Johnson's Notes to Shakespeare Vol. I Comedies
by Samuel Johnson
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

This signior Julio's giant-dwarf

Shakespeare, says he, intended to compliment Julio Romano, who drew Cupid in the character of a giant-dwarf. Dr. Warburton thinks, that by Junio is meant youth in general.

III.i.188 (382,3) [Of trotting paritors] An apparitor, or paritor. is an officer of the bishop's court who carries out citations; as citations are most frequently issued for fornication, the paritor is put under Cupid's government.

III.i.189 (382,4)

[And I to be a corporal of his field, And wear his colours! like a tumbler's hoop!]

The conceit seems to be very forced and remote, however it be understood. The notion is not that the hoop wears colours, but that the colours are worn as a tumbler carries his hoop, hanging on one shoulder and falling under the opposite arm.

III.i.207 (383,5) [Some men must love my lady, and some Joan] To this line Mr. Theobald extends his second act, not injudiciously, but, as was before observed, without sufficient authority.

IV.i.19 (384,6) [Here,—good my glass] To understand how the princess has her glass so ready at hand in a casual conversation, it must be remembered that in those days it was the fashion among the French ladies to wear a looking-glass,' as Mr. Bayle coarsely represents it, on their bellies; that is, to have a small mirrour set in gold hanging at the girdle, by which they occasionally viewed their faces or adjusted their hair.

IV.i.35 (385,8) [that my heart means no ill] [W: tho'] That my heart means no ill, is the same with to whom my heart means no ill; the common phrase suppresses the particle, as I mean him [not to him] no harm.

IV.i.41 (386,9) [a member of the commonwealth] Here, I believe, is a kind of jest intended; a member of the common-wealth is put for one of the common people, one of the meanest.

IV.i.49 (386,1)

[An' your waist, mistress, were as slender as my wit, One o' these maids girdles for your waist should be fit]

[W: my waste ... your wit ... my waste] This conjecture is ingenious enough, but not well considered. It is plain that the ladies girdles would not fit the princess. For when she has referred the clown to the thickest and the tallest, he turns immediately to her with the blunt apology, truth is truth; and again tells her, you are the thickest here. If any alteration is to be made, I should propose,

An' your waist, mistress, were as slender as your wit.

This would point the reply; but perhaps he mentions the slenderness of his own wit to excuse his bluntness.

IV.i.59 (387,3) [Break the neck of the wax] Still alluding to the capon.

IV.i.65 (388,5) [king Cophetua] This story is again alluded to in Henry IV.

Let king Cophetua know the truth thereof.

But of this king and beggar, the story, then doubtless well known, is, I am afraid, lost. Zenelophon has not appearance of a female name, but since I know not the true none, it is idle to guess.

IV.i.99 (389,7) [ere while] Just now; a little while ago. So Raleigh,

Here lies Hobbinol our shepherd, while e'er.

IV.i.108 (390,9) [Come, lords, away] Perhaps the Princess said rather,

Come, ladies, away.

The rest of the scene deserves no care.

IV.ii (392,2) [Enter Dull, Holofernes, and Sir Nathaniel] I am not of the learned commentator's [Wurburton] opinion, that the satire of Shakespeare is so seldom personal. It is of the nature of personal invectives to be soon unintelligible; and the authour that gratifies private malice, aniuam in vulnere ponit, destroys the future efficacy of his own writings, and sacrifices the esteem of succeeding times to the laughter of a day. It is no wonder, therefore, that the sarcasms, which, perhaps, in the authour's time, set the playhouse in a roar, are now lost among general reflections. Yet whether the character of Holofernes was pointed at any particular man, I am, notwithstanding the plausibility of Dr. Warburton's conjecture, inclined to doubt. Every man adheres as long as he can to his own pre-conceptions. Before I read this note I considered the character of Holofernes as borrowed from the Rhombus of sir Philip Sidney, who, in a kind of pastoral entertainment, exhibited to queen Elizabeth, has introduced a school-master so called, speaking a leash of languages at once, and puzzling himself and his auditors with a jargon like that of Holofernes in the present play. Sidney himself might bring the character from Italy; for, as Peacham observes, the school-master has long been one of the ridiculous personages in the farces of that country.

IV.ii.29 (395,4)

[And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, Which we taste and feeling are for those parts that do fructify in us, more than he]

Sir T. Hammer reads thus,

And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, For those parts which we taste and feel do fructify in us more than he.

And Mr. Edwards, in his animadversions on Dr. Warburton's notes, applauds the emendation. I think both the editors mistaken, except that sir T. Hammer found the metre, though he missed the sense. I read, with a slight change,

And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, When we taste and feeling are for those parts that do fructify in us more than he.

That is, such barren plants are exhibited in the creation, to make us thankful when we have more taste and feeling than he, of those parts or qualities which produce fruit in us, and preserve as from being likewise barren plants. Such is the sense, just in itself and pious, but a little clouded by the diction of sir Nathaniel. The length of these lines was no novelty on the English stage. The moralities afford scenes of the like measure. (1773)

IV.ii.32 (396,5)

[For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool; So were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school]

The meaning is, to be in a school would as ill become a patch, or low fellow, as folly would become me.

IV.ii.99 (399,2) [Vinegia. Vinegia, Chi non te vedi, ei non te pregia] [This reading is an emendation by Theobald] The proverb, as I am informed, is this; He that sees Venice little, values it much; he that sees it much, values it little. But I suppose Mr. Theobald is right, for the true proverb would hot serve the speaker's purpose.

IV.ii.156 (403,6) [colourable colours] That is specious, or fair seeming appearances.

IV.iii.3 (403,7) [I am toiling in a pitch] Alluding to lady Rosaline's complexion, who is through the whole play represented as a black beauty.

IV.iii.29 (404,8) [The night of dew, that on my cheeks down flows] I cannot think the night of dew the true reading, but know not what to offer.

IV.iii.47 (405,9) [he comes in like a perjure, wearing papers] The punishment of perjury is to wear on the breast a paper expressing the crime.

IV.iii.74 (406,2) [the liver-vein] The liver was anciently supposed to be the seat of love.

IV.iii.110 (408,5) [Air, would I might triumph so!] Perhaps we may better read,

Ah! would I might triumph so!

IV.iii.117 (409,7) [ay true love's fasting pain] [W: festring] There is no need of any alteration. Fasting is longing, hungry, wanting.

IV.iii.148 (410,8) [How will he triumph, leap, and laugh at it?] [W: geap] To leap is to exult, to skip for joy. It must stand.

IV.iii.166 (410,9) [To see a king transformed to a knot!] Knot has no sense that can suit this place. We may read sot. The rhimes in this play are such, as that sat and sot may be well enough admitted.

IV.iii.180 (412,2) [With men like men] [W: vane-like] This is well imagined, but perhaps the poet may mean, with men like common men.

IV.iii.231 (414,3) [She (an attending star)] Something like this is a stanza of sir Henry Wotton, of which the poetical reader will forgive the insertion.

—Ye stars, the train of night, That poorly satisfy our eyes More by your number than your light: Ye common people of the skies, What are ye when the sun shall rise.

IV.iii.256 (415,6) [And beauty's crest becomes the heavens well] [W: crete] This emendation cannot be received till its authour can prove that crete is an English word. Besides, crest is here properly opposed to badge. Black, says the King, is the badge of hell, but that which graces the heaven is the crest of beauty. Black darkens hell, and is therefore hateful; white adorns heaven, and is therefore lovely.

IV.iii.290 (417,8) [affection's men at arms] A man at arms, is a soldier armed at all points both offensively and defensively. It is no more than, Ye soldiers of affection.

IV.iii.313 (418,2) [Teaches such beauty as a woman's eye] i.e. a lady's eyes gives a fuller notion of beauty than any authour.

IV.iii.321 (418.3) [In leaden contemplation have found out Such fiery numbers] Numbers are, in this passage, nothing more than poetical measures. Could you, says Biron, by solitary contemplation, have attained such poetical fire, such spritely numbers, as have been prompted by the eyes of beauty? The astronomer, by looking too much aloft, falls into a ditch.

IV.iii.358 (422,9)

[Or for love's sake, a word, that loves all men; Or for men's sake, the author of these women; Or women's sake, by whom we men are men]

Perhaps we might read thus, transposing the lines,

Or for love's sake, a word that loves all men; For women's sake, by whom we men are men; Or for men's sake, the authours of these women.

The antithesis of a word that all men love, and a word which loves all men, though in itself worth little, has much of the spirit of this play.

IV.iii.386 (423,2) [If so, our copper buys no better treasure] Here Mr. Theobald ends the third act.

V.i.3 (423,3) [your reasons at dinner have been sharp and sententious] I know not well what degree of respect Shakespeare intends to obtain for this vicar, but he has here put into his mouth a finished representation of colloquial excellence. It is very difficult to add any thing to this character of the school-master's table-talk, and perhaps all the precepts of Castiglione will scarcely be found to comprehend a rule for conversation so justly delineated, so widely dilated, and so nicely limited.

It may be proper just to note, that reason here, and in many other places, signifies discourse; and that audacious is used in a good sense for spirited, animated, confident. Opinion is the same with obstinacy or opinionated.

V.i.14 (424,4) [He is too picked] To have the beard _piqued_ or shorn so as to end in a point, was, in our authour's time, a mark of a traveller affecting foreign fashions: so says the Bastard in K. John, —_I catechise _My_ piqued _man of countries_.

V.i.29 (425,6) [(Ne intelligis, Domine.) to make frantick, lunatick?] There seems yet something wanting to the integrity of this passage, which Mr. Theobald has in the most corrupt and difficult places very happily restored. For ne intelligis domine, to make frantick, lunatick, I read, (nonne intelligis, domine?) to be mad, frantick, lunatick.

V.i.44 (427,6) [honorificabilitudinitatibus] This word, whencesoever it comes, is often mentioned as the longest word known. (1773)

V.i.110 (429,6) [dally with my excrement] The authour has before called the beard valour's excrement in the Merchant of Venice.

V.ii.43 (432,5) ['Ware pencils!] The former editions read,

Were pencils——

Sir T. Hammer here rightly restored,

'Ware pencils——-

Rosaline, a black beauty, reproaches the fair Catherine for painting.

V.ii.69 (434,9) [None are so surely caught when they are catch'd, As wit turn'd fool] These are observation worthy of a man who has surveyed human nature with the closest attention.

V.ii.87 (434,1) [Saint Dennis to St. Cupid!] The Princess of France invokes, with too much levity, the patron of her country, to oppose his power to that of Cupid.

V.ii.117 (435,2) [spleen ridiculous] is, a ridiculous fit.

V.ii.205 (439,5) [Vouchsafe, bright moon, and these thy stars] When queen Elizabeth asked an ambassadour how he liked her ladies, It is hard, said he, to judge of stars in the presence of the sun.

V.ii.235 (440,6) [Since you can cog] To cog signifies to falsify the dice, and to falsify a narrative, or to lye.

V.ii.281 (442,7) [better wits have worn plain statute-caps] This line is not universally understood, because every reader does not know that a statute cap is part of the academical habit. Lady Rosaline declares that her expectation was disappointed by these courtly students, and that better wits might be found in the common places of education. [Gray had offered a different explanation] I think my own interpretation of this passage right. (see 1765, II,197,3)

V.ii.295 (443,8)

[Fair ladies, mask'd, are roses in their bud; Dismask'd, their damask sweet commixture shewn, Are angels vailing clouds, or roses blown]

[Hammer: angels vailing clouds] [Warburton exercised his sarcasm on this] I know not why Sir T. Hanmer's explanation should be treated with so much contempt, or why vailing clouds should be capping the sun. Ladies unmask'd, says Boyet, are like angels vailing clouds, or letting those clouds which obscured their brightness, sink from before them. What is there in this absurd or contemptible?

V.ii.309 (444,1) [Exeunt ladies] Mr. Theobald ends the fourth act here.

V.ii.337 (447,4) [—behaviour, what wert thou, 'Till this mad man shew'd thee? and what art thou now?] [These are two wonderfully fine lines, intimating that what courts call manners, and value themselves so much upon teaching, as a thing no where else to be learnt, is a modest silent accomplishment under the direction of nature and common sense, which does its office in promoting social life without being taken notice of. But that when it degerates into shew and parade, it becomes an unmanly contemptible quality. Warburton.] What is told in this note is undoubtedly true, but is not comprised in the quotation.

V.ii.348 (448,5) [The virtue of your eye must break my oath] I believe the author means that the virtue, in which word goodness and power are both comprised, must dissolve the obligation of the oath. The Princess, in her answer, takes the most invidious part of the ambiguity.

V.ii.374 (449,6)

[when we greet With eyes best seeing, heaven's fiery eye, By light we lose light: your capacity Is of that nature, as to your huge store Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor]

This is a very lofty and elegant compliment.

V.ii.419 (450,7) [Write, Lord have mercy on us, on those three] This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses infected with the plague, to which Biron compares the love of himself and his companions; and pursuing the metaphor finds the tokens likewise on the ladies. The tokens of the plague are the first spots or discolorations, by which the infection is known to be received.

V.ii.426 (451,8) [how can this be true, That you stand forfeit, being those that sue?] That is, how can those be liable to forfeiture that begin the process. The jest lies in the ambiguity of sue, which signifies to prosecute by law, or to offer a petition.

V.ii.440 (451,9) [you force not to forswear] You force not is the same with you make no difficulty. This is a very just observation. The crime which has been once committed, is committed again with less reluctance.

V.ii.471 (452,2) [in will and error. Much upon this it is:—And might not you] I, believe this passage should be read thus,

in will and error. Boyet. Much upon this it is. Biron. And might not you, &c.

V.ii.490 (453,5) [You cannot beg us] That is, we are not fools, our next relations cannot beg the wardship of our persons and fortunes. One of the legal tests of a natural is to try whether he can number.

V.ii.517 (454,6)

[That sport best pleases, that doth least know how. Where zeal strives to content, and the contents Dies in the zeal of that which it presents]

The third line may be read better thus,

the contents Die in the zeal of him which them presents.

This sentiment of the Princess is very natural, but less generous than that of the Amazonian Queen, who says, on a like occasion, in Midsummer-Night's Dream,

I love not to see wretchedness o'ercharg'd, Nor duty in his service perishing.

V.ii.547 (455,8) [A bare throw at novum] This passage I do not understand. I fancy that novum should be novem, and that some allusion is intended between the play of nine pins and the play of the nine worthies, but it lies too deep for my investigation.

V.ii.581 (457,2) [A-jax] There is a conceit of Ajax and a jakes.

V.ii.694 (461,4) [more Ates] That is, more instigation. Ate was the mischievous goddess that incited bloodshed.

V.ii.702 (461,5) [my arms] The weapons and armour which he wore in the character of Pompey.

V.ii.744 (463,8) [In the converse of breath] Perhaps converse may, in this line, mean interchange.

V.ii.755 (464,2) [which fain it would convince] We must read,

which fain would it convince;

that is, the entreaties of love which would fain over-power grief. So Lady Macbeth declares, That she will convince the chamberlain with wine.

V.ii.762 (464,3) [Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief] As it seems not very proper for Biron to court the princess for the king in the king's presence, at this critical moment, I believe the speech is given to a wrong person. I read thus,

Prin. I understand you not, my griefs are double: Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief. King. And by these badges, &c.

V.ii.779 (465,4) [Suggested us] That is, tempted us.

V.ii.790 (465,5) [As bombast, and as lining to the time] This line is obscure. Bombast was a kind of loose texture not unlike what is now called wadding, used to give the dresses of that time bulk and protruberance, without much increase of weight; whence the same name is given a tumour of words unsupported by solid sentiment. The Princess, therefore, says, that they considered this courtship as but bombast, as something to fill out life, which not being closely united with it, might be thrown away at pleasure.

V.ii.795 (466,7) [We did not quote them so] [We should read, quote, esteem, reckon. Warburton] though our old writers spelling by the ear, probably wrote cote, as it was pronounced. (see 1765, II,218,5)

V.ii.823 (467,8) [To flatter up these powers of mine with rest] Dr. Warburton would read fetter, but flatter or sooth is, in my opinion, more apposite to the king's purpose than fetter. Perhaps we may read,

To flatter on these hours of time with rest;

That is, I would not deny to live in the hermitage, to make the year of delay pass in quiet.

V.ii.873 (469,2) [dear groans] Dear should here, as in many other places, be dere, sad, odious.

V.ii.904 (470,3) [When daisies pied, and violets blue] The first lines of this song that were transposed, have been replaced by Mr. Theobald.

V.ii.907 (470,5) [Do paint the meadows with delight] [W: much bedight] Much less elegant than the present reading.

(472,7) General Observation. In this play, which all the editors have concurred to censure, and some have rejected as unworthy of him.

Vol. III


I.i.6 (4,2) [Long withering out a young man's revenue] [W: wintering] That the common reading is not good English, I cannot perceive, and therefore find in myself no temptation to change it.

I.i.47 (5,6) [To leave the figure, or disfigure it] [W: 'leve] I know not why so harsh a word should be admitted with so little need, a word that, spoken, could not be understood, and of which no example can be shown. The sense is plain, you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or destroy.

I.i.68 (6,8) [Know of your youth] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. (1773)

I.i.76 (7,9) [But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd] Thus all the copies, yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happy for happier earthly, a mode of speech so unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have proposed earlier happy.

I.i.110 (8,2) [spotted] As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked. (1773)

I.i.131 (9,3) [Beteem them] give them, bestow upon then. The word is used by Spenser.

I.i.157 (10,8) [I have a widow aunt, a dowager] These lines perhaps might more properly be regulated thus:

I have a widow aunt, a dowager Of great revenue, and she hath no child, And she respects me as her only son; Her house from Athens is remov'd seven leagues, There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee, And to that place—

I.i.169-178 (11,1) [Warburton had reassigned speeches here] This emendation is judicious, but not necessary. I have therefore given the note without altering the text. The censure of men, as oftner perjured than women, seems to make that line more proper for the lady.

I.i.183 (12,3) [Your eyes are lode-stars] This was a complement not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode star is the leading or guiding star, that is, the pole-star. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lode-stone, either became it leads iron, or because it guides the sailor. Milton has the same thought in L'Allegro:

Tow'rs and battlements he sees Bosom'd high in tufted trees, Where perhaps some beauty lies, The Cynosure of neighb'ring eyes.

Davies calls Elizabeth, lode-stone to hearts, and lode-stone to all eyes, (see 1765, 1,97,9)

I.i.204 (13,6)

[Before the time I did Lysander see, Seem'd Athens like a paradise to me]

Perhaps every reader may not discover the propriety of these lines. Hermia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to consider the power of pleasing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, since Hermia, whom she considers as possessing it in the supreme degree, has found no other effect of it than the loss of happiness.

I.i.232 (15,8) [Things base and vile, holding no quantity] quality seems a word more suitable to the sense than quantity, but either may serve. (1773)

I.i.240 (15,9) [in game] Game here signifies not contentious play, but sport, jest. So Spenser,

'Twixt earnest and 'twixt game.

I.ii (16,2) [Enter Quince the carpenter, Snug the joiner. Bottom the weaver. Flute the bellows-mender. Snout the tinker, and Starveling the taylor] In this scene Shakespeare takes advantage of his knowledge of the theatre, to ridicule the prejudices and competitions of the players. Bottom, who is generally acknowledged the principal actor, declares his inclination to be for a tyrant, for a part of fury, tumult, and noise, such as every young man pants to perform when he first steps upon the stage. The same Bottom, who seems bred in a tiring-room, has another histrionical passion. He is for engrossing every part, and would exclude his inferiors from all possibility of distinction. He is therefore desirous to play Pyramus, Thisbe, and the Lyon at the same time.

I.ii.10 (17,4) [grow on to a point] Dr. Warburton read go on; but grow is used, in allusion to his name, Quince. (see 1765, I,100,8)

I.ii.52 (18,6)

[Flu. Nay, faith, let me not play a woman; I have a beard coming. Quin. That's all one, you shall play it in a masque; and you may speak as small as you will]

This passage shews how the want of women on the old stage was supplied. If they had not a young man who could perform the part with a face that might pass for feminine, the character was acted in a mask, which was at that time part of a lady's dress so much in use that it did not give any unusual appearance to the scene: and he that could modulate his voice in a female tone might play the women very successfully. It is observed in Downes's Memoirs of the Playhouse, that one of these counterfeit heroines moved the passions more strongly than the women that have since been brought upon the stage. Some of the catastrophes of the old comedies, which make lovers marry the wrong women, are, by recollection of the common use of masks, brought nearer to probability.

I.ii.98 (20,8) [Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-coloured beard, your orange tawny beard, your purple-in grain beard, or your French crown-coloured beard; your perfect yellow] Here Bottom again discovers a true genius for the stage by his solicitude for propriety of dress, and his deliberation which beard to chuse among many beards, all unnatural.

II.i.2 (21,3) [Over hill, over dale] So Drayton in his Court of Fairy,

Thorough brake, thorough brier. Thorough muck, thorough mire. Thorough water, thorough fire.

II.i.9 (22,4) [To dew her orbs upon the green] For orbs Dr. Gray is inclined to substitute herbs. The orbs here mentioned are the circles supposed to be made by the Fairies on the ground, whose verdure proceeds from the fairy's care to water them.

They in their courses make that round, In meadows and in marshes found, Of then so called the fairy ground. Drayton.

II.i.10 (22,5) [The cowslips tall her pensioners be] The cowslip was a favourite among the fairies. There is a hint in Drayton of their attention to May morning.

for the queen a fitting tow'r, Quoth he, is that fair cowslip flow'r.— In all your train there's not a fay That ever went to gather May, But she hath made it in her way, The tallest there that groweth.

II.i.16 (22,7) [lob of spirits] Lob, lubber, looby, lobcock, all denote both inactivity of body and dulness of mind.

II.i.23 (23,8) [changeling] Changeling is commonly used for the child supposed to be left by the fairies, but here for the child taken away.

II.i.29 (23,9) [sheen] Shining, bright, gay.

II.i.30 (23,1) [But they do square] [To square here is to quarrel. And now you are such fools to square for this? Gray.]

The French word contrecarrer has the same import.

II.i.36 (24,4)

[Skim milk; and sometimes labour in the quern, And bootless make the breathless huswife churn]

The sense of these lines is confused. Are not you he, says the fairy, that fright the country girls. that skim milk, work in the hand-mill, and make the tired dairy-woman churn without effect? The mention of the mill seem out of place, for she is not now telling the good but the evil that he does. I would regulate the lines thus:

And sometimes make the breathless housewife churn Skim milk, and bootless labour in the quern.

Or by a simple transposition of the lines;

And bootless, make the breathless housewife churn Skim milk, and sometimes labour in the quern.

Yet there is no necessity of alteration. (see 1765, I,106,1)

II.i.40 (24,6) [Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck, You do their work] To those traditionary opinions Milton has reference in L'Allegro,

Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, With stories told of many a feat. How Fairy Mab the junkets eat; She was pinch'd and pull'd she said. And he by Frier's lapthorp led; Tells how the drudging goblin sweat To earn his cream-bowl duly set, When in one night ere glimpse of morn His shadowy flail had thresh'd the corn Which ten day-labourers could not end. Then lies him down the lubber fiend.

A like account of Puck is given by Drayton,

He meeteth Puck, which most men call Hobgoblin, and on him doth fall.— This Puck seems but a dreaming dolt, Still walking like a ragged colt, And oft out of a bed doth bolt, Of purpose to deceive us; And leading us makes us to stray. Long winter's nights out of the way. And when we stick in mire and clay. He doth with laughter leave us.

It will be apparent to him that shall compare Drayton's poem with this play, that either one of the poets copied the other, or, as I rather believe, that there was then some system of the fairy empire generally received, which they both represented as accurately as they could. Whether Drayton or Shakespeare wrote first, I cannot discover.

II.i.42 (25,7) [Puck. Thou speak'st aright] I have filled up the verse which I suppose the author left complete,

It seems that in the Fairy mythology Puck, or Hobgoblin, was the trusty servant of Oberon, and always employed to watch or detect the intrigues of Queen Mab, called by Shakespeare Titania. For in Drayton's Nynphidia, the same fairies are engaged in the sane business. Mab has an amour with Pigwiggen; Oberon being jealous, sends Hobgoblin to catch them, and one of Mab's nymphs opposes him by a spell.

II.i.54 (26,8) [And tailor cries] The custom of crying tailor at a sudden fall backwards, I think I remember to have observed. He

that slips beside his chair falls as a taylor squats upon his board. The Oxford editor and Dr. Warburton after him, read and rails or cries, plausibly, but I believe not rightly. Besides, the trick of the fairy is represented as producing rather merriment than anger.

II.i.56 (26,9) [And waxen] And encrease, as the moon waxes.

II.i.58 (26,1) [But room, Faery] All the old copies read—But room Fairy. The word Fairy or Faery, was sometimes of three syllables, as often in Spenser.

II.i.84 (28,5) [paved fountain] A fountain laid round the edge with stone.

II.i.88 (28,6) [the winds, piping] So Milton,

While rocking winds are piping loud.

II.i.91 (28,7) [pelting river] Thus the quarto's: the folio reads petty.

Shakespeare has in Lear the same word, low pelting farms. The meaning is plainly, despicable, mean, sorry, wretched; but as it is a word without any reasonable etymology, I should be glad to dismiss it for petty, yet it is undoubtedly right. We have petty pelting officer in Measure for Measure.

II.i.92 (28,8) [over-born their continents] Born down the banks that contained then. So in Lear,

Close pent guilts Rive their concealing continents.

II.i.98 (29,1) [The nine-men's morris] This was some kind of rural game played in a marked ground. But what it was more I have not found.

II.i.100 (29,2) [The human mortals want their winter here] After all the endeavours of the editors, this passage still remains to me unintelligible. I cannot see why winter is, in the general confusion of the year now described, more wanted than any other season. Dr. Warburton observes that he alludes to our practice of singing carols in December; but though Shakespeare is no great chronologer in his dramas, I think he has never so mingled true and false religion, as to give us reason for believing that he would make the moon incensed for the omission of our carols. I therefore imagine him to have meant heathen rites of adoration. This is not all the difficulty. Titania's account of this calamity is not sufficiently consequential. Men find no winter, therefore they sing no hymns; the moon provoked by this omission, alters the seasons: that is, the alteration of the seasons produces the alteration of the seasons. I am far from supposing that Shakespeare might not sometimes think confusedly, and therefore am not sure that the passage is corrupted. If we should read,

And human mortals want their wonted year,

yet will not this licence of alteration much mend the narrative;

the cause and the effect are still confounded. Let us carry critical temerity a little further. Scaliger transposed the lines of Virgil's Gallus. Why may not the same experiment be ventured upon Shakespeare.

The human mortals want their wonted year, The seasons alter; hoary-headed frosts Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose; And on old Hyems' chin, and icy crown, An od'rous chaplet of sweet summer buds Is, as in mock'ry set. The spring, the summer, The chiding autumn, angry winter, change Their wonted liveries; and the 'mazed world, By their increase, now knows not which is which. No night is now with hymn or carol blest; Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, Pale in her anger, washes all the air; And thorough this distemperature, we see That rheumatick diseases do abound. And this same progeny of evil comes From our debate, from our dissension.

I know not what credit the reader will give to this emendation, which I do not much credit myself.

II.i.114 (31,4) [By their increase] That is, By their produce.

II.i.130 (32,6) [Which she, with pretty and with swimming gate, Following] [cf: follying] The foregoing note is very ingenious, but since follying is a word of which I know not any example, and the Fairy's favourite might, without much licentiousness of language, be said to follow a ship that sailed in the direction of the coast; I think there is no sufficient reason for adopting it. The coinage of new words is a violent remedy, not to be used but in the last necessity.

II.i.157 (35,8) [Cupid all-arm'd] All-armed, does not signify dressed in panoply, but only enforces the word armed, as we might say all-booted. I am afraid that the general sense of alarmed, by which it is used for put into fear or care by whatever cause, is later than our authour.

II.i.220 (38,4) [For that It is not night when I do see your face] This passage is paraphrased from two lines of an ancient poet,

Tu nocte vel atra Lumen, et in solis tu mihi turba locis.

(see 1765, I,118,6)

II.i.251 (39,5) [over-canopy'd with the luscious woodbine] All the old editions have,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine.

On the margin of one of my folio's an unknown hand has written lush woodbine, which, I think, is right.

This hand I have since discovered to be Theobald's, (see 1765, I,119,4)

II.ii. (41,9) [quaint spirits] For this Dr. Warburton reads against all authority,

——quaint sports.——

But Prospero, in The Tempest, applies quaint to Ariel.

II.ii.30 (42.2) [Be it ounce] The ounce is a snail tiger, or tiger-cat. (1773)

II.ii.45 (43,3)

[O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence; Love takes the meaning in love's conference]

[Warburton wished to transpose "innocence" and "conference"] I am by no means convinced of the necessity of this alteration. Lysander in the language of love professes, that as they have one heart, they shall have one bed; this Hernia thinks rather too much, and intreats him to lye further off. Lysander answers,

O take the sense, sweet, of my innocence.

understand the meaning of my innocence, or my innocent meaning. Let no suspicion of ill enter thy mind.

Love takes the meaning, in love's conference.

In the conversation of those who are assured of each other's kindness, not suspicion, but love takes the meaning. No malevolent interpretation is to be made, but all is to be received in the sense which love can find, and which love can dictate.

II.ii.89 (45,6) [my grace] My acceptableness, the favour that I can gain. (1773)

II.ii.120 (46,7) [Reason becomes the marshal to my will] That is, My will now follows reason.

III.i (48,3) In the time of Shakespeare, there were many companies of players, sometimes five at the same time, contending for the favour of the publick. Of these some were undoubtedly very unskilful and very poor, and it is probable that the design of this scene was to ridicule their ignorance, and the odd expedients to which they might be driven by the want of proper decorations. Bottom was perhaps the head of a rival house, and is therefore honoured with an ass's head.

III.i.110 (52,8) [Through bog, through bush, through brake, through bryer] Here are two syllables wanting. Perhaps, it was written,

Through bog, through mire,———-

III.i.116 (52,9) [to make me afeard]

Afeard is from to fear, by the old form of the language, as an hungred, from to hunger. So adry, for thirsty. (1773)

III.i.117 (52,1) [O Bottom! thou art chang'd! what do I see on thee?] It is plain by Bottom's answer, that Snout mentioned an ass's head. Therefore we should read,

Snout. O Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee? An ass's head?

III.i.141 (53,3) [Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note,]

So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape; And thy fair virtue's force

(perforce) [doth move me, On the first view to say, to swear I love thee]

These lines are in one quarto of 1600, the first folio of 1623, the second of 1632, and the third of 1664, &c. ranged in the following order:

Mine ear is much enamour'd of thy note. On the first view to say, to swear, I love thee; So is mine eye enthralled to thy shape, And thy fair virtue's force (perforce) [doth move me.

This reading I have inserted, not that it can suggest any thing better than the order to which the lines have been restored by Mr. Theobald from another quarto, but to shew that some liberty of conjecture must be allowed in the revisal of works so inaccurately printed, and so long neglected.

III.i.173 (55,6) [the fiery glow-worm's eyes] I know not how Shakespeare,who commonly derived his knowledge of nature from his own observation, happened to place the glow-worm's light in his eyes, which is only in his tail.

III.ii.9 (56,l) [patches] Patch was in old language used as a term of opprobry; perhaps with much the some import as we use raggamuffin, or tatterdemalion.

III.ii.17 (56,2) [nowl] A head. Saxon.

III.ii.19 (57,4) [minnock] This is the reading of the old quarto, and I believe right, Minnekin, now minx, is a nice trifling girl. Minnock is apparently a word of contempt.

III.ii.21 (57,5) [sort] Company. So above,

that barren sort;

and in Waller,

A sort of lusty shepherds strive.

III.ii.25 (57,6) [And, at our stamp] This seems to be a vicious reading. Fairies are never represented stamping, or of a size that should give force to a stamp, nor could they have distinguished the stamps of Puck from those of their own companions. I read,

And at a stump here o'er and o'er one falls.

So Drayton,

A pain he in his head-piece feels, Against a stubbed tree he reels, And up went poor hobgoblin's heels; Alas, his brain was dizzy.—— At length upon his feet he gets, Hobgoblin fumes, Hobgoblin frets, And as again he forward sets, And through the bushes scrambles, A stump doth trip him in his pace, Down fell poor Hob upon his face, Among the briers and brambles.

III.ii.30 (58,7) [Some, sleeves; some, hats] There is the like image in Drayton of queen Mab and her fairies flying from Hobgoblin.

Some tore a ruff, and some a gown, 'Gainat one another jostling; They flew about like chaff i' th' wind, For haste some left their masks behind, Some could not stay their gloves to find, There never was such bustling.

III.ii.48 (58,l) [Being o'er shoes in blood] An allusion to the proverb, Over shoes, over boots.

III.ii.70 (59,3) [O brave touch!] Touch in Shakespeare's time was the same with our exploit, or rather stroke. A brave touch, a noble stroke, un grand coup. Mason was very merry, pleasantly playing both with the shrewd touches of many curst boys, and the small discretion of many lewd schoolmasters. Ascham.

III.ii.74 (60,4) [mispris'd] Mistaken; so below misprision is mistake.

III.ii.141 (62,5) [Taurus' snow] Taurus is the name of a range of mountains in Asia.

III.ii.144 (62,7) [seal of bliss!] Be has elsewhere the same image,

But my kisses bring again Seals of love, but seal'd in vain, (rev. 1778, III,74,4)

III.ii.150 (62,8) [join in souls] This is surely wrong. We may read, Join in scorns, or join in scoffs. [Tyrwhitt: join, ill souls] This is a very reasonable conjecture, though I think it is hardly right. (1773)

III.ii.160 (63,9) [extort A poor soul's patience] Harrass, torment.

III.ii.171 (63,1) [My heart with her] We should read,

My heart with her but as guest-wise sojourn'd.

So Prior,

No matter what beauties I saw in my way, They were but my visits, but then not my home. (rev. 1778, III,76,9)

III.ii.188 (64,2) [all yon fiery O's] I would willingly believe that the poet wrote fiery orbs.

III.ii.194 (64,3) [in spight to me] I read, in spite to me.

III.ii.242 (66,2) [such an argument] Such a subject of light merriment.

III.ii.352 (71,1) [so sort] So happen in the issue.

III.ii.367 (71,2) [virtuous property] Salutiferous. So be calls, in the Tempest, poisonous dew, wicked dew.

III.ii.426 (74,5) [buy this dear] i.e. thou shalt dearly pay for this. Though this is sense, and may well enough stand, yet the poet perhaps wrote thou shalt 'by it dear. So in another place, thou shalt aby it. So Milton, How dearly I abide that boust so vain.

IV.i (75,6) I see no reason why the fourth act should begin here, when there seems no interruption of the action. In the old quartos of 1600, there is no division of acts, which seems to have been afterwards arbitrarily made in the first folio, and may therefore be altered at pleasure, (see 1765, I,149,5)

IV.i.2 (75,7) [do coy] To coy is to sooth. Skinner, (rev. 1778, III, 89,6)

IV.i.45 (77,2) [So doth the woodbine, the sweet honey-suckle, Gently entwist] Mr. Upton reads,

So doth the woodrine the sweet honey-suckle,

for bark of the wood. Shakespeare perhaps only meant so, the leaves involve the flower, using woodbine for the plant and honeysuckle for the flower; or perhaps Shakespeare made a blunder, (rev. 1778, III,91,2)

IV.i.107 (81,9) [our observation is perform'd] The honours due to the morning of May. I know not why Shakespear calls this play a Midsummer- Night's Dream, when he so carefully informs us that it happened on the night preceding May day.

IV.i.123 (81,4) [so sanded] So marked with small spots.

IV.i.166 (83,6) [Fair Helena in fancy following me] Fancy is here taken for love or affection, and is opposed to fury, as before.

Sighs and tears poor Fancy's follovers.

Some now call that which a man takes particular delight in his Fancy. Flower-fancier, for a florist, and bird-fancier, for a lover and feeder of birds, are colloquial words.

IV.i.194 (84,6) [And I have found Demetrius like a jewel] [W: gewell] This emendation is ingenious enough to deserve to be true.

IV.i.213 (85,8) [patch'd fool] That is, a fool in a particolour'd coat.

IV.ii.14 (86,2) [a thing of nought] which Mr. Theobald changes with great pomp to a thing of naught, is, a good for nothing thing.

IV.ii.18 (86,3) [made men] In the same sense us in the Tempest, any monster in England makes a man.

V.i.2-22 (88,4)

[More strange than true. I never may believe These antique fables, nor these fairy toys]

These beautiful lines are in all the old editions thrown out of metre. They are very well restored by the later editors.

V.i.26 (89,5) [constancy] Consistency; stability; certainty.

V.i.79 (92,4) [Unless you can find sport in their intents] Thus all the copies. But as I know not what it is to stretch and con an intent, I suspect a line to be lost.

V.i.91 (92,5)

[And what poor duty cannot do, Noble respect takes it in might, not merit.]

The sense of this passage, as it now stands, if it has any sense, is this: What the inability of duty cannot perform, regardful generosity receives as an act of ability, though not of merit. The contrary is rather true: What dutifulness tries to perform without ability, regardful generosity receives as having the merit, though not the power, of complete performance.

We should therefore read,

And what poor duty cannot do, Noble respect takes not in might, but merit.

V.i.147 (95,4) [Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade] Mr. Upton rightly observes, that Shakespeare in this line ridicules the affectation of beginning many words with the same letter. He night have remarked the same of

The raging rocks and shivering shocks.

Gascoigne, contemporary with our poet, remarks and blames the same affectation.

V.i.199 (97,6) [And like Limander am I trusty still] Limander and Helen, are spoken by the blundering player, for Leander and Hero. Shafalus and Procrus, for Cephalus and Procris.

V.i.254 (99,1) [in snuff] An equivocation. Snuff signifies both the cinder of a caudle, and hasty anger.

V.i.379 (104,2) [And the wolf beholds the moon] [W: behowls] The alteration is better than the original reading; but perhaps the author meant only to say, that the wolf gazes at the moon, (see 1765, I,173,2)

V.i.396 (105,4)

[I am sent, with broom, before, To sweep the dust behind the door]

Cleanliness is always necessary to invite the residence and the favour of Fairies.

These make our girls their slutt'ry rue, By pinching them both black and blue. And put a penny in their shoe The house for cleanly sweeping. Drayton.

V.i.398 (105,5) [Through this house give glimmering light] Milton perhaps had this picture in his thought:

Glowing cabers through the room Teach light to counterfeit a gloom. Il Penseroso.

So Drayton:

Hence shadows seeming idle shapes Of little frisking elves and apes, To earth do make their wanton 'scapes As hope of pastime hastes them.

I think it should be read,

Through this house in glimmering light.

V.i.408 (106,6) [Now, until the break of day] This speech, which both the old quartos give to Oberon, is in the edition of 1623, and in all the following, printed as the song. I have restored it to Oberon, as it apparently contains not the blessing which he intends to bestow on the bed, but his declaration that he will bless it, and his orders to the fairies how to perform the necessary rites. But where then is the song?—I am afraid it is gone after many other things of greater value. The truth is that two songs are lost. The series of the scene is this; after the speech of Puck, Oberon enters, and calls his fairies to a song, which song is apparently wanting in all the copies. Next Titania leads another song, which is indeed lost like the former, tho' the editors have endeavoured to find it. Then Oberon dismisses his fairies to the dispatch of the ceremonies.

The songs, I suppose, were lost, because they were not inserted in the players parts, from which the drama was printed.

V.i.440 (107,8) [Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue] That is, If we be dismiss'd without hisses.

V.i.444 (107,9) [Give me your hands] That is, Clap your hands. Give us your applause.

(107,8) General Observation. Of this play there are two editions in quarto; one printed for Thomas Fisher, the other for James Roberts, both in 1600. I have used the copy of Roberts, very carefully collated, as it seems, with that of Fisher. Neither of the editions approach to exactness. Fisher is sometimes preferable, but Roberts was followed, though not without some variations, by Hemings and Condel, and they by all the folios that succeeded them.

Wild and fantastical as this play is, all the parts in their various modes are well written, and give the kind of pleasure which the author designed. Fairies in his time were much in fashion; common tradition had made them familiar, and Spenser's poem had made them great.


I.i.9 (112,2) [Argosies] [a ship from Argo. Pope.] Whether it be derived from Argo I am in doubt. It was a name given in our author's time to ships of great burthen, probably galleons, such as the Spaniards now use in their East India trade. [An Argosie meant originally a ship from Ragusa, a city and territory on the gulph of Venice, tributary to the Porte. Steevens.]

I.i.18 (112,3) [Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind] By holding up the grass, or any light body that will bend by a gentle blast, the direction of the wind is found.

This way I used in shooting. Betwixt the markes was an open place, there I take a fethere, or a lytle grasse, and so learned

how the wind stood. Ascham.

I.i.27 (113,5) [And see my wealthy Andrew dock'd in sand] The name of the ship.

I.i.113 (116,3) [Is that any thing now?] All the old copies read, is that any thing now? I suppose we should read, is that any thing new?

I.i.146 (117,4) [like a wilful youth] [W: witless] Dr. Warburton confounds the time past and present. He has formerly lost his money like a wilful youth, he now borrows more in pure innocence, without disguising his former fault, or his present designs.

I.ii.44 (120,6) [Ay, that's a colt, indeed] Colt is used for a witless, heady, gay youngster, whence the phrase used of an old man too juvenile, that he still retains his colt's tooth. See Hen. VIII.

I.ii.49 (120,7) [there is the Count Palatine] I am always inclined to believe, that Shakespeare has more allusions to particular facts and persons than his readers commonly suppose. The count here mentioned was, perhaps, Albertus a Lasco, a Polish Palatine, who visited England in our author's time, was eagerly caressed, and splendidly entertained; but running in debt, at last stole away, and endeavoured to repair his fortune by enchantment.

I.ii.90 (122,3) [How like you the young German] In Shakespeare's time the duke of Bavaria visited London, and was made knight of the garter.

Perhaps in this enumeration of Portia's suitors, there may be some covert allusion to those of Queen Elizabeth.

I.iii.47 (125,4) [catch him once upon the hip] A phrase taken from the practice of wrestlers.

I.iii.63 (126,5) [the ripe wants of my friend] Ripe wants are wants come to the height, wants that can have no longer delay. Perhaps we might read, rife wants, wants that come thick upon him.

I.iii.100 (127,6)

[ An evil soul, producing holy witness, Is like a villain with a smiling cheek; A goodly apple rotten at the heart. O, what a goodly outside falshood hath?]

I wish any copy would give the authority to range and read the lines thus:

O, what a godly outside falshood hath! An evil soul producing holy witness, Is like a villain with a sailing cheek; Or goodly apply rotten at the heart.

Yet there is no difficulty in the present reading. Falsehood, which as truth means honesty, is taken here for treachery and knavery, does not stand for falshood in general, but for the dishonesty now operating. (1773)

I.iii.156 (129,8) [dwell in my necessity] To dwell seems in this place to mean the same as to continue. To abide has both the senses of habitation and continuance.

I.iii.176 (130,9) [left in the fearful guard] [W: fearless] Dr. Warburton has forgotten that fearful is not only that which fears, but that which is feared or causes fear. Fearful guard, is a guard that is not to be trusted, but gives cause of fear. To fear was anciently to give as well as feel terrours. (see 1765, I,402,4)

I.iii.180 (130,1) [I like not fair terms] Kind words, good language.

II.i.7 (131,2) [To prove whose blood is reddest, his or mine] To understand how the tawney prince, whose savage dignity is very well supported, means to recommend himself by this challenge, it must be remembered that red blood is a traditionary sign of courage: Thus Macbeth calls one of his frighted soldiers, a lilly liver'd Lown; again in this play, Cowards are said to have livers as white as milk; and an effeminate and timorous man is termed a milksop.

II.i.18 (132,4) [And hedg'd me by his will] I suppose we may safely read, and hedg'd me by his will. Confined me by his will.

II.i.25 (132,5) [That slew the Sophy] Shakespeare seldom escapes well when he is entangled with geography. The prince of Morocco must have travelled far to kill the Sophy of Persia.

II.i.42 (133,7) [Therefore be advis'd] Therefore be not precipitant; consider well what we are to do. Advis'd is the word opposite to rash.

II.ii.38 (134,8) [try conclusions]—So the old quarto. The first folio, by a mere blunder, reads, try confusions, which, because it makes a kind of paltry jest, has been copied by all the editors.

II.ii.91 (136,1) [your child that shall be] The distinction between boy and son is obvious, but child seems to have some meaning, which is now lost.

II.ii.166 (138,3) [Well, if any man in Italy have a fairer table, which doth suffer to swear upon a book] Mr. Theobald's note is as obscure as the passage. It may be read more than once before the complication of ignorance can be completely disentangled. Table is the palm expanded. What Mr. Theobald conceives it to be cannot easily be discovered, but he thinks it somewhat that promises a full belly.

Dr. Warburton understood the word, but puzzles himself with no great success in the pursuit of the meaning. The whole matter is this: Launcelot congratulates himself upon his dexterity and good fortune, and, in the height of his rapture, inspects his hand, and congratulates himself upon the felicities in his table. The act of expounding his hand puts him in mind of the action in which the palm is shewn, by raising it to lay it on the book, in judicial attestations. Well, says he, if any man in Italy have a fairer table, that doth offer to swear upon a book——Here he stops with an abruptness very common, and proceeds to particulars.

II.ii.194 (140,5) [Something too liberal] Liberal I have already shewn to be mean, gross, coarse, licentious.

II.ii.205 (141,9) [sad ostent] Grave appearance; shew of staid and serious behaviour. (146,1) [O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly] [W: widgeons] I believe the poet wrote as the editors have printed. How it is so very high humour to call lovers widgeons rather than pigeons. I cannot find. Lovers have in poetry been alway called Turtles, or Doves, which in lower language may be pigeons. (148,3) [a Gentile, and no Jew] A jest rising from the ambiguity of Gentile, which signifies both a Heathen, and one well born.

II.vii.8 (149,4) [This third, dull lead, with warning all as blunt] That is, as gross as the dull metal.

II.vii.69 (151,5) [Gilded tombs do worms infold] In all the old editions this line is written thus:

Gilded timber do worms infold.

From which Mr. Rowe and all the following editors have made

Gilded wood may worms infold.

A line not bad in itself, but not so applicable to the occasion as that which, I believe, Shakespeare wrote,

Gilded tombs do worms infold.

A tomb is the proper repository of a death's-head.

II.vii.72 (151,6) [Your answer had not been inscrol'd] Since there is an answer inscrol'd or written in every casket, I believe for your we should read this. When the words were written y'r and y's, the mistake was easy.

II.vii.79 (151,7) [chuse ce so] The old quarto edition of 1600 has no distribution of acts, but proceeds from the beginning to the end in an unbroken tenour. This play therefore having been probably divided without authority by the publishers of the first folio, lies open to a new regulation, if any more commodious division can be proposed. The story is itself so wildly incredible, and the changes of the scene so frequent and capricious, that the probability of action does not deserve much care; yet it may be proper to observe, that, by concluding the second act here, time is given for Bassanio's passage to Belmont.

II.viii.42 (153,8) [Let it not enter in your mind of love] So all the copies, but I suspect some corruption.

II.viii.52 (153,9) [embraced heaviness] [W: enraced] Of Dr. Warburton's correction it is only necessary to observe, that it has produced a new word, which cannot be received without necessity.

When I thought the passage corrupted, it seemed to me not improbable that Shakespeare had written entranced heaviness, musing, abstracted, moping melancholy. But I know not why any great efforts should be made to change a word which has no uncommodious or unusual sense. We say of a man now, that he hugs his sorrows, and why might not Anthonio embrace heaviness.

II.ix.46 (155,2) [How much low peasantry would then be gleaned From the true seed of honour?] The meaning is, How much meanness would be found among the great, and how much greatness among the mean. But since men are always said to glean corn though they may pick chaff, the sentence had been more agreeable to the common manner of speech if it had been written thus,

_How much low peasantry would then be pick'd From the true seed of_honour? how much honour Glean'd from the chaff?_

II.ix.70 (157,4) [Take what wife you will to-bed] Perhaps the poet had forgotten that he who missed Portia was never to marry any woman.

III.i.47 (160,7) [a bankrupt, a prodigal] There is no need of alteration. There could be, in Shylock's opinion, no prodigality more culpable than such liberality as that by which a man exposes himself to ruin for his friend.

III.ii.21 (163,9) [And so though yours, not yours.—Prove it so] It may be more grammatically read,

And so though yours I'm not yours.

III.ii.54 (165,2) [With no less presence] With the same dignity of mien.

III.ii.73 (166,5) [So may the outward shows] He begins abruptly, the first part of the argument has passed in his mind.

III.ii.76 (166,6) [gracious voice] Pleasing; winning favour.

III.ii.112 (167,9) [In measure rain thy joy] The first quarto edition reads,

In measure range thy joy.

The folio and one of the quartos,

In measure raine thy joy.

I once believ'd Shakespeare meant,

In measure rein thy joy.

The words rain and rein were not in these times distinguished by regular orthography. There is no difficulty in the present reading, only where the copies vary some suspicion of error is always raised, (see 1765, I,437,1)

III.ii.125 (168,1) [Methinks, it should have power to steal both his, And leave itself unfurnish'd] I know not how unfinish'd has intruded without notice into the later editions, as the quartos and folio have unfurnished, which Sir Tho. Banner has received. Perhaps it

might be

And leave himself unfurnish'd.

III.ii.191 (170,4) [you can wish none from me] That is, none away from me; none that I shall lose, if you gain it.

III.v.70 (182,5) [how his words are suited!] I believe the meaning is: What a series or suite of words he has independent of meaning; how one word draws on another without relation to the matter.

IV,i.21 (184,6) [apparent] That is, seeming; not real.

IV.i.22 (184,7) [where] for whereas.

IV.i.29 (184,8) [Enough to press a royal merchant down] This epithet was in our poet's time more striking and better understood, because Gresham was then commonly dignified with the title of the royal merchant.

IV.i.42 (185,1) [I'll not answer that; But, say, it is my humour] [Cf: By saying] Dr. Warburton has mistaken the sense. The Jew being asked a question which the law does not require him to answer, stands upon his right, and refuses; but afterwards gratifies his own malignity by such answers as he knows will aggravate the pain of the enquirer. I will not answer, says he, as to a legal or serious question, but since you want an answer, will this serve you?

IV.i.56 (187,4) [For affection, Masters of passion, sway it to the mood Of what it likes, or loaths]

As for affection, those that know how to operate upon the passions of men, rule it by making it operate in obedience to the notes which please or disgust it. (1773)

[Woollen bag pipe] As all the editors agree with complete uniformity in this reading, I can hardly forbear to imagine that they understood it. But I never saw a woollen bag-pipe, nor can well conceive it. I suppose the authour wrote wooden bag-pipe, meaning that the bag was of leather, and the pipe of wood.

IV.i.90 (189,5) [many a purchas'd slave] This argument considered as used to the particular persons, seems conclusive. I see not how Venetians or Englishmen, while they practise the purchase and sale of slaves, can much enforce or demand the law of doing to others as we would that they should do to us.

IV.i.105 (189,6) [Bellario, a learned doctor, Whom I have sent for] The doctor and the court are here somewhat unskilfully brought together. That the duke would, on such an occasion, consult a doctor of great reputation, is not unlikely, but how should this be forknown by Portia?

IV.i.214 (193,8) [malice bears down truth] Malice oppresses honesty, a true man in old language is an honest man. We now call the

jury good men and true.

IV.i.382 (198,8) [I am content] The terms proposed have been misunderstood. Antonio declares, that as the duke quits one half of the forfeiture, he is likewise content to abate his claim, and desires not the property but the use or produce only of the half, and that only for the Jew's life, unless we read, as perhaps is right, upon my death.

V.i.63 (204,3) [Such harmony is in immortal souls] [W: sounds] This passage is obscure. Immortal sounds is a harsh combination of words, yet Milton uses a parallel expression:

Spiritus & rapidos qui circinat igneus orbes, Nunc quoque sidereis intercinit ipse choreia Immortale melos, & inenarrabile curmen.

It is proper to exhibit the lines as they stand in the copies of the first, second, third, and fourth editions, without any variation, for a change has been silently made, by Rowe, and adopted by all the succeeding editors.

Such harmony is in immortal souls, But while this muddy vesture of decay Doth grosly close in it, we cannot hear it.

That the third is corrupt must be allowed, but it gives reason to suspect that the original was,

Doth grosly close it in.

Yet I know not whether from this any thing better can be produced than the received reading. Perhaps harmony is the power of perceiving harmony, as afterwards, Musick in the soul is the quality of being moved with concord of sweet sounds. This will somewhat explain the old copies, but the sentence is still imperfect; which might be completed by reading,

Such harmony is in th' immortal soul, But while this muddy vesture of decay Doth grosly close it in, we cannot hear it. (1773)

V.i.66 (205,4) [wake Diana with a hymn] Diana is the moon, who is in the next scene represented as sleeping.

V.i.99 (207,6) [Nothing is good, I see, without respect] Not absolutely good, but relatively, good as it is modified by circumstances.

V.i.129 (208,7) [Let me give light] There is scarcely any word with which Shakespeare delights to trifle as with light, in its various significations.

V.i.203 (210,2)

[What man is there so much unreasonable, If you had pleas'd to have defended it With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty To urge the thing held as a ceremony?]

This is a very licentious expression. The sense is, What man could have so little modesty or wanted modesty so much, as to urge the demand of a thing kept on an account in some sort religious. (see 1785, 1,476,7)

V.i.249 (212,4) [I once did lend my body for his wealth] For his advantage; to obtain his happiness. Wealth was, at that time, the term opposite to adversity, or calamity.

V.i.294 (213,5) [Lor. Fair ladies, you drop manna in the way Of starved people] [Shakespeare is not more exact in any thing, than in adapting his images with propriety to his speakers; of which he has here given an instance in making the young Jewess call good fortune, manna. Warburton.] The commentator should have remarked, that this speech is not, even in his own edition, the speech of the Jewess.

V.i.307 (214,6) [Exeunt omnes] It has been lately discovered, that this fable is taken from a story in the Pecorope of Ser Giovauni Fiorentino, a novellist, who wrote in 1378. The story has been published in English, and I have epitomised the translation. The translator is of opinion, that the choice of the caskets is borrowed from a tale of Boccace, which I have likewise abridged, though I believe that Shakespeare must have had some other novel in view.

(223) General Observation. Of The MERCHANT of VENICE the stile is even and easy, with few peculiarities of diction, or anomalies of construction. The comick part raises laughter, and the serious fixes expectation. The probability of either one or the other story cannot be maintained. The union of two actions in one event is in this drama eminently happy. Dryden was much pleased with his own address in connecting the two plots of his Spanish Friar, which yet, I believe, the critick will find excelled by this play.


I.i.3 (229,2) [As I remember, Adam, it was upon this fashion bequeathed me. By will, but a poor thousand crowns] There is, in my opinion, nothing but a point misplaced, and an omission of a word which every hearer can supply, and which therefore an abrupt and eager dialogue naturally excludes.

I read thus: As I remember, Adam, it was on this fashion bequeathed me. By will but a poor thousand crowns; and, as thou sayest, charged my brother on his blessing to breed me well. What is there in this difficult or obscure? The nominative my father is certainly left out, but so left out that the auditor inserts it, in spite of himself.

I.i.9 (230,3) [stays me here at home, unkept] [W: Stys] Sties is better than stays, and more likely to be Shakespeare's.

I.i.19 (230,4) [his countenance seems to take from me] [W: discountenance] There is no need of change, a countenance is either good or bad.

I.i.33 (231,5) [be better employ'd, and be nought a while] Warburton explained ["be nought a while" as "a mischief on you"] If be nought a while has the signification here given it, the reading may certainly stand; but till I learned its meaning from this note, I read,

Be better employed, and be naught a while.

In the same sense as we say, it is better to do mischief, than to do nothing.

I.i.59 (233,7) [I am no villain] The word villain is used by the elder brother, in its present meaning, for a worthless, wicked, or bloody man; by Orlando in its original signification, for a fellow of base extraction.

I.ii.34 (237,9) [mock the good housewife Fortune from her wheel] The wheel of Fortune is not the wheel of a housewife. Shakespeare has confounded Fortune, whose wheel only figures uncertainty and vicissitude, with the Destiny that spins the thread of life, though indeed not with a wheel.

I.ii.87 (239,1)

[Clo. One, that old Frederick your father loves. Cel. My father's love is enough to honour him]

[T. invoking the Dramatis Personae: Celia] Mr. Theobald seems not to know that the Dramatis Personae were first enumerated by Rowe.

I.ii.95 (239,2) [since the little wit that fools have, was silenc'd] Shakespeare probably alludes to the use of fools or jesters, who for some ages had been allowed in all courts an unbridled liberty of censure and mockery, and about this time began to be less tolerated.

I.ii.112 (240,3) [laid on with a trowel] I suppose the meaning is, that there is too heavy a mass of big words laid upon a slight subject.

I.ii.115 (240,4) [You amaze me, ladies] To amaze, here, is not to astonish or strike with wonder, but to perplex; to confuse; as, to put out of the intended narrative.

I.ii.131 (241,5) [With bills on their necks: Be it known unto all men by these presents] This conjecture is ingenious. Where meaning is so very thin, as in this vein of jocularity, it is hard to catch, and therefore I know not well what to determine; but I cannot see why Rosalind should suppose, that the competitors in a wrestling match carried bills on their shoulders, and I believe the whole conceit is in the poor resemblance of presence and presents.

I.ii.149 (241,6) [is there any else longs to see this broken musick in his sides?] [W: set] If any change were necessary, I should write, feel this broken musick, for see. But see is the colloquial term for perception or experiment. So we say every day, see if the water be hot; I will see which is the best time; she has tried, and sees that she cannot lift it. In this sense see may be here used. The sufferer can, with no propriety, be said to set the musick; neither is the allusion to the act of tuning an instrument, or pricking a tune, one of which must be meant by setting musick. Rosalind hints at a whimsical similitude between the series of ribs gradually shortening, and some musical instruments, and therefore calls broken ribs, broken musick.

I.ii.185 (243,8) [If you saw yourself with your eyes, or knew yourself with your judgment] [W: our eyes, and our judgment] I cannot find the absurdity of the present reading. If you were not blinded and intoxicated, says the princess, with the spirit of enterprise, if you could use your own eyes to see, or your own judgment to know yourself, the fear of your adventure would counsel you.

I.ii.195 (243,9) [I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts, wherein I confess me much guilty] I should wish to read, I beseech you, punish me not with your hard thoughts. Therein I confess myself much guilty to deny so fair and excellent ladies any thing.

I.ii.257 (246,1) [one out of suits with Fortune] This seems an allusion to cards, where he that has no more cards to play of any particular sort is out of suit.

I.ii.275 (247,3) [the Duke's condition] The word condition means character, temper, disposition. So Anthonio the merchant of Venice, is called by his friend the best conditioned man.

I.iii.33 (249,5) [you should love his son dearly? By this kind of chase, I should hate him, for my father hated his father dearly] That is, by this way of following the argument. Dear is used by Shakespeare in a double sense, for beloved, and for hurtful, hated, baleful. Both senses are authorised, and both drawn from etymology, but properly beloved is dear, and hateful is dere. Rosalind uses dearly in the good, and Celia in the bad sense.

I.iii.83 (251,6) [And thou wilt show more bright, and seem more virtuous] [W: shine] The plain meaning of the old and true reading is, that when she was seen alone, she would be more noted.

I.iii.98 (251,7) [Rosalind lacks then the love Which teacheth thee that thou and I am one][W: which teacheth me] Either reading may stand. The sense of the established text is not remote or obscure. Where would be the absurdity of saying, You know not the law which teaches you to do right.

I.iii.119 (252,9) [curtle-ax]—curtle-axe. or cutlace. a broad sword.

II.i.13 (254,3)

[Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous Wears yet a precious jewel in his head]

It was the current opinion in Shakespeare's time, that in the head of an old toad was to be found a stone, or pearl, to which great virtues were ascribed. This stone has been often sought, but nothing has been found more than accidental or perhaps morbid indurations of the skull.

II.i.18 (254,4) [I would not change it] Mr. Upton, not without probability, gives these words to the Duke, and makes Amiens begin, Happy is your grace.

II.i.67 (256,6) [to cope him] To encounter him; to engage with him.

II.iii.8 (257,8) [The bony priser] So Milton, Giants of mighty bone.

II.iii.37 (258,9) [diverted blood] Blood turned out of the course of nature.

II.iii.60 (259,1)

[promotion; And, having that, do choak their service up Even with the having]

Even with the promotion gained by service is service extinguished.

II.iv.33 (261,4) [If thou remember'st not the slightest folly] I am inclined to believe that from this passage Suckling took the hint of his song.

Honest lover, whosoever, If in all thy love there ever Were one wav'ring thought, thy flame Were not even, still the same. Know this Thou lov'st amiss, And to love true Thou must begin again and love anew, &c. (rev. 1778, III,297,4)

II.iv.48 (262,5) [batlet] The instrument with which washers beat their coarse cloaths.

II.iv.51 (262,6) [two cods] For cods it would be more like sense to read peas, which having the shape of pearls, resembled the common presents of lovers.

II.iv.55 (262,7) [so is all nature in love, mortal in folly] This expression I do not well understand. In the middle counties, mortal, from mort, a great quantity, is used as a particle of amplification; as mortal tall, mortal little. Of this sense I believe Shakespeare takes advantage to produce one of his darling equivocations. Thus the meaning will be, so is all nature in love abounding in folly.

II.iv.87 (263,8) [And in my voice most welcome shall ye be] In my voice, as far as I have a voice or vote, as far as I have power to bid you welcome.

II.v.56 (265,2) [Duc ad me] For ducdame sir T. Hammer, very acutely and judiciously, reads duc ad me. That is, bring him to me.

II.v.63 (266,3) [the first-born of Egypt] A proverbial expression for high-born persons. (1773)

II.vii.13 (267,4) [A motley fool!—a miserable world.'] [W: miserable varlet] I see no need of changing fool to varlet, nor, if a change were necessary, can I guess how it should certainly be known that varlet is the true word. A miserable world is a parenthetical exclamation, frequent among melancholy men, and natural to Jaques at the sight of a fool, or at the hearing of reflections on the fragility of life.

II.vii.44 (268,5) [only suit] Suit means petition. I believe, not dress.

II.vii.55 (269,7)

[If not, The wise man's folly is anatomiz'd Even by the squandring glances of the fool]

Unless men have the prudence not to appear touched with the sarcasm of a jester, they subject themselves to his power, and the wise man will have his folly anatomised, that is dissected and laid open by the squandring glances or random shots of a fool.

II.vii.66 (269,8) [As sensual as the brutish sting] Though the brutish sting is capable of a sense not inconvenient in this passage, yet as it is a harsh and unusual mode of speech, I should read the brutish sty.

II.vii.04 (270,9)

[The thorny point Of bare distress hath ta'en from me the shew Of smooth civility]

We might read torn with more elegance, but elegance alone will not justify alteration.

II.vii.125 (271,1) [And take upon command what help we have] It seems necessary to read, then take upon demand what help, &c. that is, ask for what we can supply, and have it.

II.vii.156 (272,3) [Full of wise saws and modern instances] I am in doubt whether modern is in this place used for absurd; the meaning seems to be, that the justice is full of old sayings and late examples.

II.vii.167 (273,5) [Set down your venerable burden] Is it not likely that Shakespeare had in his mind this line of the Metamorphoses?

Patremque Fert humeris, venerabile onus Cythereius heros.

II.vii.177 (274,5)

[Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen]

[W: art not sheen] I am afraid that no reader is satisfied with Dr. Warburton's emendation, however vigorously enforced; and it is indeed enforced with more art than truth. Sheen, i.e. smiling, shining. That sheen signifies shining, is easily proved, but when or where did it signify smiling? yet smiling gives the sense necessary in this place. Sir T. Banner's change is less uncouth, but too remote from the present text. For my part, I question whether the original line is not lost, and this substituted merely to fill up the measures and the rhyme. Yet even out of this line, by strong agitation may sense be elicited, and sense not unsuitable to the occasion. Thou winter wind, says the Duke, thy rudeness gives the less pain, as thou art not seen, as thou art an enemy that dost not brave us with thy presence, and whose unkindness is therefore not aggravated by insult.

II.vii.187 (275,6) [Tho' thou the waters warp] To warp was probably, in Shakespeare's time, a colloquial word, which conveyed no distant allusion to any thing else, physical or medicinal. To warp is to turn, and to turn is to change; when milk is changed by curdling, we now say, it is turned; when water is changed or turned by frost, Shakespeare says, it is curdled. To be warp'd is only to be changed from its natural state. (1773)

III.i.3 (276,7) [an absent argument] An argument is used for the contents of a book, thence Shakespeare considered it as meaning the subject, and then used it for subject in yet another sense.

III.i.18 (277,8) [Do this expediently] That is, expeditiously.

III.ii.2 (277,9) [thrice-crowned queen of night] Alluding to the triple character of Proserpine, Cynthia, and Diana, given by some mythologists to the same Goddess, and comprised in these memorial lines:

Terret, lustrat, agit, Proserpina, Luna, Diana, Ima, superna, feras, sceptro, fuljore, sagittis.

III.ii.10 (277,1) [unexpressive] for inexpressible.

III.ii.31 (278,2) [complain of good breeding] I am in doubt whether the custom of the language in Shakespeare's time did not authorise this mode of speech, and make complain of good breeding the same with complain of the want of good breeding. In the last line of the Merchant of Venice we find that to fear the keeping is to fear the not keeping.

III.ii.39 (279,5) [Truly, then art damn'd, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side] Of this jest I do not fully comprehend the meaning.

III.ii.85 (281,1) [bawd to a bell-wether] Wether and ram had anciently the same meaning.

III.ii.135 (282,1)

[Tongues I'll hang on every tree, That shall civil sayings show]

Civil is here used in the same sense as when we say civil wisdom or civil life, in opposition to a solitary state, or to the state of nature. This desert shall not appear unpeopled, for every tree shall teach the maxims or incidents of social life.

III.ii.149 (283,2) [Therefore heaven nature charg'd] From the picture of Apelles, or the accomplishments of Pandora.

[Greek: Aeanertu, oti pautei dlumpia Dorou xdorau.—————-]

So before, —————————-But thou So perfect, and no peerless art created Of ev'ry creature's beat. Tempest.

Perhaps from this passage Swift had his hint of Biddy Floyd.

III.ii.155 (283,3) [Atalanta's better part] I know not well what could be the better part of Atalanta here ascribed to Rosalind. Of the Atalanta most celebrated, and who therefore must be intended here where she has no epithet of discrimination, the better part seems to have been her heels, and the worse part was so bad that Rosalind would not thank her lover for the comparison. There is a more obscure Atalanta, a huntress and a heroine, but of her nothing bad is recorded, and therefore I know not which was the better part. Shakespeare was no despicable mythologist, yet he seems here to have mistaken some other character for that of Atalanta.

III.ii.156 (283,4) [Sad] is grave, sober, not light.

III.ii.160 (284,5) [the touches] The features; les traits.

III.ii.186 (284,6) [I was never so be-rhimed since Pythagoras's time, that I was an Irish rat] Rosalind is a very learned lady. She alludes to the Pythagorean doctrine, which teaches that souls transmigrate from one animal to another, and relates that in his time she was an Irish rat, and by some metrical charm was rhymed to death. The power of killing rats with rhymes Donne mentions in his Satires, and Temple in his Treatises. Dr. Gray has produced a similar passage from Randolph.

My poets Shall with a saytire steeped in vinegar Rhyme then to death as they do rats in Ireland.

III.ii.206 (285,8) [One inch of delay more is a South-sea of discovery] This sentence is rightly noted by the commentator [W] as nonsense, but not so happily restored to sense. I read thus:

One inch of delay more is a South-sea. Discover, I pr'ythee; tell me who is it quickly;—When the transcriber had once made discovery from discover, I, he easily put an article after South-sea.

But it may be read with still less change, and with equal probability. Every inch of delay more is a South-sea discovery: Every delay, however short, is to me tedious and irksome as the longest voyage, as a voyage of discovery on the South-sea. How such voyages to the South-sea, on which the English had then first ventured, engaged the conversation of that time, may be easily imagined.

III.ii.238 (287,9) [Garagantna's mouth] Rosalind requires nine questions to be answered in one word. Celia tells her that a word of such magnitude is too big for any mouth but that of Garagantua the giant of Rabelais.

III.ii.290 (288,2) [but I answer you right painted cloth] Sir T. Hammer reads, _I answer you right_, in the stile of the _painted cloth. Something seems wanting, and I know not what can be proposed better. _I answer you right painted cloth_, may mean, I give you a true painted cloth answer; as we say, she talks _right Billingsgate_; that is, exactly such language as is used at Billingsgate. (1773)

III.ii.363 (291,3) [in-land man] Is used in this play for one civilised, in opposition to the rustick of the priest. So Orlando before—Yet am I in-land bred, and know some nurture.

III.ii.393 (291,4) [an unquestionable spirit] That is, a spirit not inquisitive, a mind indifferent to common objects, and negligent of common occurrences. Here Shakespeare has used a passive for an active mode of speech; so in a former scene, The Duke is too disputable for me, that is, too disputatious.

III.ii.439 (293,5) [to a living humour of madness] If this be the true reading we must by living understand lasting, or permanent, but I cannot forbear to think that some antithesis was intended which is now lost; perhaps the passage stood thus, I drove my suitor from a dying humour of love to a living humour of madness. Or rather thus, from a mad humour of love to a loving humour of madness, that is, from a madness that was love, to a love that was madness. This seems somewhat harsh and strained, but such modes of speech are not unusual in our poet; and this harshness was probably the cause of the corruption.

III.iii.21 (294,7) [and what they swear in poetry, may be said, as lovers, they do feign] This sentence seems perplexed and inconsequent, perhaps it were better read thus, What they swear as lovers they may be said to feign as poets.

III.iii.32 (295,8) [A material fool!] A fool with matter in bin; a fool stocked with notions.

III.iii.51 (295,1) [what tho?] What then.

III.iii.65 (296,2) [Sir Oliver] He that has taken his first degree at the university, is in the academical style called Dominus, and in common language was heretofore termed Sir. This was not always a word of contempt; the graduates assumed it in their own writings; so Trevisa the historian writes himself Syr John de Trevisa.

III.iii.101 (297,4) [Not, O sweet Oliver] Of this speech, as it now appears, I can make nothing, and think nothing can be made. In the same breath he calls his mistress to be married, and sends away the man that should marry them. Dr. Warburton has very happily observed, that O sweet Oliver is a quotation from an old song; I believe there are two quotations put in opposition to each other. For wind I read wend, the old word for go. Perhaps the whole passage may be regulated thus,

Clo. I am not in the mind. but it were better for me to be married of him than of another, for he is not like to marry me well, and not being well married, it will be a good excuse for me hereafter to leave my wife—Come, sweet Audrey, we must be married, or we must live in bawdry.

Jaq. Go then with me, and let me counsel thee. [they whisper.]

Clo. Farewel, good sir Oliver, not O sweet Oliver, O brave Oliver, leave Be not behind thee,—but

Wend away Begone, I say, I will not to wedding with thee to-day.

Of this conjecture the reader may take as much as shall appear necessary to the sense, or conducive to the humour. I have received all but the additional words. The song seems to be complete without them. (1773)

III.iv.11 (298, 5) [I' faith, his hair is of a good colour] There is much of nature in this petty perverseness of Rosalind; she finds faults in her lover, in hope to be contradicted, and when Celia in sportive malice too readily seconds her accusations, she contradicts herself rather than suffer her favourite to want a vindication.

III.v.5 (301, 1) [Will you sterner be Than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?] [W: deals and lives] [Hammer: lives and thrives] Either Dr. Warburton's emendation, except that the word deals, wants its proper construction, or that of sir T. Hammer may serve the purpose; but I believe they have fixed corruption upon the wrong word, and should rather read,

Than he that dies his lips by bloody drops?

Will you speak with more sternness than the executioner, whose lips are used to be sprinkled with blood? The mention of drops implies some part that must be sprinkled rather than dipped.

III. v. 23 (303, 2) [The cicatrice and capable impressure] Cicatrice is here not very properly used; it is the scar of a wound. Capable impressure arrows mark.

III. v. 29 (303, 3) [power of fancy] Fancy is here used for love, as before in Midsummer Night's Dream.

III. v. 35 (304, 4) [Who might be your mother] It is common for the poets to express cruelty by saying, of those who commit it, that they were born of rocks, or suckled by tigresses.

III. v. 48 (305, 8) [That can entame ay spirits to your worship] [W: entraine] The common reading seems unexceptionable.

III. v. 62 (305, 9) [Foal is most foul, being foul to be a scoffer] [W: being found] The sense of the received reading is not fairly represented; it is, The ugly seem most ugly, when, though ugly, they are scoffers.

III.v.78 (306,2) [Though all the world could see, None could be so abus'd in sight, as he] Though all mankind could look on you, none could be so deceived as to think you beautiful but he.

IV.i.37 (309,3) [swam in a gondola] That is, been at Venice, the sweat at that tine of all licentiousness, where the young English gentlemen waited their fortunes, debased their morals, and sometimes lost their religion.

The fashion of travelling, which prevailed very much in our author's time, was considered by the wiser men as one of the principal causes of corrupt manners. It was therefore gravely censored by Aschaa in his Schoolmaster, and by bishop Hall in his Quo Vadis; and is here, and in other passages, ridiculed by Shakespeare.

IV.i.157 (312,6) [and that when you are inclin'd to sleep] [W: to weep] I know not why we should read to weep. I believe most men would be more angry to have their sleep hindered than their grief interrupted.

IV.i.168 (313,8) [Wit, whither wilt?] This must be some allusion to a story well known at that time, though not perhaps irretrievable.

IV.i.177 (313,9) [make her fault her husband's occasion] That is, represent her fault as occasioned by her husband. Sir T. Banner reads, her husband's accusation.

IV.i.195 (314,1) [I will think you the most pathetical break-promise] [W: atheistical] I do not see but that pathetical may stand, which seems to afford as much sense and as much humour as atheistical.

IV.ii.14 (315,2) [Take thou no scorn] [T: In former editions: Then sing him home, the rest shall bear his burden. This is an admirable instance of the sagacity of our preceding editors, to say nothing worse. One should expect, when they were poets, they would at least have taken care of the rhimes, and not foisted in what has nothing to answer it. Now, where is the rhime to, the rest shall bear this burden? Or, to ask another question, where is the sense of it? Does the poet mean, that He, that kill'd the deer, shall be sung home, and the rest shall bear the deer on their backs? This is laying a burden on the poet, that we mist help him to throw off. In short, the mystery of the whole is, that a marginal note is wisely thrust into the text: the song being design'd to be sung by a single voice, and the stanzas to close with a burden to be sung by the whole company.] This note I have given as a specimen of Mr. Theobald's jocularity, and the eloquence with which he recommends his emendations.

IV.iii (316,4) [Enter Rosalind and Celia] The foregoing noisy scene was introduced only to fill up an interval, which is to represent two hours. This contraction of the time we might impute to poor Rosalind's impatience, but that a few minutes after we find Orlando sending his excuse. I do not see that by any probable division of the acts this absurdity can be obviated.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5     Next Part
Home - Random Browse