Page images
PDF
EPUB

As whence the Sun gives bis reflexion, Shipwrecking forms and direful thunders

break, “ So from that spring, wbence comfort seem'd

66 to come,

Discomfort swelled." i. e. As the sky, or the beavens, from which we receive one of the greatest benefits of nature, the light of the Sun, produces likewise in its turn storms and thunder, oftentimes to the destruction of many ; fo from that spring, &c.

But let our refining Critic and Philosopher take this in band, and you have- -what, for my part, I really know not, let the reader try,

“ As whence the sun 'gins his reflexion.) Here are two readings in the copies, gives and “ 'gins, i. e. begins. But the latter I think is the right, as founded on observation, that storms

generally come from the east. As from the

place (Says be) whence the fun begins his “ course, (viz. tbe east) Thripwrecking storms “ proceed so, &c. For the natural and constant motion of the ocean is from east to weft ; and " the wind bas the same general dire&tion. Præ“ cipua & generalis (ventorum] causa est ipse Sol qui aërem rarefacit & attenuat. Aër “ enim rarefactus multo majorem locum poftu

d

s lat.

[ocr errors]

“ lat. Inde fit ut Aër à fole impulsus alium • vicinum aërem magno impetu protrudat ;

cumque Sol ab Oriente in occidentem circumrotetur, præcipuus ab eo. aëris impulsus fiet versus occidentem. Varenii Geogr. l. 1. C. 14. .

See also Doctor Halley's Account " of the Trade-Winds of the Monsoons. This

being so, it is no wonder that storms should come most frequently from that quarter. ; or that they

should be most violent, because there is a concurrence of the natural motions of wind and wave. This proves the true reading is 'gins ; the other " reading not fixing it to that quarter. For the Sun may give its reflexion in any part of its

course above the horizon ; but it can begin it

only in one. The Oxford Editor, however, 66 sticks to the other reading, gives : and says, " that, by the Sun's giving his reflexion, is " meant the rainbow, the strongest and most “ remarkable reflexion of any the Sun gives. He appears by this to have as good a band at re

förming our phisics as our poetry. This is a

discovery; that shipwrecking storms proceed from 6 the rainbow. But be was mised by his want of

skill in Shakespeare's phraseology, who, by the “ sun's reflexion, means only the Sun's light. " But while he is intent on making his author

speck correatly, be slips bimself. The rainbow

2

[ocr errors]

" is no more a reflexion of the Sun than a tune is a « fiddle. And, though it be the most remarkable

effe&t of refleEted light, yet it is not the strong" eft.” Mr. W.

“ DiscoMFORT well’d.] Shakespeare without question wrote Discomfit, i. e. rout, over“throw, from the Latin, DISCONFICTUS. i. l.

disruptus, diffolutus. And that was the case,

at the first onset, till Macbeth turned the fortune of the day.Mr. W.

Can the reader find out this learned System of physics ? and, when be bas found it out, apply it to the present purpose ?-_Can be tell what is meant by DISCONFICTUS ?-or will be not rather think, after all, that our Editor bas ' cashiered com« mon sense, to make room for a jargon of s his own ?"

[ocr errors]

X.

Mr.W. often puts us in mind of his great knowledge in Shakespeare. Thus, for instance, in a note on a passage in Macbeth, AET II. " Thou feeft, the beav'ns as troubled with man's

66 aEt,
" Threaten this bloody stage.

1 Wr. W.'s preface, p. xvi.

d 2

« Threaten

" Threaten this bloody stage :-] One might be tempted to tbink the poet wrote STRAGE, saugbter. But I, WHO KNOW HIM BETTER, am

persuaded be used stage for act. And because

stage may be figurately used for act, a dramatic representation. ; therefore be uses it for act, a deed done. Threatens a tragedy.Mr. W.

One might be tempted to think the poet wrote strage! I know no one, that might be tempted to think fog but bis late editor, who bás ro often removed Shakespeare's sense to the bottom of the page, to make room for bis own barbarifm.

-But I, who know him better, am persuaded he used stage for Act! But Shakespeare's reader., I dare say, is perfuaded, this stage means, metaphorically, this stage of the world: Threaten this bloody stage, threaten this world, where these Bloody scenes are transacting.

Was it from this better knowledge of our poet, that Mr. W. bas laid forgetfulness and ignorance to his charge. But wbether the commentator, or the poet nods I will submit to the reader:

Hamlet, seeing bis uncle, is in fome doubt with himself whether or no be then shall kill him; and adds,

He took my father grofly, full of bread,
6 With all bis crimes broad blown, and fuss as

66 May;

< And

" And bow bis audit stands, who knows, fave

beaven? But in our circumstance and course of thought, 'Tis beavy with bim. Hamlet, AE III. “ From these lines, and some others, it appears that Shakespeare bad drawn the first

Aketch of this play without his Ghoft; and 66 when be bad added that machinery, be forgot to Arike out these lines: For the Gboft bed told him, very circumstantially, bow bis audit. « stood : and he was now satisfied with the reality of the vision.Mr. W.

But the critic knows not what the poet meant by this expreshon, How his audit ftands. For this the Ghost could not know, fully, 'till the time for auditing his accounts, THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. All that the Ghost told Hamlet we have above in AE I.

I am thy father's spirit Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night, And for the day confin'd to fast in fires ; 'Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature,

Are burnt and purgʻd away. Confind to fast in firesmetapborically ; i. e. to be cleansed and purged by abstinence and discipline. So Plato Speaking of the purgatorial state in bis

Pbado,

d 3

« PreviousContinue »