Page images
PDF
EPUB

Checkering the eastern clouds with streaks of light;
And flecked darkness - like a drunkard reels
From forth day's path and Titan's firy wheels • :

more proper than in the mouth of Romeo just before, when he was full of nothing but the thoughts of his mistress. Pope.

In the folio these lines are printed twice over, and given once to Romeo, and once to the Friar. Johnson.

The same mistake has likewise happened in the quartos 1599, 1609, and 1637. STEVENS.

4 And Flecked darkness - ] Flecked is spotted, dappled, streaked, or variegated. In this sense it is used by Churchyard, in his Legend of Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. Mowbray, speaking of the Germans, says:

All jagg'd and frounc'd, with divers colours deck'd,

They swear, they curse, and drink till they be fleck'd.Lord Surrey uses the same word in his translation of the fourth Æneid :

“Her quivering cheekes flecked with deadly staine." The same image occurs also in Much Ado About Nothing, Act V. Sc. III. :

Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey." Steevens. The word is still used in Scotland, where“ a flecked cow” is a common expression. See the Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, in v. fleckit. Malone.

s From forth day's path and Titan's firy wheels :) Thus the quarto 1597. That of 1599, and the folio, haveburning wheels. The modern editions read corruptly, after the second folio : “ From forth day's path-way made by Titan's wheels.”

MALONE. Here again I have followed this reprobated second folio. It is easy to understand how darkness might reel“ from forth day's path-way,” &c. But what is meant by-forth Titan's firy wheels ?"

A man may stagger out of a path, but not out of a wheel.

So, in Jocasta's address to the sun in the POINIELAI of Euripides : Ω την εν αστροις ουρανού ΤΕΜΝΩΝ ΟΔΟΝ.

STEEVENS. These lines are thus quoted in England's Parnassus, or the Choysest Flowers of our Níodern Poets, &c. 1600 :

“ The gray-eyde morne smiles on the frowning night,

Cheering the easterne cloudes with streames of light; “ And darknesse flected, like a drunkard reeles

“ From forth daye's path-way made by Titan's wheels.” So that the various reading in the last line does not originate

Now ere the sun advance his burning eye,
The day to cheer, and night's dank dew to dry,
I must up-fill this osier cage of ours",
With baleful weeds, and precious-juiced flowers”.

in an arbitrary alteration by the editor of the second folio, as the ingenious commentator supposes. Holt White.

It is common with our author to form the latter part of his sentence as if the first part had been differently constructed. So in Othello, Act I. Sc. I. :

“ As when by night and negligence, the fire

“ Is spied in populous cities.” See notes on that passage. England's Parnassus is no authority, as it abounds with blunders. Thus in the Rape of Lucrece:

“O opportunity

“ 'Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at law, at reason." which is thus given in England's Parnassus, p. 222 : " "Tis thou that spurn'st at right, at lawiers reason.”

MALONE. I see no difficulty: forth is arvay from. An amusing list might be made out of the errors in England's Parnassus. One of the most ludicrous is in a quotation from Fairfax's Tasso, where he is describing a furious bull :

“And with his foot kicks up the sand on high :" which that miscellany thus exhibits :

“And with his foot kicks up his hand on high.” Boswell. 6 I must up-fill this osier cage of ours, &c.] So, in the 13th Song of Drayton's Polyolbion :

" His happy time he spends the works of God to see,
“ In those so sundry herbs which there in plenty grow,
“Whose sundry strange effects he only seeks to know.
And in a little maund, being made of oziers small,
“ Which serveth him to do full many a thing withal,

“ He very choicely sorts his simples got abroad." Drayton is speaking of a hermit. Steevens.

7- and precious-juiced flowers.] Shakspeare, on his introduction of Friar Laurence, has very artificially prepared us for the part he is afterwards to sustain. Having thus early discovered him to be a chemist, we are not surprized when we find him furnishing the draught which produces the catastrophe of the piece. I owe this remark to Dr. Farmer. Steevens.

In the passage before us Shakspeare had the poem in his thoughts :

“But not in vain, my child, hath all my wand'ring been ;-
“What force the stones, the plants, and metals, have to work,

3

(1) The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb 8 ;
What is her burying grave, that is her womb :
And from her womb children of divers kind
We sucking on her natural bosom find;
Many for many virtues excellent,
None but for some, and yet all different. (ID)
0, mickle is the powerful grace', that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities :
For nought so vile that on the earth doth live 1
But to the earth ? some special good doth give;
Nor aught so good, but, strain’d from that fair use,
Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse *:
Virtue itself turns vice, being misapplied ;
And vice sometime's by action dignified.
Within the infant rind of this small flower
Poison hath residence, and med'cine power:
For this, being smelt, with that part * cheers each

part;
* Quarto A, Revolts to vice, and stumbles on abuse.
“And divers other thinges that in the bowels of earth do lurk,
“With care I have sought out, with pain I did them prove."

Malone. 8 The earth, that's nature's mother, is her tomb :] Omniparens, eadem rerum commune sepulchrum."

Lucretius. “ The womb of nature, and perhaps her grave.”

Milton. STEEVENS. So, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609 :

Time's the king of men, “ For he's their parent, and he is their grave.” Malone.

powerful grace,] Efficacious virtue. Johnson. · For nought so vile that on the earth doth live,] The quarto 1597 reads“For nought so vile that vile on earth doth live.” Steevens. to the earth —] i. e. to the inhabitants of the earth.

Malone. 3 — of this small flower -] So the quarto 1597. All the subsequent ancient copies have—this weak flower. Malone.

with that part -- i. e. with the part which smells ; with the olfactory nerves.

MALONE,

9

2

4

Being tasted, slays all senses with the heart.
Two such opposed foes encamp them still
In man as well as herbs, grace, and rude will;
And, where the worser is predominant,
Full soon the canker death eats up that plant“.

Enter Romeo. Rom. Good morrow, father * ! FRI.

Benedicite!
What early tongue so soon f saluteth me ?-
Young son, it argues a distemper'd head,
So soon to bid good morrow to thy bed :
Care keeps his watch in every old man's eye,
And where care lodges, sleep will never lie ;
But where unbruised youth with unstuff'd brain
Doth couch his limbs, there golden sleep doth

reign?:
* Quarto A, Good morrow to my ghostly confessor.

+ Quarto B, and the rest, sweet.
s Two such opposed foes ENCAMP them still

In man -] Foes is the reading of the oldest copy; kings of thal in 1609. Shakspeare might have remembered the following passage in the old play of The Misfortunes of Arthur, 1587:

“ Peace hath three foes encamped in our breasts,

“ Ambition, wrath, and envie STEEVENS. So, in our author's Lover's Complaint :

terror, and dear modesty, Encamp'd in hearts, but fighting outwardly." Thus the quarto of 1597. The quarto of 1599, and all the subsequent ancient copies, read—such opposed kings. Our author has more than once alluded to these opposed foes, contending for the dominion of man. So, in Othello :

“ Yea, curse his belter angel from his side.” Again, in his 44th Sonnet :

“ To win me soon to hell, my female evil
“ Tempteth my better angel from my side :
“ Yet this I ne'er shall know, but live in doubt,

• Till my bad angel fire my good one out.” Malone. 6 Full soon the CANKER DEATH EATS UP that plant.] So, in our author's 99th

onnet : * A vengeful canker eat him up to death." Malone. 7 - with unstuff'd brain, &c.] The copy 1597 reads :

Therefore thy earliness doth me assure,
Thou art up-rous'd by some distemp’rature ;
Or if not so, then here I hit it right-
Our Romeo hath not been in bed to-night.
Rom. That last is true, the sweeter rest was

mine.
Fri. God pardon sin! wast thou with Rosaline ?

Rom. With Rosaline, my ghostly father? no; I have forgot that name, and that name's woe. Fri. That's my good son : But where hast thou

been then ? Rom. I'll tell thee, ere thou ask it me again. I have been feasting with mine enemy; Where, on a sudden, one hath wounded me, That's by me wounded; both our remedies Within thy help and holy physick lies 6 : I bear no hatred, blessed man; for, lo, My intercession likewise steads my foe. Fri. Be plain, good son, and homely * in thy

drift; Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift. Rom. Then plainly know, my heart's dear love

is set
On the fair daughter of rich Capulet:
As mine on hers, so hers is set on mine;
And all combin'd, save what thou must combine
By holy marriage: When, and where, and how,
We met, we woo'd, and made exchange of vow,
I'll tell thee as we pass; but this I pray,
That thou consent to marry us this day.

* Quarto B, rest homely.

[ocr errors]

with unstuff'd brains
“Doth couch his limmes, there golden sleepe remaines.”

STEEVENS. - both our REMEDIES

Within thy help and holy physick lies :) This is one of the passages in which our author has sacrificed grammar to rh ne.

M. Mason. See Cymbeline, Act II. Sc. III. Malone.

« PreviousContinue »