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And therefore finding barren practisers,
the suspicious head of theft is stoppd;i. e. a lover in pursuit of his mistress has his sense of hearing quicker than a thief (who suspects every sound he hears) in pursuit of his prey.
Warburton. “ The suspicious head of theft (says a writer in the Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786) is the suspicious head of the thief. There is no man who listens so eagerly as a thief, or whose ears are so acutely upon the stretch.” Steevens. 2_ cockled-1 i. e. inshelled, like the fish called a cockle.
Steevens. 3 Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?] Our author had heard or read of “the gardens of the Hesperides," and seems to have thought that the latter word was the name of the garden in which the golden apples were kept; as we say, the gardens of the Tuil. leries, &c. So, in Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, by Robert Greene, 1598:
“ Shew thee the tree, leav'd with refined gold,
“ That watch'd the garden, call’d HESPERIDES." 'The word may have been used in the same sense in The Legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, a poem, 1597 :
" And, like the dragon of the Hesperides,
“Shutteth the garden's gate -.” . Malone. 4 As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair ;] This expression, like that other in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, of
• Orpheus' harp was strung with poets' sinews," is extremely beautiful, and highly figurative. Apollo, as the
And, when love speaks, the voice of all the gods
sun, is represented with golden hair; so that a lute strung with his hair means no more than strung with gilded wire. Warburton.
“- as sweet and musical
“ As bright Apollo's lute strung with his hair.” The author of the Revisal supposes this expression to be alle. gorical, p. 138: “ Apollo's lute strung with sunbeams, which in poetry are called hair.” But what idea is conveyed by Apollo's lute strung with sunbeams? Undoubtedly the words are to be taken in their literal sense; and in the style of Italian imagery, the thought is highly elegant. The very same sort of conception occurs in Lyly's Mydas, a play which most probably preceded Shakspeare's. Act IV, sc. i, Pan tells Apollo: “Had thy lute been of lawrell, and the strings of Daphne's haire, thy tunes might have been compared to my notes," &c. T. Warton.
Lyly's Mydas, quoted by Mr. Warton, was published in 1592. The same thought occurs in How to chuse a Good Wife from a Bad, 1602:
“ Hath he not torn those gold wires from thy head,
“ And kept them to play musick to the gods?" Again, in Storer's Life and Death of Cardinal Wolsey, a poem, 1599:
“ With whose heart-strings Amphion's lute is strung,
Steevens. 5 And, when love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.] This nonsense we should read and point thus:
And when love speaks the voice of all the gods,
Mark, heaven drowsy with the harmony i. e. in the voice of love alone is included the voice of all the gods. Alluding to that ancient theogony, that love was the parent and support of all the gods. Hence, as Suidas tells us, Palaphatus wrote a poem called 'Αφροδιτης και Ερωφ- φωνή και noyou. The Voice and Speech of Venus and Love, which appears to have been a kind of cosmogony, the harmony of which is so great, that it calms and allays all kinds of disorders: alluding again to the ancient use of music, which was to compose monarchs, when, by reason of the cares of empire, they used to pass whole nights in restless inquietude. Warburton. The ancient reading is “Make heaven
" Johnson. I cannot find any reason for Dr. Warburton's emendation, nor do I believe the poet to have been at all acquainted with that ancient theogony mentioned by his critick. The former reading, with the slight addition of a single letter, was, perhaps, the true one. When love speaks, (says Biron) the assembled gods reduce the
Never durst poet touch a pen to write,
element of the sky to a calm, by their harmonious applauses of this favoured orator.
Mr. Collins observes, that the meaning of the passage may be this:- That the voice of all the gods united, could inspire only drowsiness, when compared with the cheerful effects of the voice of Love. That sense is sufficiently congruous to the rest of the speech; and much the same thought occurs in The Shepherd Arsileus' Reo ply to Syrenus' Song, by Bar. Yong; published in England's Helicon, 1600:
“ Unlesse mild Love possesse your amorous breasts,
“ If you sing not to him, your songs do wearie." Dr. Warburton has raised the idea of his author, by imputing to him a knowledge, of which, I believe, he was not possessed ; but should either of these explanations prove the true one I shall offer no apology for having made him stoop from the critick's elevation. I would, however, read:
Makes heaven drowsy with its harmony. Though the words mark! and behold! are alike used to be. speak or summon attention, yet the former of them appears so harsh in Dr. Warburton's emendation, that I read the line several times over before I perceived its meaning. To speak the voice of the gods, appears to me as defective in the same way. Dr. Warburton, in a note on All's well that ends well, observes, that to speak a sound is a barbarism. To speak a voice is, I think, no less reprehensible. Steevens.
The meaning is, whenever love speaks, all the gods join their voices with his in harmonious concert. Heath.
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.] The old copies read - make. The emendation was made by Sir T. Hanmer. More correct writers than Shakspeare often fall into this inaccuracy when a noun of multitude has preceded the verb. In a former part of this speech the same error occurs: “_ each of you have forsworn ."
For makes, read make. So, in Twelfth Night: “_ for every one of these letters are in my name.” Again, in King Henry V :
“The venom of such looks, we fairly hope,
“ Have lost their quality.” Again, in Julius Cæsar :
“ The posture of your blows are yet unknown." Again, more appositely, in King John:
“How oft the sight of means to do ill deeds
“ Make ill deeds done.” So, Marlowe, in his Hero and Leander :
« The outside of her garments were of lawn.” See also, the sacred writings: “ The number of the names to gether were about an hundred and twenty.” Acts i, 15. Malone.
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears,
Few passages have been more canvassed than this. I believe, it wants no alteration of the words, but only of the pointing:
And when love speaks (the voice of all) the gods
Make heaven drowsy with thy harmony. Love, I apprehend, is called the voice of all, as gold, in Ti. mon, is said to speak with every tongue; and the gods (being drowsy themselves with the harmony) are supposed to make heaven drow. sy. If one could possibly suspect Shakspeare of having read Pindar, one should say, that the idea of music making the hear. ers drowsy, was borrowed from the first Pythian. Tyrwhitt.
Perhaps here is an accidental transposition. We may read, as I think, some one has proposed before:
The voice makes all the gods
Of heaven drowsy with the harmony. Farmer. That harmony had the power to make the hearers drowsy, the present commentator might infer from the effect it usually produces on himself. In Cinthia's Revenge, 1613, however, is an instance which should weigh more with the reader:
“Howl forth some ditty, that vast hell may ring
“ With charms all potent, earth asleep to bring. Again, in A Midsummer Night's Dream:
"- music call, and strike more dead,
“ T'han common sleep, of all these five the sense.” Steedens. So, also, in King Henry IV, P. II:
“Will whisper musick to my wearied spirit.” Again, in Pericles, 1609:
" Most heavenly musick!
“ Hangs on mine eyes.-Let me rest.” Malone. From women's eyes this doctrine I derive:] In this speech I suspect a more than common instance of the inaccuracy of the first publishers:
From women's eyes this doctrine I derive, and several other lines, are as unnecessarily repeated. Dr. Warburton was aware of this, and omitted two verses, which Dr. Johnson has since inserted. Perhaps the players printed from piece-meal parts, or retained what the author had rejected, as well as what had undergone his revisal. It is here given according to the regulation of the old copies. Steevens.
This and the two following lines, are omitted by Warburton, not from inadvertency, but because they are repeated in a subsequent part of the speech. There are also some other lines repeated in the like manner. But we are not to conclude from
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
thence, that any of these lines ought to be struck out. Biron re. peats the principal topicks of his argument, as preachers do their text, in order to recall the attention of the auditors to the subject of their discourse. M. Mason. 7ma word that loves all men;] We should read:
a word all women love. The following line:
Or for men's sake (the authors of these women;) which refers to this reading, puts it out of all question.
Warburton. Perhaps we might read thus, transposing the lines:
Or for love's sake, a word that loves all men;
Or for men's sake, the authors of these women. The antithesis of a word that all men love, and a word which loves all men, though in itself worth little, has much of the spirit of this play. Fohnson.
There will be no difficulty, if we correct it to, " men's sakes, the authors of these words." Farmer.
I think no alteration should be admitted in these four lines, that destroys the artificial structure of them, in which, as has been observed by the author of The Revisal, the word which terminates every line is prefixed to the word sake in that immedi. ately following. Tollet.
- a word that loves all men;] i. e. that is pleasing to all men. So, in the language of our author's time :-- it likes me well, for it pleases me. Shakspeare uses the word thus licentiously, merely for the sake of the antithesis. Men in the following line are with sufficient propriety said to be authors of women, and these again of men, the aid of both being necessary to the continuance of human kind. There is surely, therefore, no need of any of the alterations that have been proposed to be made in these lines.
Malone. 8 the authors _7 Old copies--author. The emendation was suggested by Dr. Johnson. "Malone.