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Coriolanus expostulates in the same manner : "
You were us'd “ To say, extremity was the trier of spirits ; " That common chances common men could
bear; “ That when the sea was calm, all boats alike “ Shew'd mastership, in floating,” &c.
“Reproof of chance” is the magnanimity, or the effect of that magnanimity, which counteracts and proves superior-to accident.
“ Lies, rich in virtue, and unmingled.” “Unmingled,” a quadrisyllable. 262, “ Made a toast for Neptune."
How a “ toast” is to be made by immersion in water, or drowning, I cannot conceive, and wish some of the commentators had instructed us.
IVhen the splitting wind “ Makes flexible the knees of knotted oaks, “ And flies fled under shade, why, then, the
thing of courage.” “Makes” and “ fled” is an expression that cannot be allowed. We might read~" and flies are fled to shade.” The words “ why then” are not wanting to the sense, and, as they burthen the line, they ought to be omitted. 263. “ The thing of courage.".
“ Thing” is used in other places with dignity. Coriolanus is addressed, “ thou noble thing !"
- Returns to chiding fortune." Gives chiding fortune as good as she brings. VOL. I.
Both your speeches, which were such, “ As Agamemnon and the hand of Greece “ Should hold up high in brass ; and such again, “ As venerable Nestor, hatch'd in silver, Should with a bond of air (strong as the
axletree ' On which heaven rides,) knit all the Greekish
ears “To his experienc'd tongue."
It is impossible to reconcile the construction of this exordium, as it stands, to any sense; but I believe the meaning is this" Your several speeches (says Ulysses) were such, that one of them, for its convincing energy, should, by the supreme authority and general consent of Greece, be recorded in brass; the other, on account of its persuasive sweetness, ought to be commemorated in an engraving upon silver, which should represent Nestor, as fascinating, or binding with the charm of his eloquence, (the bond of air) the ears and attention of the Greeks.
This “ bond of air” reminds me of a passage, which I have met with somewhere, quoted from Apuleius, in which the fine transparent web that covers, without hiding, the bosom of a lady, is called ventum textilem. 264. “ Yet let it please both.”
" Let,” which overloads the omitted
" Yet please it both.” 269. “ Insisture."
This seems to mean “ peremptory purpose;" but the word is not, I believe, elsewhere to be found, and probably is not Shakspeare's.
LCUWIIICII overloads the fine might be
271. “ Peaceful commérce from dívidable
shores." Commerce occurs again in the third act, with this accentuation. "
The bounded waters “ Should lift their bosoms higher than the
shores.” The auxiliary verbs, shall and will, are often confounded in these works, as they are still in Ireland. 272. “ That by a pace goes backward, with a
purpose “ It hath to climb." This seems inconsequential : should it not have been either “ goes downward,” or “ it hath t'advance ?”
" Pale and bloodless emulation." Dr. Johnson explains this, an emulation “not vigorous and active, but malignant and sluggish;" but surely it is a reference to the plebeian baseness, the want of nobility or blood in those who would thus mount over their superiors. 273. “
The wooden dialogue and sound “ 'Twixt his stretch'd footing and the scaf
foldage." “The scaffoldage,” says Mr. Malone, is the gallery; but is it not rather the stage ? 274.“ Speaks,
with terms unsquar'd,
This is not concord; by “ which," we are obliged to understand such as.
- As near as the extremest ends “ Of parallels." Dr. Johnson says this is an allusion to the parallel lines on a map, east and west; but I believe it rather refers to the mathematical property of parallels, whose ends can never meet, but, at their greatest extent, are as far from each other as they were at first. “ And with a palsy-fumbling on his gorget, “Shake in and out the rivet.”
The making thus a compound of palsy and fumbling, gives such a construction as I believe nobody can understand. What can be plainer than this ?-Patroclus (says Ulysses) now proceeds to mimic the infirmities of Nestor, to cough and spit: “And, with a palsy, fumbling on his gorget,
(i. e. Putting it on in a fumbling manner,) “ (To) shake in and out the rivet.” 275.“ Severals and generals.” What are peculiar, as well as what are common.
“ Paradores." By this word, I believe is meant, here, preposterous and disgraceful antics. 276. “ Forestall prescience, and esteem no act
“ But that of hand." “ Forestall" seems to have here an unusual signification-undervalue, contemn.
277. “ Look, Menelaus.”
“Menelaus" should be omitted, as encumbering the verse. I suppose it crept into the text, from being a stage direction (to Menelaus.) 278. Æneas. “Ay."
I am surprised to find this word, without the least meaning, here, taking up the space of a line.
“ Bending angels” Means, I believe, angels relaxing from their graver occupations. 281. “ If there be one among the fair’st of
Greece, “That holds' his honour higher than his
ease, “ That seeks his praise more than he fears
his peril.” Some lines very like these we find in Coriolanus : "
If any fear “Lesser his person than an ill report; “ If any think brave death outweighs bad life, “ And that his country's dearer than himself, " Let him," &c. 284. 6
Substance, " Whose grossness little characters sum
up." This is not very clear: the best sense I can an- nex to it is grossness, or bulk, which is composed of minute and imperceptible atoms. 285. “ Most meet."
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