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Wherefore, is thus accentuated in other places, as—
"I'll tell you when, and you'll tell me wherefore."
Comedy of Errors.
427. "Now I perceive that she hath made compare
"Between our statures."
Will it be advancing too far upon the conjectural ground of Dr. Warburton, to suppose that this is a reference to the jealous coquettry of Queen Elizabeth, displayed in her recorded conversation with Sir John Melville, about Mary of Scotland? It would doubtless have been a very dangerous allusion.
431. "I should know the man
"By the Athenian garments he had on."
By this rhyme, which is a repetition of what occurred before in the second Act, page 380, it would seem that man, in the time of our poet, was uttered with the broad sound, which at this day it retains in Scotland, mon.
439. "When thou wak'st "Thou tak'st."
The second of these lines is lame; but Mr. Tyrwhit's emendation cannot be admitted: the speech of Puck, in this place, is only declarative; the imperative, therefore, see-thou tak'st, will not agree with the context: the second line in the preceding stanza seems to have the same defect.
"On the ground,
Perhaps we should read,
"On the ground,
"When thou wak'st,
ACT V. SCENE I.
Mr. Malone observes that this should be overflow'd, and, surely, he is right, notwithstanding the authority which Mr. Steevens would bring from Johnson's Dictionary to support the text: flown is the participle passive of to fly; flow'd, of to flow; and so of the compounds, overfly, overflow.
451. "I never heard so musical a discord."
Such a pleasing unity of things discordant: the lady means to express, in musical terms, that the harsh voices of the dogs and hunters, joined with the confused echo, was music.
464. "And as imagination bodies forth
"The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen
"Turns them to shapes," &c. i. e. As imagination brings forth from her womb, strange and unnatural forms of things, the poet, in his inspiration, turns them to shapes well known, and thus gives to airy nothing a name and a certain acknowledged residence: there is an evident distinction made between the unknown infinite forms of things, bodied forth by the imagination, and the forms of things known: "turns" has the force of alters; and I think, after the word " shapes," familiar or known is implied. See Hamlet, Act 4, "may fit us to our shape:" shape here is character. B. Strutt.
I once wished to read, instead of "the forms," a mass "of things," but I am much better pleased with the preceding explanation. The form of things unknown is the idea of " the unlicked bear-cub that carries no impression like the dam."
464. "And grows to something of great constancy;
"But, howsoever, strange and admirable."
i. e. Grows to something consistent and real, but (yet, nevertheless) strange and wonderful.
If the above explanation be right, "howso ever" is only expletive.
466. "How many sports are ripe."
"Ripe" is ready, prepared, as in the Coined} of Errors, a boat is "sinking-ripe;" and in King Henry VIII. where Griffith says of Wolsey, "He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one~
Vol. x. E
468. "Hot ice, and wonderous strange snow."
Dr. Warburton calls this nonsense, and dictates,
"Hot ice, a wonderous strange shew!"
An expression that with much less outrage, I believe, may be styled nonsensical; such a thing, if it could exist, being an object not of sight, or "shew," but of feeling. Mr. Upton would read, (and Dr. Johnson adds, not improbably,) "and wonderous black snow," but so, the wonder itself being only in the blackness, such wonderous tautology can hardly be admitted. Sir T. Hanmer, with similiar pleonasm, proposes,
"Wonderous scorching snow."
And though Mr. Steevens had, at length, given the plain sense, which, indeed, one would think, could not readily be overlooked, Mr. Monk Mason steps forth to purify and invigorate the text, with "wonderous strong snow," and this, as he tells us, because there is no antithesis between strange and snow: but what antithesis, or what sense can be expressed by strong or weak snow? If the reference be to the chilling power of snow, all antithesis is annihilated, whereas the epithet "strange," does evidently refer to something, at least different. However, it is possible that Mr. M. Mason, by strong, may mean hard, in allusion to the effect of frost upon a body of . snow 5 but that being a natural, and no uncommon instance, it cannot well be associated with the prodigy of hot ice; and from Mr. Malone, in this case, I should have expected some better recommendation of Mr. Mason's amendment that that strong and strange have sometimes by printers been confounded. The truth is, miraculous ice and miraculous snow were to be expressed, the ice was said to be "hot," and an epithet appropriate and sufficiently forcible not beeing at hand, the quality of the snow was given under a more general character, it was wonderous strange snow.
"A play there is," &c.
The four first lines of this speech end, alternately, with the words, "long," and "play." They could not, surely, be meant as rhymes.
469. "Hard-handed men, that work in Athens here,
"Which never labour'd," &c.
The neuter relative, "which," to men, was common anciently,—we find it frequently in the translation of the Scriptures. In Julius Ca;sar ,we meet with the hard hands of peasants, and in Cymbeline,
"Hands made hard with hourly falsehood"
"Unless you can find sport in their intents."
This, Dr. Johnson remarks, is obscure; and he supposes that a line has been lost. Mr. Steevens, to clear up the difficulty, observes, that as to attend, and to intend were formerly synonymous, intents here may have been put for the objects of attention: but as the objects of attention in the present instance can be no other than the Duke and court, we are still unfurnished with the sense; which yet I suppose to lurk in the word intents. Unless you can be amused by the