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and drop it on the last. But whatever beauty this alliteration might have, yet the affectation of it must appear ridiculous ; for poems are not made by mechanical rules : and it was ridi. culed as long ago as the times of old Ennius.
O Tite tute Tati tibi tante tyranne tulifti.
And by Shakespeare in his Midsummer-Night's dream, Act V.
“ Whereat with blade, with bloody blameful
“ Hebravely broach'd his boiling bloody breast.”
HERE are many blunders that creep
into books from a a of writing ; and if this happen to be blotted, the transcriber has a hard talk to trace the author's words. This seems to have occasion'd a very extraordinary confusion in a paffage in Othello. But before I mention
emendation, I beg leave to cite a short story from the first book of the Ethiopian romance of Heliodorus. Thyamis, an Aegyptian robber, fell in love with Chariclea ; ftung with jealousie, and despairing to enjoy her himself, he resolves to murder her : and thinking he had killed her, (but it happened to be another) he cries out, Alas poor maid, these are the nuptial gifts I present thee. This story is alluded to in the TwelfthNight, Act V. Nor did the allusion escape the notice of Mr. Theobald.
« Duke. Why should I not, had I the heart
“ to do't, 36 Like the Egyptian thief, at point of death 6 Kill what I love? A savage jealousie
That sometimes favours nobly."
And this fame story seems to me hinted at ini Othello, Act V. where the Moor, speaking of his favage jealousie, adds,
« Of one whose hand 56. Like th' base Egyptian, threw a pearl away “ Richer than all his tribe."
Now this exactly agrees with the romance. 'Twas Thyamis' own hand, and he too in a strong fit of love and jealousie, that committed this murder. When Othello robbed Brabantio of his daughter, the old man calls him in the beginning of the play,
" O thou foul thief!
These circumstances all croud into Othello's mind to increase his horror: for this reason; as well as for several others, with great propriety ħe calls himself, the base Egyptian.
In Mr. Pope's edition 'tis
" Like the base Indian, &c." which he thus interprets: “ In the first edition “ it is Judian, occasion'd probably by the word “ tribe just after, but the common reading is “ better ; as the word tribe is applicable to any “ race of people, and the thought of an igno“ rant Indian's casting away a pearl very natu és ral in itself ; whereas to make sense of the “ other, we must presuppose fome particular “ story of a Jew alluded to, which is much less cc obvious.' Mr. Theobald in his edition has
plainly overthrown Mr. Pope's explanation and reading, but whether he has established his own may be doubted; he reads,
Like the base Judian, &c. “ i. e. (says he) the base Jew Herod, who " threw away such a jewel of a wife as Maris amne.” But first of all there is no such word as Judian, which must certainly occasion a sufpicion of it's not being genuine. Again, if any one will consider the history of Mariamne from Josephus, he will find, 'tis very little applicable to Desdemona's case. Mariamne had an aversion to Herod, and always treated him with scorn and contempt ; she was publicly, tho falsely, accused of an attempt to poison him, and accordingly put to death. In the present circumstances, with which Othello is surrounded, he would never apply Herod's case to himself : he was a private murderer,---one whose band; &c. Herod brought his wife to public justice ; Defdemona was fond of the Moor, the Jewess hated her husband. On the other hand, the story of the Egyptian thief is very minutely applicable ; and the verses, cited from the Twelfth Night, shew that our author was pleased with the allufion. It seems the correction was owing to some sort of ill-written abbreviation, that might be in the original, as Egypian, and which could not easily be understood by printer or player.
From such like abbreviations arise no small blunders in ancient books. In the Greek manuscripts we often find ärburos, ástumw, thus abbreviated, Avas, 'Aywy. This abbreviation has occasion'd some confusion in many printed books. As for example, in a dissertation of Maximus Tyrius, Tí ó osos xac lactwa, what Deity is according to Plato. We find Plato is there called,
ο ευφωνόταθος των ΟΝΤΩΝ, the moft eloquent of
But 'ó S2N, as used by Plato and his followers, is a word of facred import, Truth, Deity itself, that which really is Being, in contradistinction to ever-feeting and changing matter. A Platonist therefore, enquiring what Deity is, would never say even of his master Plato, ο ευφωνόταθος των ΟΝΤΩΝ. It would be compliment fufficient to fay, ο ευφωνόταθος των ΑΝΩΝ; i. e. av&patw. There is very little difference between ONTSN and ANNN, if it be considered how easily the stroke over aww might be miftaken for a = by a transcriber : Plato, the most eloquent of mortals, seems the compliment intended by Maximus Tyrius.
i In this fenfe 'tis used by the Platonic writer of the Wisdom of Solomon. XIII, 1. “ And could not out of the
good things that are know HIM THAT 18 : Tòn övla."
T is not at all surprising that the persons in
the drama should be changed, either thro' the blunders, or wrong judgment of the transcribers and players.
In the Tempest, Act I..