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In Julius Caesar Act II. Porcia says to Brutus, “ To keep with you at meals, comfort your bed “ And talk to you sometimes ?” “This is but an odd phrase, and gives as odd “ an idea,” says Mr. Theobald. He therefore substitutes, "s confort. But this good old word, however disused thro' modern refinement, was not so discarded by Shakespeare. Henry VIII. as we read in Cavendish's life of Woolsey, in commendation of queen Katherine, in public said, « She hath beene to me a true obedient “ wife, and as comfortable as I could wish.” And our marriage service Mr. Theobald might as well quarrel with, as using as odd a phrase, and giving as odd an idea.
In the Midsummer-Night's Dream, Ac IV. “ Oberon. Then, my queen, in " silence råd,
Trip we after the night's shade.” In silence sad, i. e. ftill, sober. As Milton describes the evening, IV, 598.
15 He might have remember'd that Shakespeare himself in the Comedy of Errors. A& III. uses the word he would change.
" Comfort my fifter, chear her, call her wife. 16 They have printed it, In filence fade.
« Now came ftill evening on, and twilight gray “ Had in her sober livery all things clad. “ Silence accompany'd.”
That sad and sober are synonymous words, and fo used formerly, is plain from many passages in our author.
In Much ado about Nothing, Act II.
Benedick. This can be no trick, the con« ference was sadly born.”
And in Milton VI, 540.
“ He comes, and settled in his face I fee
16 17 Såd resolution and secure.” Sad, i. e. sober, sedate.
Spencer in his Fairy Queen. B. I. c. 10. ft. 7.
Right cleanly, clad in comely fad attire.”
i. e. sober, grave.
And B. 2. c. 2. st. 14.
“ A fober sad and comely courteous dame."
17 Sad resolution and secure) “ That's but a fad epithet o for Resolution : The poet gave it,
“ STAID Refolution and secure. Or. STERN." Bentley.
These few instances, among many others that may easily be given, are sufficient to shew how ingenious commentators may be led into mistakes, when once they indulge their over-refining taft, and pay greater complements to their own gueffes, than to the expressions of the author.
HERE is no small elegance in the use of
a figure which the rhetoricians call the apofiopefis ; when in threatening, or in the expression of any other passion, the sentence is broken, and something is left to be fupplied. 'Tis a figure well known for that common paffage in Virg. Aen. I, 138. " Quos ego-fed motos praestar componere
And Aen. III, 340.
Quid puer Ascanius ? superatne et vescitur
u aurâ ? “ Quem tibi jam TrojaSo in king Lear, Act II.
“ Lear. No, you unnatural hags, « I will have such revenges on you both,
“ That all the world shall-I will do such things,
Mox ubi lufit fatis, Abftineto
What then ? Why then treat this odious creature as cruelly or-as kindly as you please. 'Tis an elegance not to be supplied in words. Immediately Venus begins soothing her vanity with the dignity of her lover, and with her giving a name to a part of the world. Whether any commentator has taken notice of this beauty in Horace, I don't know : Dr. Bentley is at his old work, altering what he could not taste.
i Hor. L. II. Od. 27. The Dr. would thus alter the passage,
Jam tibi INJUSSUS laceranda reddet
This figure has a very near resemblance to another called by the Greeks, το σχήμα παρ' Úóvoræv, figura praeter expectationem : when the sentence is in some measure broken, or sufpended, and somewhat added otherwise than you expected. Aristophanes in Plut. ¥. 26. Χρ. 'Αλλ' σε κρύψω των εμών γαρ οικείων
Ilısótalov syöpai ce n κλεπίίςαίον. . Well, I'll not conceal it from thee : for of all my
domestics I think thee to be the most trusty and the greatest
'Twas expected he should have added, and the bonefteft.
I come now to our author, and shall cite a few places, which, as far as I find, have escaped notice, and on that account, have been mended or mangled.
In the Merrry Wives of Windsor, Act II.
" Ford. Tho’Page be a secure fool, and stand “ fo firmly on his wife's — Frailty ; yet I cannot put
my opinion so easily.” He was going to say honesty ; but corrects himself, and
They would read, Fealty.