« PoprzedniaDalej »
on this ground, can be made between them. During the lifetime of Milton, two genuine editions of the Paradise Lost were published; and, besides the change in the number and disposition of the books, in the second copy we see, by a new title page, and a table of errata annexed, but two years afterwards, to the first, that the illustrious author had bestowed upon it the greatest attention, even to the most minute peculiarities of orthography. How foreign from this is the case of Shakspeare! Unmindful of every thing but his ease and profit, and wholly indifferent to the applause of posterity, he abandoned his works to the disposition of chance, and they came forth, accordingly, altered, augmented, and depraved; as suited, alternately, the caprice, the avarice, and the ignorance of players, managers, and publishers: upon a revisal, therefore, of compositions so abused, correction cannot fairly be deemed arrogance, nor alteration sacrilege; and if casual improvement be not imperiously dictated, but modestly suggested; not imposed as authentic, but submitted as convenient; not rashly usurping a station in the text, but humbly waiting for judgment in the margin, and implicitly abiding the sentence of the reader, whether for acceptance or rejection, the attempt will, at least, be pardonable.
PLAYS OF SHAKSPEARE.
ACTl. SCENE I.
6. "Blow, till thou burst thy wind."
Till thy lungs be rent—till thou art brokenwinded.
11. "If by your art, my dearest father, you have
"Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them:'
I am inclined to think the poet would have arranged these words thus:—
"If, by your art, my dearest father, you "Have put the wild waters inSthis roar, allay them."
Arithmetic, indeed, might pause, dubious which line to burthen with the redundant syllable, but a good ear, in harmony with the sense, would at once suggest this disposition.
12. "More better."
Mr. Stevens calls this mode of speech ungrammatical, but, I believe, he is mistaken. There appears to have been formerly five degrees of comparison—Good. Better, more better. Best, most best. B. Strutt.
15. "Thy mother was a piece of virtue."
Piece is pattern, as in Anthony and Cleopatra, Act 3.
"Let not the piece of virtue which is set
And again, ibid. Act 5.
"—» .To imagine"An Anthony were nature's piece, 'gainst fancy."
19. " Like one
"Who having, unto truth, by telling of it,
Lie is certainly the correlative to which it refers. The use of the pronoun before the noun to which it relates, though a sort of trepov npoltpov, and improper, is not very uncommon in conversation: the following is an instance of it in Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding, B. 264. "The bodies which we daily handle make us perceive that whilst they remain between them, they do, by an insurmountable force, hinder the approach of the parts of our hands that press them." The thought is something like the fingebant simul credebantque of Tacitus. An. 5. 10.
Lord CHEDWoRTHi &0. "So dry he was for sway."
Surely there was no need of a note to tell us that dry meant thirsty, in which sense it is very commonly used: so Gay, in his Shepherd's Week,
"Your herds for want of water stand a-dry."
21. "/, not rememb''ring how I cried out then, "Will cry it o'er again."
How I cried out, i. e. how I expressed my trouble.
"It is a hint
"That wrings mine eyes to 7."
To what? exclaims Mr. Steevens; who then, with the authority of Dr. Farmer, expunges "to't;" but the answer to his question is obvious enough. The act of crying. Your tale, says Miranda, is a suggestion that forces me to weep.
23. "When I have deck"d the sea with drops full
To deck, I believe, is merely to cover or place uppermost: thus in Venice Preserved—
"Downy pillows, deck'd on leaves of roses."
24. "Some food we had, and some fresh water,
"A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo,
"Master of this design) did give us," &c.
Mr. Steevens need not have scrupled to insert in the text his clear and obvious emendation of this corrupt passage: He being then appointed, &c.
25. "Now I arise."
It is very difficult to assign a meaning, or a commodious one, to these words; and I cannot but suspect them to be corrupt. May we suppose arrest, instead of arise? Now I seize upon and fix your attention. This I am far from recommending; but I know not what to do with the passage. Mr. Strutt supposes it to be only a marginal note of the player's.
"Now I arise."
I confess I cannot acquiesce in either of the explanations given of these words, though I do not know that I am able to give any very satisfactory account of them. With the regulation proposed by Sir William Blackstone (to which I can hardly believe that many readers will yield assent,) Mr. Steevens seems dissatisfied, from his not adopting it, and proposing an explanation of the words as they now stand; but I cannot think that Mr. S. has given the true meaning; for I do not perceive that Prospero now rises in his narration, which had from the beginning been extremely interesting, as Miranda confesses, (your story would cure deafness.) I am strongly inclined to think the words mean no more than that Prospero rises from his seat; which he does because he was just now concluding his narration; all that remains for him to relate, being, that they arrived in the island in which he had been tutor to his daughter; which account he dis