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from Virg. Aen. II, 40. Magnâ comitante caterva.
But Shakespeare has some Greek expressions. In Coriolanus, Act II.
" It is held " That valour is the chiefest virtue, and “ Moft dignifies the baver." i. e. the poffeffor. So baving signifies fortune and riches. Macbeth, Act I.
My noble partner “ You greet with present grace and great pre
i diction " Of noble baving.”. Having, Gr. šysia. Lat. babentia. In Sophocles, Aj. ¥. 157
Algo's gaie Ton EXONO* • plóvao ignei.
i. e. put an end to your labours : alluding to, what the Greeks called by one word, Brauto's, the time for unyoking. Hom. Il. 6: 779.
ΗμG δ' ήέλια μέθενείσσαιο βελυόνδε. .
Schol. επί την εσπέραν δείλης, καθ' ον καιρον οι βοές droavóvai tūvégłw. From this one word Horace has made a whole stanza. L. III. Od. 6.
« Sol ubi montium
Tempus agens abeunte curru.
Hence too our Milton in his Mask.
" Two such I faw, what time the labour'd oxe « In his loose traces from the furrow.came."
Our English word Dephan" comes from óQavo's, ab op Quós being as it were left in darkness, left void of their greatest blessing their parents, the light and guide of their steps. -OpQavàs is spoken of one in the dark and obfcurity: ορφανός, ο άσημος και μηκέτι εμφανής, fays an ancient grammarian on the Ajax of Sophocles. Now allowing Shakespeare to use the word orphan, as a Grecian would have used it, how elegantly does he call the fairies, the orphan heirs of
destiny : who administer in her works, acting in darkness and obscurity ? The whole passage runs thus : In the Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V.
" Fairies, black, gray, green and white, c. You moon-shinerevellers, and shades of night, “ You Orphan-beirs of fixed destiny, “Attend your office and your quality.” Had the poet written ouphen-beirs, he would have repeated the same thing. These ouphs I find in modern editions have routed the owls out of their old possessions : but I shall beg leave to reinstate them again, in the Comedy of Errours, Act II. “ This is " the fairy land : oh spight of spights! " Wetalk with goblins, owls and elvish sprights! " If we obey them not, this will ensue, They'll suck our breath, and pinch us black and blue."
12 Fairy land.] Plautus lays the scene at Epidamnum, a town of Macedon, lying upon the Adriatic; whose unfors tunate found made the Romans change it to Dyrrachium : the Roman comedian has some allusions and witticisms on the name. Shakespeare removes the scene to Ephesus ; which he calls the land of conjurors and witches. He had his eye chiefly on that passage in Acts xix, 19. The cafe
These owls which the Latins called striges, according to vulgar superstition had power to fuck children's breath and blood. Ovid. Fast.
L. VI. 135.
“Noctevolant, puerosquepetunt nutricis egentes, " Et vitiant cunis corpora rapta
fuis. Carpere dicuntur lactantia viscera roftris, “ Et plenum poto fanguine guttur habent."
seems to be this : there were at Ephesus several impostors and jugglers (conjurors the common people called them) who by the assistance of charms, periapts, amulets, &c. certain magical words, or fuperftitious characters and figures, promised to cure people of their diseases, or to give them fuccess in any undertaking. Hesychius has preserved some of this trumpery in V. Epécia jęciu pe cela ; and of this kind we have still preserved to this day ; such as Abracadabra, to cure agues : St. George, St. George, &c. to cure the incubus, or night-mare, mention'd by Scot in his discovery of witchcraft, Book IV. C. II. St. Withold, &c. in K. Lear, Act III. with many others easily to be picked up. Now these, or the like, were the curious arts ; [ta wegiegła, an impertinent prying and inquisitiveness into things which don't belong to us, and are above us : The false accusation laid against Socrates was, öri meglegye Colar ;) and 'twas nothing but a parcel of this trumpery of periapts, amulets and charms, together with some astrological books, that is mention'd to be burnt at Ephesus.---- And they counted the price of them, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver : not that the books, in which this ridiculous stuff was writ
Plin. XI, 39.
“ Fabulofum puto de ftrigibus, ubera infan« tium eas labris immulgere.”
NOR is Shakespeare's peculiarity in using words to be passed over.
In Richard II. Act IJ.
" Why have those banish'd and forbidden legs, “ Dar'd once to touch a dust of England's
“ ground ?" i. e. interdicied. As the pope's legate told K. John, “ He (the pope] hath wholly interdi&ted
ten, were really worth so much, but the superstitious people of this and the neighbouring countries bought them up at a high price ; and the conjurors had provided a great stock. This short account of these Ephesian Letters will give a new light not only to this place of the Acts, but will likewise explain a passage in Ovid's Met. XIV. 57. where Circe is introduced muttering her unintelligible jargon, like those mystical words mention'd in Hesychius. Ovid calls them Verba nova.
-obfcurum VERBORUM ambage NOVOR UM Ter novies carmen magico demurmurat ore. Which is expressed most elegantly, and agreeably to ancient fuperftition. So too Shakespeare in King Lear, Ac II. MUMBLING of wicked charms.