Page images
PDF
EPUB

By holy croffes, where she kneels, and prays, '
For happy wedlock hours.

Lor. Who comes with her ?
Serv. None, but a holy hermit, and her maid.
-I pray you, is my

yet return'd?
Lor. He is not, nor we have not heard from him.-
But go we in, I pray thee, Jessica,
And ceremoniously let us prepare
Some welcome for the mistress of the house.

my master

Enter Launcelot.

Laun. Sola, fola, wo ha, ho, sola, sola!
Lor. Who calls?

Laun. Sola! did you see master Lorenzo and mistress Lorenza? fola, fola !

Lor. Leave hollowing, man: here.
Laun. Sola! where? where?
Lor. Here.

Leun. Tell him, there's a post come from my master with his horn full of good news. My master will be here ere morning, sweet soul. [Exit.

Lor. Let's in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter ;-Why should we go in?
My friend Stephano, signify, I pray you,
Within the house, your mistress is at hand;
And bring your musick forth into the air.

(Exit servant. How sweet the moon-light Neeps upon this bank !

She doth ftray about
By boly crosses,]
So in the Merry Devil of Edmonton ;

“ But there are Crofjes, wife; here's one in Waltham,
“ Another at the Abbey, and the third
“ At Certon, and ’tis ominous to pass

Any of these without a Pater nofter."
and this is a reason afligned for the delay of a wedding.

STEEVENS.

Here

2

Here will we fit, and let the sounds of musick
Creep in our ears ; soft ftillness, and the night
Become the touches of su eet harmony.
Sit, Jessica: Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlay'd with pattens of bright gold;
There's not the smallest orb, which thou behold'ít,
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubims:
Such harmony is in immortal souls ! 3

But - with PATTERNS of bright gold;} We should read PATENS : a round broad plate of gold borne in heraldry.

WARBURTON. Pallens is the reading of the first folio, and pattenti of the quarto. Patterns is printed first in the folio, 1632. Johnson.

3 Such barmony is in immorial souls ;] But the harmony here described is that of the spheres, so much celebrated by the antients. He says, the fi: allest orb fings like an angel; and then subjoins, such harmony is in immortal souls : but the harmony of angels is not here meant, but of the orbs. Nor are we to think, that here the poet alludes to the notion, that each orb has its intelli. gence or angel to direct it; for then with no propriety could he say, the orb lung like an angil: he should rather have said, the angel in the orb jung. We mult therefore correct the lines thus ;

Such harmony is in immorial sounds : i e, in the muack of the spheres. WARBURTON.

This passage is obfcure. Iinmorial sounds is a harsh combination of words, yet Milton uses a parallel expression :

Spiritus & rapidos qui circinat igneus orbes,
I unc quoque fidereis in'ercinit ipse choreis

Immortale melos, & inenarrabile carmen, It is proper to exhibit the lines as they stand in the copies of the first, second, third, and fourth editions, without any variation, for a change has been filently made, by Rowe, and adopted by all the succeeding cditors.

Such harmony is in immorial foul:,
But while ibis muddy wifiure of decey

Dsch grojly clofe in it, we cannet hear it. That the third is corrupt must be allowed, but it gives reason to suspect that the original was,

Doth groll, clife it in.

[ocr errors]

4

But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grolly close it in, we cannot hear it.
Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with musick.
Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet musick.

[Mufick.
Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive :
For do but note a wild and wanton herd,
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they perchance but hear a trumpet found,
Or any air of musick touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their favage eyes turn’d to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of musick. Therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and foods;
Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But musick for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no musick in himself, s

Nor Yet I know not whether from this any thing better can be produced than the received reading. Perhaps harmony is rhe power of perceiv.ng harmony, as afterwards, Mufick in the jiul is the quality of being moved with concord of fwiet jounds. This will fomewhat explain the old copies, but the sentence is still imperfect; which might be completed by reading,

Sucb harmony is in th' immorial soul,
But while this muddy vifure of decay

Duih grofly close it in, we cannot hear it. JOHNSON. close it in--] is the reading of the quarto. STEEVENS.

-wake Diara woh a h;mn ;] Diana is the moon, who is in the next scene represented as sleeping. JOHNSON.

5 The man that hath no mufick in himself,

Nor is not mov’a with concord of /weet jounds,] The thought here is extremely fine: as if the beirs affected with mufick was only the harmony between the internal (musick in bimSelf] and the external mufick [concord of fwat sounds ;] which

were

Nor is not moy'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils ;
The motions of his fpirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.-Mark the musick.

Enter Portia and Nerisa at a distance.
Por. That light we see, is burning in my

hall: -How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a naughty world. Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the

candle. Por. So doth the greater glory dim the lefs : A substitute shines brightly as a king, Until a king be by; and then his state Empties itself, as doth an inland brook Into the main of waters.--Musick, hark! (Mufick.

Ner. It is your musick, madam, of the house.

were mutually affected like unison ftrings. This whole speech could not chuse but please an English audience. whose great pas. fion, as well then as now, was love of mufick. Jam verò video naturam (says Erasmus in praise of folly) ut fingulis nationibus, ac pene civitatibus, communem quandam infeville Philautiam : Orque hinc fieri, ut BRITANNI prater alia Formam, MUSICAM, & lautas Menjas pri priè fibi vindicent. WARBURTON.

This passage, which is neither pregnant with phyfical or moral truth, nor poetically beautiful, in an eminent degree, has conftantly enjoyed the good fortune to be repeated by those whose inhospitable memories would have refused to admit or retain any other sentiment or description of the same author, however exalted or just. The truth is, that it furnishes the vacant fidler with something to say in defence of his profeffion, and supplies the coxcomb in mufic, with an invective against such as do not pretend to difcover all the various powers of language in inarticulate founds. • It is no uncommon thing to see those who would think half a day well spent in reconciling a couple of jarring strings to unison, and yet would make no fcruple to employ the other half in setting two of the moft intimate friends at variance. So much for the certitude of being taught morality in the school of music.

Ferte citi farmas, date rila

STSEVENS.

Por. Nothing is good, I fee, without respect : Methinks, it sounds much sweeter than by day.

Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam.

Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark, When neither is attended ; and, I think, The nightingale, if she should sing by day, When every goose is cackling, would be thought No better a musician than the wren. How many things by season season'd are To their right praise, and true perfection?

- Peace! how the moon Neeps with Endymion, And would not be awak'd !

[Mufick ceases. Lor. That is the voice, Or I am much deceiv’d, of Portia. Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the

cuckow, By the bad voice.

Lor. Dear lady, welcome home.
Por. We have been praying for our husbands'

healths,
Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd!

Lor. Madam, they are not yet;
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.

Por. Go, Nerissa,
Give order to my servants, that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence.
-Nor you, Lorenzo; Jessica, nor you.

1 A tucket sounds.
Lor. Your husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet :
-We are no tell tales, madam, fear you not.
Por. This night, methinks, is but the day-light

sick,

-without respect.] Not absolutely good, but relatively, good as it is modified by circumstances. Johnson.

Ir

« PreviousContinue »