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about to make use of them as agents to further his higher and public aims; and would thence be induced to ingratiate him. self with, and to conciliate them.
And as, in the advice he offers, he expatiates at great length and with great earnestness, and no less apparent sincerity, what sufficient reason can be assigned for caprice and inconsistency in this part of his conduct?
It may be added, that no play has been discovered, of which this fragment can with any propriety be considered a ridicule; and that in his Comment on the Commentators Mr. Pye says, “ The praise bestowed by Hamlet on this speech is sincere.” P. 315.
(48) Now'he is total gules, horridly trick'd] Gules is tech. nical in heraldry for red. The reading is that of the quartos. “ With man's blood paints the ground; gules, gules.”
Timon. IV. 3. Tim. Mr. Steevens instances the use of it as a verb in Heywood's Iron Age, Part JI.
« Old Hecuba's reverend locks
" And that small model of the barren earth,
Rich. II. (III. 2.) K. Rich, We have been careful to notice all the terms and passages in this speech, that bear any resemblance to the known writings of Shakespeare; because, on our hypothesis, they may be reasonably considered as imitations of himself; of which his works present continual examples : they are therefore arguments in support of our conjectures as to the origin of this fragment.
(50) Declining] In quick descent upon. This use of the word “declined,” which is frequent in Shakespeare, we have not observed in any contemporary writers : He had before put it in the mouth of the Ghost.
" And to decline upon a wretch.” 1. 5. We bave also
“ Death, that dark spirit, in's nervy arm doth lie,
Coriol. II. 1. Volumn. And the following passage is applicable to more than this term in the present text:
" When thou hast hung thy advanc'd sword i' the air
Tr. & Cr. IV. 5. Nestor.
(51) And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, &c.] “ Vulcan, when he wrought at his wive's request Æneas an armour, made not his hammer beget a greater sound than the swords of those noble knights did” &c. Sidney's Arcadia, B. III. STEEVENS.
Proof eterne is impenetrability throughout all time: being more than “ adamantean proof.” Sams. Agon. 1314.
(52) Break all the spokes and fellies from her ruheel] The engrafting also of this image, and nearly in similar terms, into another part of his works, has very little the appearance of conpliment paid ironically: “ That the false huswife Fortune break her wheel.”
Ant. & CI. IV. 13. Ci.
(53) A jig, or a tale of bawdry] A ludicrous interlude. “ Frottola, a countrie jigg or round, or countrie song or wanton verses.” Florio's Ital. Dict. 1598.
- For approbation
Prol. to Fletcher's Love's Pilgrimage. From his use of this word again in Polonius's presence (III. 2.) in answer to Ophelia, who telling him he is merry, he says, “ O, your only jig maker," it seems to be applied here in the sense of a ludicrous composition: and the subsequent scene of the gravediggers appears to have been an interlude, in some sort, of this description. And Mr. Steevens in III. 2. quotes from Shirley's Changes, 1632.
“ Many gentlemen
“ The play, they look to be serv'd up in the middle.” He adds, that in The Hog hath lost his Pearl, 1614, one of the players comes to solicit a gentleman to write a jig for him: and refers to these entries in the books of the Stationers Company: “ Philips his Jigg of the Slyppers, 1595. Kempe's Jigg of the Kitchen-Stuff Woman, 169.5."
(54) Mobled queen] Such is the reading of the fol. 1632, and also of the quartos in every instance in which the word occurs. Inobled, the word in our folio, is in this place unmeaning; and was probably a misprint.
A woman's cap of that form, which ties under the chin, is called a mob. It was formerly written mob or mab indifferently. It means here covered up or muffled; of which last term Mr. Holt White conceives it to be a depravation; as in Shirley's Gent, of Venice, quoted by Dr. Farmer, we find
“ The moon does mobble up herself,” and from Ogilby's Fables, Part II. he instances:
« Mobbled nine days in my considering cap." In his North Country Words Ray says, that “to måb is to dress carelessly. Mabs are slatterns." And Dr. Warburton quotes Sandys: “Their heads and faces (the Turkish women) are mabled in fine linen, that no more is to be seen of them than their
In his No Mobbied ables, Parts
(55) Threatening the flames with bisson rheum) Blindeď with tears, and, wildly and distractedly menacing the flames. “ Blind or beasome born. Cæcigenus. Huloet's Dict.” Todd's Dict. See “ bisson conspectuities." Coriol. II. 1. Menen.
(56) Made milch the burning eyes of heaven,
And passion in the gods.] Made the fiery orbs of heaven to melt and weep, and excited passion, moved the settled calm of the immortal gods. Mr. Steevens quotes Drayton's Polyolbion, Song XIII, “ exhaling the milch dew," and Mr. Douce “ Milchehearted. Lemosus.” Hulæt's Abeced. 1552 ; and “ Lemosi, those that wepe lyghtly." Biblioth. Eliotæ, 1545. Illustr. II. 238.
(57) Turn'd his colour, and-tears in his eyes. Prythee, no more.] Then, when he exhibits the perfection of his art, and shews that he enters into and feels his charącter, then to urge that the actor should cease to exercise it, seems again to be in the character of a “ great baby in swaddling clouts.”
(58) Study a speech] A technical term for learning to give effect to. “ If you have the part written, pray you, give it me, for I am slow of study.” M. N. Dr. I. 1. Snug. Though here it may not mean any thing more than, in the common phrase, “ get by heart.”
(59) Is it not monstrous] Shakespeare's plays by their own power, must have given a different turn to acting, and almost new-created the performers of his age. Mysteries, Moralities, and Enterludes, afforded no materials for art to work on, no discriminations of character or variety of appropriated language. From tragedies like Cambyses, Tamburlaine, and Jeronymo, nature was wholly banished ; and the comedies of Gammer Gurton, Common Condycyons, and The Old Wives Tale, might have had justice done to them by the lowest order of human beings.
Sanctius his animal, mentisque capacius alta was wanting, when the dramas of Shakspeare made their first appearance; and to these we were certainly indebted for the ex
cellence of actors, who could never have improved so long as their sensibilities were unawakened, their memories burthened only by pedantic or puritanical declamation, and their manners vulgarized by pleasantry of as low an origin. Steevens.
(60) All his visage warm'd] Wanned, or turned pale, the reading of the quartos, presents an image as well adapted to the passion meant to be expressed as that of our text. To the knack, and professional habit of modelling the features to the expression of any passion or character, that the purposes of the drama may require, our author refers in R. IÌI. Buckingh. III.5. « Tut, I can counterfeit” &c.
(61) His whole function suiting] Each power and facultythe whole energies of soul and body.
« Nature within me seems
Sams. Agon. V. 596. It is “the doing of a thing” used for “the power or faculty by which the thing is done."
(62) With forms to his conceit] Supplying each corporal feeling or passion, each faculty or energy of the soul, with material forms ; i. e. with tone or gesture, expression or attitude, according to the ideas or unimbodied figures, that floated in his conceit or mind.
The construction of the sentence, after “ that all his visage warmed,” is [that] tears (should be] in his eyes, distraction in's aspect, (that there should be] a broken voice, and [that] his whole function (should be] suiting, i. e, agreeing, with &c.
(63) the cue] For the cue the quartos give that only. For cue seé M. N. Dr. III. 1. Quince. It is hint or direction.
(64) Like John a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause.] A John a-dreams is any one, heavy, lethargic, stupid. The word is formed, as Jack a Lent, Jack a Lanthorn, John a Nokes, John a Drones, or a Droynes; and is found, as Mr. Steevens says, in Whetstone's Promos & Cassandra, 1578, and in Nashe's Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up, 1596. He adds from the beginning of Arth. Hall's Iliad. B. II. 1581. “ John dreaming God he callde to him, that God, chiefe
God of il, “ Common cole carrier of every lye.". Unpregnant of, is, not quickened with or having a lively sense of. See M. for M. IV. 4. Ang.; and Polon, supra.
I have heard, That guilty creatures, sitting at a play] A number of these stories are collected together by Thomas Heywood, in his Actor's Vindication. STEEVENS.
(1) closely] Privately. “ Having closely drawn a short dagger, hid of purpose." Reeves of the present miseries of Rushia, 4to, 1614. p. 27. “ Done so closely and so secretly as-not discovered 'till the larum given.” lb. p. 39. See K. John IV. 1. Hub.
(2) Affront Ophelia] « To come face to face, v, encounter. Affrontare, Ital." Minshieu, 1617. 'Tis to confront.
« There she comes, “ Affront her, Synon.” Heywood's Iron Age. Part II. (3) Whether 'tis nobler-to suffer, or] Dr. Johnson says, that ó this celebrated soliloquy, bursting from a man distracted with contrariety of desires and overwhelmed with the magnitude of his own purposes, is connected rather in the speaker's mind than on his tongue ; and that he will endeavour to discover the train, and to show how one sentiment produces another."
We insist, on the contrary, that in its connexion it is beautifully perspicuous: neither can any thing disclose itself more naturally. It is not the train of thought, which is obvious enough, it can only be the grammatical thread, the want of regular deduction of this sort (the quick transitions and abruptness of the speech, which constitute its real merits) that technically may call for some unwinding or explanation ; and here, as far as Dr. Johnson appears to us to have correctly given the sense, we shall transcribe it.
“ If to die, were to sleep, no more, and by a sleep to end the miseries of our nature, such a sleep were devoutly to be wished; but if to sleep in death, be to dream, to retain our powers of sensi. bility, we must pause to consider, in that sleep of death what dreams may come. This consideration makes calamity so long endured; for who would bear the vexations of life, which might be ended by a bare bodkin, but that he is afraid of something in un. known futurity? This fear it is that gives efficacy to conscience, which by turning the mind upon this regard, chills the ardour of resolution, checks the vigour of enterprise, and makes the current of desire stagnate in inactivity"