Page images

she and Pomp should quarrel, and FORTUNE divorces them, 'tis a fuff'rance panging as soul and body's sev'ring. The very fame allusion we have in the beginning of this play,

" Men might say, « Till this time Pomp was single, but now


marry'd " To one above itself."

The passage therefore mention'd above I would thus read.

" Anne. In God's will, better « She ne'er had known Pomp ; though't be

“ temporal,

“ Yet if they quarrel, and Fortune do divorce “ It from the bearer, 'tis a suff’rance panging “ As soul and body's sev'ring."


[ocr errors]

F any one will consider how nearly alike

in found the following words are, Wreake, Wreakless, Reckless, Rack, Wrack, &c. and at the same time that the meaning of some of these words is scarcely ascertain'd and fixed, he will not wonder that hence some confusion should necessarily arise. I will examine fome passages in which these words are used.


In Coriolanus, Act IV.

“ Cor. If thou haft ** A heart of wreake in thee, thou wilt revenge “ Thine own particular wrongs.

i.e. any resentment, revenge. A Saxon word used by Chaucer and Spencer.

In Coriolanus, Act III.

“ Cor. You grave but wreakless senators. i. e. without any notions of revenge or resentment. But if the context be examined, you'll plainly perceive it should be, reckless, i. e. thoughtless, careless.


in Hamlet, Act I. “ Whilst like a puft and reckless libertine “ Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, 66 And recks not his own reed." i. e. And minds not his own do&trine : From the Sax. Keoc. cura, recan, curare.

In As


like it, Act II. « Corin. My master is of churlish disposition, “ And little wreaks to find the way to heaven."

1 Ab Anglo-S. recceteas, negligens. And thus I found, upon-examination, 'twas corrected in the elegant edition printed at Oxford.


Read, recks, i. e. takes care : little recks, little heeds.

In the Two Gentlemen of Verona, AE IV.

Egl. Recking as little what betideth me." i. e. reckoning, regarding. So Milton II, 50.

Of God, or Hell, or worse,
He reck'd not.
IX, 173. Let it ; I reck not.

In the Third part of Henry VI. Act II.
“ Rich. Three glorious suns, each one a per-

« fect fun; “ Not separate with the racking clouds, “ But sever'd in a pale clear-shining sky.I once red, wracking clouds : Met. toffing them like waves of the sea, and, as it were, shipwracking them. From the Greek word proow, pñtw, frango : comes to break, and to wracke. For the letters b and w are prefixed to words by us, as the · Æolians formerly prefix'd the b',


2 Εuftath. p. 222. Προστιθέασω οι Αιολείς το β το , ηνίκα η άφιξης συλλαβη έχει και το και, οίον βάκ@- βράχG- κ. τ. λ. See too Pausanias p. 149. ide, ado, Badu. And Hesychius, in B. Báfe, shoxonans Bankvatns. *. f. a. Instances in


English and the digamma F. But Milton uses the same expression : II, 182.

The sport and prey of racking whirlwinds."

Our Author in Hamlet, Act II.

" The rack stand still."

In Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV. " That which is now a horse, &c. The rack

66 disimns.”

Milton in Par. regain'd, IV, 451.

" I heard the rack,
“ As Earth and sky would mingle."

Douglass in his translation of Virgil spells it rak, and reik : the glossary thus explains it : “ Kak, “ a mist or fog, or rain, Scot. and Ang. Bor. “ Kack, or hawk : ab AS. Racu, Cimbris

English of the B prefixed, are gouv@u, Bamble: gńcow, entw, to break : oxas, a hulke or bulke: rabula, a brawler: rufcum, a bulh: rutilus, bright : &c. Con. cerning the Æol. digamma fee Dionys. Antiq. p. 16. Instances from hence of the W prefixed, are idwg, Fúdwg, water : Aibre, Faitris, weather : oivo. Foiv@, wine : "Egyor, Fígyor, work : stær, Fxlav, to wound. Hinnitus, whinnying: /, [in Plaut. & Terence] bist, whift, a game of cards, to be plaid with filence and attention, &c. &c.


« Kockia, pluvia, unda, bumor. Ang. Bor. the “ rack rides, i. e. nimbus vento pellitur : actberis omen serenioris.

Again, to racke, is to torture and torment : from the Teutonic Kacken, Anglo-Sax. Kaecan, extendere, à Gr. opáleiv, or pñorsiv, frangere. And hence the instrument of punishment is named a rack : or from apoxos, rota poenalis, quâ in quaestionibus et fontibus torquendis utebantur : the 7 omitted, as in the Latin word, reta.

In Hamlet, Act II. Polonias speaks to Ophelia,

« I fear'd he trified, • And meant to wrack thee." Read, rack thee, i. e. vex and grieve thee. So Milton in Par. regained, III, 203. “ To whom the tempter inly rack'd reply'd.” Again in Coriolanus, Act V. “ Men. A pair of Tribuneș, that have : rack'd

" for Rome, “ To make coals cheap."

i. e.

3 That have rack'd for Rome] “ We should read reck’d,

i. e. been careful, provident for. In this infinuation of " their only minding trifles, he satirizes them for their in" justice to Coriolanus ; which was like to end in the ruin

« PreviousContinue »