted

with poetical history, and the distinct offices of these two goddesses, and who then seriously reads over our author's lines, will agree with me, that Ceres's name ought to have been placed where I have now prefixed it.

THEOBALD. Line 133. Harmonious charmingly:- --] Mr. Edwards would read,

Harmonious charming lay: For though (says he) the benediction is sung by two goddesses, it is yet but one lay or hymn. I believe this passage appears as it was written by the poet, who, for the sake of the verse, made the words change places; and then the meaning is sufficiently obvious.

STEEVENS. Line 139.

a wonder'd father,] i. e. A father who performs such wonders.

Line 145. wand'ring brooks,] The modern editors read winding brooks. The old copy-windring. I suppose we should read wand'ring, as it is here printed.

STEEVENS. Line 148. Leave your crisp channels,] Crisp, i.e. curling, winding. Lat. crispus. So Henry IV. Part 1. Act 1. Sc. 4. Hotspur speaking of the river Severn,

“ And hid his crisped head in the hollow bank.” Steevens, Line 176. And like this insubstantial pageant faded,] To understand properly the meaning of this comparison, it should be remembered that pageants, or shows, were common in our author's time; on some extraordinary occasions they became costly, as on regal processions, &c.

Line 179. Leave not a rack behind:- -] “The winds” (says lord Bacon) “which move the clouds above, which we call the “rack, and are not perceived below, pass without noise."

The word is common to many authors contemporary with Shakspeare.

Sir Thomas Hanmer, instead of rack, reads arbitrarily track. To rack, in this sense, is sometimes used as a verb. So in the old play of The Raigne of King Edward III. 1596.

-like inconstant clouds,
“ That, rack'd upon the carriage of the winds,
“ Encrease and die."-

Steevens. Line 191.

to meet with Caliban.) To meet with is to coun

not

teract; to play stratagem against stratagem.- The parson knows the. temper of every one in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices,' or advances their virtues.

HERBERT's Country Parson.

JOHNSON. Line 207. pricking goss,-) I know not how Shakspeare distinguished goss from furze; for what he calls furze is called goss or gorse in the midland counties.

STEEVENS. Line 216. For stale to catch these thieves.] Stale is a word in fowling, and is used to mean a bait or decoy to catch birds.

STEEVENS. Line 225. -the blind mole

may Hear a foot fall :) It is supposed that this animal possesses the quality of hearing in a particular degree.

Line 228. he has done little better than play'd the Jack with us.] Has led us about like an ignus fatuus, by which travellers are decoyed into the mire.

JOHNSON. Line 254. Trin. O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano!

Look, what a wardrobe here is for thee!] The humour of these lines consists in their being an allusion to an old celebrated ballad, which begins thus: King Stephen was a worthy peer and celebrates that king's parsimony with regard to his wardrobe, There are two stanzas of this ballad in Othello.

WARBURTON. The old ballad is printed at large in The Reliques of Ancient Poetry, vol. 1.

PERCY. Line 258. -we know what belongs to a frippery :-) A frippery was a shop where old clothes were sold. STEEVENS. Line 264. Let's along,] First edit. Let's alone. JOHNSON

269. -under the line;] An allusion to what often happens to people who pass the line. The violent fevers, which they contract in that hot climate, make them lose their hair.

EDWARDS' MSS. I cannot think that this has any indelicate allusion, as Mr.

Steevens supposes.

Line 278.

-put some lime, &c.] i. e. Birdlime. 281. to barnacles, or to apes] Skinner says barnacle is Anser Scoticus. The barnacle is a kind of shell-fish growing

« PreviousContinue »