Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small][merged small]

ACT 1.-SCENE I.

The instrument by which the canker was produced is

described in-“ - ruth shaPELESS idleness"-" «Idleness' is said to

The bud bit with an envious wormbe .shapeless,' as preventing the formation of manners and character."-WARBURTON.

of ROMEO AND Juliet; and in-

-- concealment, like a worm i' the bud, “– nay, give me not the boots”-A proverbial ex

Fed on her damask cheek,pression, frequently met with in the old dramatists, in Twelfth Night. signifying, “don't make a laughing-stock of me.” Col “Shakespeare found the canker-worm in the Old lier, and the later antiquarians, deny that it has any Testament, (Joel i. 4.) The Geneva Bible, 1561, bas, connection with the Scottish punishment of “the boots," That which is left of the palmer-worm hath the grassto which the older editors supposed it to refer. It is hopper eaten, and the residue of the grasshopper hath more probably derived from an old custom of rustic the canker-worm eaten, and the residue of the cankermerriment at harvest-home feasts.

worm hath the caterpillar eaten.'"-Knight. However, bul a folly bought with wit"--In whatso To Milan let me hear from thee by letters." ever way, "haply won,” or “ lost.”

This is merely an inversion of “Let me hear from

thee by letters to Milan." The first folio reads “To “ — as in the sweetest bud

Milan," which the second folio needlessly changes to The eating canker dwells," etc.

“At Milan," etc. "Shakespeare has elsewhere used this beautiful image. In the “Seventieth Sonnet,' for instance, we have

Enter SPEED"-Pope, in his edition, stigmatizes

this scene as “ For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love.

composed of the lowest and most trifling In King John,

conceits, to be accounted for only from the gross taste Now will canker sorrow eat my bud.

of the age. Populo ut placerent.He felt inclined to

omit it altogether, under the notion that it had been In HAMLET,—

foisted in by the actors. But so greatly does public The canker galls the infants of the spring.

taste alter with time, that Pope's own verse would be The peculiar canker which our Poet, a close observer of omitted or thrust to the bottom of the page, if what is nature, must have noted, is described in the MIDSUMMER now deemed coarseness or comparative want of merit Night's Dream,—

were to regulate the canon of authenticity. We think, Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds.

with Johnson, that there is no proof of any interpolation. And in the First Part of Henry VI.,

" And I have play'd the sheep"-A joke upon the Hath not thy rose a canker?

resemblance in sound between the words “ship" and

"sheep." In many parts of England "sheep" is yet it was used in old English almost wholly for a matchpronounced “ ship." This joke is employed again in maker, (in its best sense,) or, a procuress. It is not the COMEDY OF ERRORS. In writings of the time, until the commercial days of Temple and Swift that it “Sheep-street," in Stratford-upon-Avon, is often spelled is found familiarly used in its modern sense. " Skip-street."

"How ANGERLY I taught my brow to frown"—“An-Q LACED mutton"-A phrase which Cotgrave's gerly” (not angrily, as many modern editions have it) old“ French and English Dictionary," and many pas was the adverb used in Shakespeare's time. sages which the labour of his commentators have collected from the old dramatists, clearly show to have

too harsh a DESCANT”—“ The descant' formerly been a slang phrase of the day, to express a courtezan.

signified a variation of the original air; the “mean,' or But as this seems to some of the editors too coarse an

teuor."-STEVENS. epithet for Proteus to allow to be applied, even play - I BID THE BASE"-" The allusion of Lucetta is fully, to his “ ladye love,” Knight rejects the slang to the well-known game of prison base, or prisoner's meaning, and intimates, on the authority of Horne base, at which to bid the base,' seems to have meant, Tooke's definition of lace, to catch, to hold,” that the to invite a contest."-COLLIER. phrase here means “a caught sheep." Proteus, how

Injurious wasps, to feed on such sweet honey" — ever, is not drawn as a person of any very peculiar

The economy of bees was known to Shakespeare delicacy, and the use of the words is too familiar to be

with an exactness which he could not have derived from explained away.

books. The description in HENRY V., “So work the " – did she nod”—These words, with the stage honey-bees,' is a study for the naturalist as well as the direction, were supplied by Theobald. They are not poet. He had doubtless not only observed the lazy, in the old copies ; but it is clear from what Speed af- yawning drone, but the injurious wasps,' that plunterwards says, that Proteus had asked the question. dered the stores which had been collected by those who In Speed's answer, the old spelling of I for aye is

Make boot upon the summer's velvet buds. retained, as the play on the word is lost in modern These were the fearless robbers to which the pretty spelling.

pouting Julia compares her fingers :“ – that's noddy"_"• Noddy' was a game at cards,

Injurious wasps, who feed on such sweet honey,

And kill the bees that yield it with your stings. and to call a person a ‘Noddy' was to call him a fool. * Noddy' was the Knave or Fool in a pack of cards. The The metaphor is as accurate as it is beautiful."-Knight. practice of calling the Knave .Nod,' or · Noddy,' is not And thus I SEARCH it-To search a wound is to yet entirely discontinued.”—REED, and Collier.

probe it, or, to tent it. "- in telling your mind'' — The second folio, followed by Stevens, and others, has her mind." This

"- a Month's mind to them"-A "month's mind" edition retains the original reading, as meaning, (says

is equivalent to a great mind or strong inclination :

“ a month's mind" in its ritual sense, is a month's reMalone,) “She being so hard to me who was the bearer of your mind, I fear she will prove no less

membrance; and Nash, in his “ Martin's Month's Mind," so to you in telling your mind in person.”

(1589,) applied it in that way : “it was a month's re

membrance of Martin Mar-prelate.” The “ month's " — you hare TESTERE'D me"-You have given me mind” was derived from times prior to the Reformation, a testern, that is, sixpence. In the time of Henry VIII. when masses were said for a stated period in memory a tester, lestern, or teston, was a shilling: it was so of the dead. Hence they were also called month's called from having a teste, i. e. head, upon it. The memories, and month's monuments. For the sake of the word is still retained in the cockney dialect, and pro measure, we ought to read, “a moneth's mind to them," nounced tester.

and so the word was often printed. Scene II.

SCENE III. That every day with PARLE encounter me”-i. e. Some, to discover islands far away"_" In ShakeWith words or speech. The editor of the “Illustrated" speare's time, voyages for the discovery of the islands SHAKESPEARE well remarks— The whole character of of America were much in vogue. And we find, in the Julia in this play is in the best style of Shakespeare's journals of the travellers of that time, that the sons of domestic heroines: she is a delightful compound of deli noblemen, and of others of the best families in England, cate ardour, and romantic, undoubting devotion; and went very frequently on these adventures :—such as the bears much the same relation to her knowing and Fortescues, Collitons, Thornhills, Farmers, Pickerings, worldly, (yet not ill-natured,) serving-maid Lucetta, that Littletons, Willoughbys, Chesters, Hawleys, Bromleys, Desdemona exhibits in comparison with Iago's better and others. To this prevailing fashion our Poet fre(though ambiguous) half. Julia's portion of their dia quently alludes, and not without high commendations logue in the second act is exquisite."

of it." —WARBURTON. " — CENSURE thus on lovely gentlemen"-Pass my

Attends the emperor in his royal court"-"Shakeopinion upon. This word was commonly used, until

speare has been guilty of no mistake in placing the modern times, without any reference to the opinion

emperor's court at Milan, in this play. Several of the being unfavourable. Isaac Walton even uses it where

first German emperors held their courts there occasionthe censure, (i. e. the opinion,) is that of the highest ally, it being, at that time, their immediate property, praise.

and the chief town of their Italian dominions. Some Fire that's closest kept burns most of all."

of them were crowned kings of Italy at Milan, before

they received the imperial crown at Rome. Nor has Such words as "fire," "hour," etc., are often used by

the Poet fallen into any contradiction by giving a duke Shakespeare and his contemporaries as if they contained

to Milan, at the same time that the emperor held his two syllables; “monstrous," "country," etc., as if con

court there. The first dukes of that, and all the other sisting of three; and remembrance," " assembly," etc.,

great cities in Italy, were not sovereign princes, as they as if consisting of four. This pronunciation is often

afterwards became; but were merely governors, or necessary to preserve the metre, and was a frequent viceroys, under the emperors, and removeable at their practice in the Poet's time, when the present mode was

pleasure. Such was the · Duke of Milan' mentioned in struggling with the relics of the older orthoepy.

play."STEVENS.

has risen in the world. Although originally meaning one between Francis I. and Charles V., the latter frequenty who transacts any sort of business on another's account, resided at Milan."

.

ACT II.-SCENE I.

or frantic woman, wood being the old word for frantic

or mad : the mother of Launce was wood" with this is but one"-"One" was formerly pro grief at parting from her son. nounced like “on." In some manuscript letters of Lord Burleigh's, written about the year 1585, he very

" — and the tidE"—“ The first tied' refers to the dog,

and the last to the river, as we see from what followsgenerally writes “on” for “ one."

• Why man, if the river were dry,' etc. The joke which " that TAKES DIET”-i. e. Under a regimen for has occupied Launce and Panihino is more evident in disease.

the old copy, where the · tide' of the river and the 'tied'

dog are spelled in the same way— tide.'”—COLLIER. like a beggar at Hallow mas”—“That is,” says Johnson, "about the beginning of winter, when the life

Scene IV. of a vagrant becomes uncomfortable.” Formerly, on All Saints Day, it was customary for poor people in

- how QUOTE you my folly”—To "quote" is to Staffordshire to beg money for what was termed soul

note or observe. Valentine in his answer, perhaps, plays ing.” This, no doubt, was a remnant of the practice upon the word, which was pronounced coat-irom the of praying for departed souls.

French original. to walk like one of the lions"-Ritson supposes

My jerkin is a doublet"“ The jerkin, or jacket, that Shakespeare, in using the phrase the lions," was

was generally worn over the doublet; but occasionally

the doublet was worn alone, and, in many instances, is thinking of “the lions" in the Tower, of London; but it seems that the expression was in general use then,

confounded with the jerkin. Either had sleeves or not, though probably derived from that ancient show.

as the wearer fancied; for by the inventories and ward

robe accounts of the time, we find that the sleeves were "- for he, being in love, could not see to garter his frequently separate articles of dress, and attached to the hose"-At the period of this play, garters of great mag

doublet, jerkin, coat, or even woman's gown, by laces nificence appeared around the large slashed hose, both or ribands, at the pleasure of the wearer. A doblet above and below the knee. To go ungartered was the jaquet' and hose of blue velvet, cut upon cloth of gold, common trick of a fantastic lover, who thereby implied embroidered, and a “doblet hose and jaquet' of purple he was too much occupied by his passion to pay atten

velvet, embroidered, and cut upon cloth of gold, and tion to his dress.

lined with black satin, are entries in an inventory of the

wardrobe of Henry VIII. O excellent MOTION! O exceeding PUPPET"-"A

“ In 1535, a jerkin of purple velvet, with purple satin motion,' in Shakespeare's time, meant a puppet-show, sleeves, embroidered all over with Venice gold, was from the puppets being moved by the master, who in

presented to the king by Sir Richard Cromwell; and terpreted to (or for) them, as Speed supposes Valentine another jerkin of crimson velvet, with wide sleeves of will interpret for Sílvia, the .exceeding puppet' on this the same coloured satin, is mentioned in the same inoccasion."-Collier.

ventory."-Knight. All this I SPEAK IN PRINT"-i. e. “With exactness:

Enter ThurIO"-" The editors, from Theobald Speed adds, that he found it . in print,' perhaps in some downwards, make “a Servant" enter here, and not book or ballad of that time, which has not survived to

Thurio, to whom the old copies assign the sentence He has rhymed before, and in the same style, just after Silvia made her exit : those lines could hardly They say also that the commencement of Silvia's an

Madam, my lord, your father, would speak with you.' have been quoted.”—COLLIER.

swer is addressed to two persons.' This is by no

means clear: ‘I wait upon his pleasure: come, Sir ThuSCENE II.

rio, go with me,' is spoken to Thurio with more proWhy then, we'll make exchange"-The Priest, in

priety than to two distinct persons. It is more likely TWELFTH Night, (act v. scene i.,) describes the cere

that Thurio went out on the entrance of Proteus, and monial of betrothing, for which the Catholic church had

returned with the message of the Duke to his daughter. a ritual:

The economy of the old stage, with many characters A contract of eterpal bond of love,

and with few performers, did not allow the waste of an Confirm'd by mutual joinder of your hands,

actor in the part of a mere message-carrier. The proAttested by the holy close of lips,

bability is that the old copies are right, and that Thurio Strengthen'd by interchangement of your rings.

is employed from the Duke.”—COLLIER. This contract was made, in private, by Protens and Julia ; and it was also made by Valentine and Silvia

There is no woe to his correction"'-i. e. There is we are betroth'd.”

no woe compared to his correction. The idiom was

ours.

common.

SCENE III.

Is it MINE EYE, or Valentinus' praise”—This is the

reading of Stevens. The folio, 1623, reads,-“ – this left shoe is my father”-A passage in King

It is mine, or Valentine's praise? John also shows that each foot was formerly (as now) fitted with its shoe; a fashion which was lost during the

which the folio, 1632, alters thus:last century, and allusions to it puzzled the commenta

Is it mine then, or Valentinian's praise? tors until it was revived about thirty years ago :

Malone would have it-
Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste

Is it her mein, or Valentinus' praise ?
Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet.

and Warburton lays it down that the line was originally

thus :I am the dog," etc.—Lannce is himself puzzled

It is mine eye, or Valentino's praise; with the characters of his own mono-polylogue; and perhaps Shakespeare did not mean him to get out of his

which is clearly not interrogative, as the punctuation confusion. Hanmer proposes to read, “ I am the dog,

of the oldest copies shows it onght to be. Malone's no, the dog is himself, and I am me, the dog is the dog,

emendation gives no support to the next two linesand I am myself.Although this reading makes the

Her true perfection, or my false transgression, text more reasonable, (as Johnson remarks.) it is not

That makes me, reasonless, to reason thus ? clear that the anthor meant to bestow much reason on

He was right in adopting Valentinus, and wrong in reLaunce's soliloquy.

jecting “eye," which was the cause of the transgression

of Proteus. Valentinus for Valentine we have had at like a wood woman"— The old copies print it ready, act i. scene 3. Perhaps the true realing was thus—like a would-woman," with a hyphen. The pro mine eyen, which was corrupted and abbreviated by per orthography seems to be like a "wood woman," the old printer to mine.

66

" — like a WAXEN IMAGE 'gainst a fire"-This al for thou art Merops' son"-" Thou art Phaeton ludes to the custom attributed to supposed witches, in thy rashness, but without his pretensions ; thou art of making waxen images of those whom they wished not the son of a divinity, but a terre filius, a low-born to destroy: as the image melted before the fire, the wretch; Merops is thy true father, with whom Phaeton original was supposed to melt too.

was falsely reproached.”—Johnson. ?Tis but her PICTURE”—Johnson speaks of this line, “— TO FLY his deadly doom"_" This is a Gallicism. as “evidently a slip of attention,” as if Proteus could The sense is--By avoiding the execution of his sentence have forgotten that he had just seen Silvia herself, and I shall not escape death. If I stay here, I suffer myself not her “picture.” He uses picture" figuratively, to be destroyed; if I go away, I destroy myself.”— meaning, merely exterior as compared with inward Johnsox. "perfections."

“ - even in the milk-white bosom of thy love”-“So, " And that hath dazzled my reason's light"-"Daz in HAMLET zled" is here used as a trisyllable.

These to her excellent white bosom, etc.
SCENE VI.

“Again, in Gascoigne's “ Adventures of Master F. I.:'

‘at delivery thereof, [i. e. of a letter,] she understode " – and PRETENDED fight”-i. e. Intended. “So in not for what cause he thrust the same into her bosome.' MACBETH, “What could they pretend ?" The French “Trifling as the remark may appear, before the meanword pretendre has an equivalent meaning."-STevens. || ing of this address of letters to the bosom of a mistress

can be understood, it should be known that anciently * — this drift"--"I suspect that the author concluded the act with this couplet, and that the next scene should

women had a pocket in the fore part of their stays, in begin the third act; but the change, as it will add no

which they not only carried love-letters and love-tokens,

but even their money and materials for needlework. thing to the probability of the action, is of no great im

Thus Chaucer, in his · Marchante's Tale:'portance."'--Johnson.

This purse hath she in hire bosome hid.
Scene VII.

“In many parts of England, the rustic damsels still

observe the same practice; and a very old lady informs “Who art the table wherein all my thoughts me, that she remembers when it was the fashion to Are visibly character'd and engrav'd."

wear prominent stays, it was no less the custom for The allusion is to the table-book, or tables, which stratagem or gallantry to drop its literary favours within were nsed, as at present, for noting down something the front of them."-STEVENS. to be remembered. Hamlet says:-

- if he be but one knave”-i. e. Not a double My tables,-meet it is I set it down.

knave, says Johnson: and Dr. Farmer has shown, from They were made sometimes of ivory and sometimes

several passages of old poets, etc., that two foolsof slate. The Archbishop of York, in HENRY IV., says: two knaves, were often used where we should now say And, therefore, will he wipe his tables clean.

a double fool or knave. The table-book of slate is engraved and described in

- for she hath had gossips"—“The meaning Gesner's treatise, De Rerum Fossilium Figuris, 1565:

seems to be that she has had old women attending her and it has been quoted in Douce’s “ Illustrations."

at her lying-in. Gossip generally means a sponsor at * And instances of INFINITE of love"-" Infinite,”— baptism, and Launce may intend to say, that the progeny infinity. The same form of expression occurs in Much of the girl had required gossips.'"-COLLIER. ADO ABOUT NOTHING, where we have “the infinite of thought," and also in Chaucer :-“although the life of it

“ – saint Nicholas be thy speed"-Saint Nicholas, be stretched with infinite of time.” The reading we

besides being the patron-saint of Holland, and of Russia, gire is that of the first folio, adopted by Knight and

presided over all clerks or learned persons. He was Singer. The common reading is that of the second

exalted to this honour, according to the legend, for folio, Instances as infinite,” which is preferred by having miraculously restored the lives of three young Collier.

scholars who had been murdered. By the statutes of

St. Paul's School, (London,) the scholars are required to - my LONGING journey"- Dr. Grey observes that attend divine service at the cathedral, on the anniversary "longing" is a participle active, with a passive significa of St. Nicholas. He has also long been known in Holtion, for longed, wished, or desired.

land and New York as the special friend of children. M. Mason supposes Julia to mean a journey which In addition to these high charges of the care of nations, she shall pass in longing.

and scholars, and children, the saint was also honoured

by having thieves called his clerks, why, it is not easy ACT III.-SCENE I.

to say, unless it be that in the old times of learned beg. gary,

“ scholar” and “ thief" were thought syno us "— fearing lest my jealous aim might err”—“Aim” is here used in the sense of “guess,” or “supposition,"

"She hath a SWEET MOUTH"as the verb is similarly used in Proteus's answer.

'-"A 'sweet mouth'

formerly meant a sweet tooth, which is here reckoned "- is soon sugưESTED”-i. e. Tempted. Thus, in among the lady's vices; but Launce turns it to account All's WELL THAT Ends Well we have, “I give thee by understanding the words in their literal sense, and pot this to suggest thee from thy master's service :" setting her “sweet mouth' against her sour breath."" and in the same sense, in act i. scene 4, we have, COLLIER. * sweet-suggesting love,” which the context shows to mean sweetly.

SCENE II. “ And, WHERE I thought"-"Where" for whereas ; and perversely she PERSEVERS so—This was so used by our anthor in CORIOLANUS and PERICLES, the old mode of accenting the word. Milton was one and common in older authors.

of the first to write, and to pronounce it, persevere. * There is a lady, sir, in Milan here”—The old You must provide to bottom it on me"—Stevens copies concur in reading

has found this housewife's image, as appearing in Eng. There is a lady in Verona here.

jish poetry, before the time of Shakespeare:An oversight of the author's copyist, like a preceding

A bottom for your silk, it seems, one in act i. scene 5, where Speed bids Launce wel.

My letters are become, come to Padua, instead of Milan. Both errors were

Which oft with winding off and on,

Are wasted whole and some. corrected by Pope.

GRANGE'S “Garden," 1557,

terms.

That may discover such integrity”—Malone “sus

SCENE II. pected” that a line following the above had been accidentally omitted; but any addition seems needless.

" he lov'd her out of all nick”—Beyond all reckValentine alludes to the “integrity" of Sir Thurio's pas

oning, or count. Reckonings were kept not only by sion—such integrity” as he may be supposed to have

hosts upon nicked, or notched sticks, but by such tallies

in the Exchequer of England ; and it is one of the many expressed in his sonnets.

instances of the attachment of the English to their an“ With some sweet consort”-“Consort” meant, in cient forms, that this inartificial and primitive form of our author's time, a band or company of musicians. It book-keeping was not abolished in the Exchequer until is so explained by the old dictionaries, and so used and the first year of William IV. spelled in King James's Bible. The substitution of concert is a modern corruption of the text.

By my HALIDOM”- Minshew (Dictionary) thus ex.

plains this word: Halidome, or Holidome, an old Tune a de ploring pump”—The term “ dump" is word, used by old countrywomen, by manner of swearnow used only in a ludicrous sense; but there were

ing, by my halidome; of the Saxon word, haligdome, formerly regular serious pieces of music so called, one

ex halig, i. e. sanctum, and dome; dominium aut judiof which has been preserved by Stevens, in his editious,

cium.A more common explanation is, that it refers to as “ A Dumpe” of the sixteenth century.

“ the holy dame”--the Virgin Mary. But Nares (GlosThis, or else nothing, will INHERIT her"-To sary) and others reject both interpretations, and with “inherit” is sometimes used by Shakespeare for to ob more probability, and say it is merely Holy with the tain possession of, without any idea of acquiring by in

termination dom, as Kingdom, Christendom;” meaning heritance. Milton, in “Comus” has, “ disinherit Chaos," thus, holiness, faith; and is equivalent as an oath to ineaning, only, to dispossess it.

“By my faith.” “ To sort some gentlemen well skill'd in music

SCENE III. To "sort" is to choose out, or select. When sorted, (Collier adds,) they would form a consort.

REMORSE PUL”-i. e. Compassionate; a sense

which the word often bears. (See Notes on OTHELLO.) “I will PARDON you”-i. e. I will “ pardon," or excuse, your attendance.

" Upon whose grave thou vow'dst pure chastity."

This alludes to a practice common in former ages, for ACT IV.-SCENE I.

widows and widowers, (and, probably also, betrothed

lovers,) to make vows of chastity in honour of their deHave you the tongues”-i. e. Do you speak various ceased wives or husbands. In Dugdale's “ Antiquities languages ?

of Warwickshire,” (says Stevens,) there is the form of a * By the bare scalp of Robin Hood's fat friar"

commission, by the bishop of the diocese, for taking a The jolly Friar Tuck, of the old Robin Hood ballads

vow of chastity by a widow. It seems that, besides the almost equally famous Friar Tuck of “ Ivanhoe"-is

observing the vow, the widow was for life to wear a the personage whom the outlaws here invoke. It is veil and a mourning habit. The last distinction we may winecessary to enter upon the legends

suppose to have been also made in respect of male vo

taries.
Of Tuck, the merry friar, who many a sermon made,
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and his trade.

SCENE IV.
Shakespeare has two other allusions to Robin Hood.
The old duke, in As You Like It, “ is already in the for-

Enter LAUNCE with his dog." est of Arden, and many merry men with him, and there “What shall we say to Launce and his dog? Is it they live, like the old Robin Hood of England.” Mas probable that even such a fool as Launce should have ter Silence, that “merry heart,” that “man of mettle,” put his feet into the stocks for the puddings which his sings, “ in the sweet of the night,” of-

dog had stolen, or poked his head through the pillory Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John.

for the murder of geese which the same dog had killThe honourable conditions of Robin's lawless rule over ed ?-yet the ungrateful cur never denies one item of his followers were evidently in our Poet's mind when

the facts with which Launce so tenderly reproaches him. he makes Valentine say

Nay, what is more wonderful, this enormous outrage on I take your offer, and will live with you;

the probable excites our common risibility. What an Provided that you do no outrages

unconscionable empire over our fanciful faith is assumed On silly women, or poor passengers.

by those comic geniuses! They despise the very word Thrust from the company of AWFUL men"—Thus

probability: Only think of Smollet making us laugh at all the old editions, and it is probably the right reading

the unlikely speech of Pipes, spoken to Commodore “awful" being understood in its literal meaning, for

Trunnion down a chimney-Commodore Trunnion, get

up and be spliced, or lie still and be damned!' And full of awe, under awe of authority, and it is thus

think also of Swift amusing us with contrasted descripused by the Poet, as in HENRY IV., “We come within our awful banks again ;” and in Henry V., are is used

tions of men six inches and sixty feet high-how very in reference to the same idea of respect for rightful rule.

improbable! Yet this sense seems peculiar to Shakespeare, and the

** At the same time, something may be nrged on the commentators and lexicographers have produced no in- opposite side of the question. Å fastidious sense of the stance in any other old author. This gives some colour

improbable would be sometimes a nuisance in comic

fiction. to the conjecture that “awful" is here a misprint for

One sees dramatic critics often trying the pro

babilities of incidents in a play, as if they were testing lawful; the phrase lawful men being familiar both in

the evidence of facts at the Old-Bailey. Now, unqueslegal and popular use.

tionably, at that august court, when it is a question An heir, and NEAR allied unto the duke—This line

whether a culprit shall be spared, or whipped and varies from the old copies, for it there stands thus:

transported for life, probabilities should be sifted with And heir, and necce allide unto the Duke.

a merciful leaning towards the side of doubt. But the Both the words in Italic are probably errors of the

theatre is not the Old-Bailey, and as we go to the former press. The old spelling of “ near” was often neere.

place for amusement, we open our hearts to whatever "Heir” was formerly both masculine and feminine.

may most amuse us; nor do we thank the critic who,

by his Old-Bailey-like pleadings, would disenchant our “ As we do in our QUALITY much rant"-i. e. In our belief. The imagination is a liberal creditor of its faith kind, or profession. So, in the TEMPEST,–

as to incidents, when the poet can either touch our af. Task

fections, or tickle our ridicule. Ariel and all his quality.

“Nay, we must not overlook an important truth in

« PreviousContinue »