Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

Now this is the only way that Mortimer could answer, or could be ashamed to answer; for, in the Welsh language, literally, he was “ignorance itself.” A slight transposition is wanting to the prosody : “Which thou down pourest from these swelling

heavens :!' Or“Which down thou pourest from these swelling

heavens.” 331. “ Nay, if you melt, then will she run

mad.'

Nobody, I suppose, can approve of Mr. Steevens's expedient to repair this line :-(" Why,) then she will run mad." Yet something is ne. cessary to be supplied. Will this do?“Nay, if you melt, then will she (e'en) run mad.”

She bids you

Upon the wanton rushes lay you down.Mr. Malone's attempt to bring this into one line is wholly ineffectual. « On,” for “upon," might certainly, even without the authority of any peculiar copy, be admitted in a case like this, but the measure cannot be made perfect without entirely dismissing another word-a word, how. ever, that may well be spared. The use of the epithet “ wanton,” here, is not suitable to the character of either the lady or her father : “She bids you on the rushes lay you down, 332. “ And on your eye-lids crown the god of

sleep."

Mr. Malone says, this is a strange image ; but I believe it will be deemed more strange, that both he and Mr. Steevens should either be slow to perceive or admit the justness of Dr. Warburton's applause of it:--Sleep crown'd on his eyelids, is sleep seated there in the supremacy of delight: “ Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness, “ Making such difference between sleep and

wake, - As is the difference betwixt day and night.”

Mr. Sheridan seems to have had this passage in his thoughts when he was writing the Duenna, and has sweetly amplified it:

“ Tell me, my lute, can thy fond strain
“ So gently speak thy master's pain,
“ So softly breathe, so humbly sigh,

“That, tho’ my sleeping love shall know

“ Who sings, who sighs below,

“Her rosy slumbers shall not fly.” 333. Do so;

And those musicians,&c. This may all be comprehended in a legitimate line with the trisyllabic ending : “Do so; and those musicians that shall pláy tă

you."

334. “ Neither ; 'tis a woman's fault.

Dr. Johnson says he does not see what is a woman's fault. Dr. Farmer, without shewing it to him, or, I believe, to any one else, says the expression is ironical. Mr. Steevens, after finding, in two old books, “ a woman's fault,” three times, conjectures that Hotspur “slilymeans to say, that the usual fault of women is, “ they never do what they are bid or desired to do:" and Mr. Holt White, perceiving that Hotspur is in the Welsh lady's bedchamber, luxuriously labours-with a meaning, of which he seems ashamed to be delivered. Now, I suppose, any one, who had not, by such authorities, been obliged to doubt, would readily conclude that a woman's fault is only that “ she will neither do one thing nor the other.”

SCENE II.

340.“ So common-hackneyd.

The hyphen here, I believe, is improper; either 6 common” or “ hackneyed” would express the sense of the compound. "Hackneyed” I take to be a distinct word, more forcibly expressing the speaker's sentiment. Opinion, that did help me to the crown, Had still kept loyal to possession.

My character, which assisted me in obtaining the crown, would have continued it to the possessor, who, in that case, would not have been more disreputable than myself.

That men would tell their children.“ That,” for “ insomuch-that,” as in other places :

“That being daily swallow'd by men's eyes.” So-that being, &c.Vide Macbeth :

“That they did wake each other.” 341." And then I stole all courtesy from hea

ven."

[ocr errors]

I am inclined to understand this passage as Warburton does. Mr. Davies remarks (I think justly) that Mr. Malone explains our author to mean more than he intended. Courtesy, for devotion, is surely somewhat strained: the progress from courtesy to humility is natural enough. That Proniotheus's stealing fire from heaven was not unfamiliar to Shakspeare, can be proved, from a similar expression in Othello:

But once put out thy light, “I know hot where is that Promethean heat “ That can thy light relumine.”

LORD CHEDWORTH. 343. “ Carded his state.

I cannot well understand this passage, as we have it. Dr. Warburton's emendation appears the most plausible-"discarded.” Mr. Steevens says it is a metaphor taken from the wool-combers' trade, and “to card wool,” is “ to mix it, coarse and fine, together :" but this, as Mr. M. Mason has remarked, is a mistake: mixed wool, indeed, may be carded, but the idea suggested by carding or combing is the very reverse of mixture—it is separation. To say that “ to card,” is “ to mix," because the wool that is mixed may be carded, is not less erroneous than it would be to say, that to spin," is “ to mix," because different fleeces had been combined in the thread; neither can I at all agree with Mr. Ritson, who thinks the allusion is to a game with cards. Perhaps the word should be “ carted :"_Staged and exhibited his royalty to vulgar observation, like a common shew at a fair, and openly entered the lists

“With every beardless vain comparative.” VOL. 1.

347. Be more myself.. K.

For all the world, As thou art,” &c. This is evidently corrupt. The prince, who was about to excuse himself, after his father's severe remonstrance, would never have concluded with so weak a sentence as is here ascribed to him; but he is interrupted while he was proceeding somehow thus :

“ I shall hereafter, my thrice-gracious lord,

“ Be more myself than I K. "

For all the world, As thou art,” &c. He hath more worthy interest to the state, " Than thou, the shadow of succession.

I do not acknowledge the obscurity here, of which Dr. Johnson complains. “ Percy (says the king) exhibits a better and more substantial claim to the sovereignty (when I shall be no more) than thou, who art merely the shadow of royal succession, not having any of the virtues or qualities essential to the maintenance of it. 348. The archbishop's grace of York, Douglas,

Mortimer.

This line is remarkable : if the last word but one in it had not been a proper name, and one so important as Douglas, the latter syllable might be slurred or hurried so as to make the line come within the compass of dramatic measure; but, as it is the excess is insufferable, at the same time that it will admit of harmony, by the superinduction of another word before“ Mortimer :"

« PoprzedniaDalej »