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The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
barrassment to the knitter or weaver. Heath.
Drayton, a poet of Shakspeare's age, bas likewise alluded to bleaved or ravelled silk, in his Quest of Cyntbia:
“ At length I on a fountain light,
“ With grass, like sleave, was matted.” Langton. Sleave is properly silk which has not been twisted. It is mentioned in Holinshed's History of England, p. 835: “ Eight wild men all apparelled in green moss made with sleved silk. Again, in The Muses' Elizium, by Drayton:
thrumb’d with grass “ As soft as sleave or sarcenet ever was.” Again, ibid:
“ That in the handling feels as soft, as any sleave.” Steedena. Sleave appears to have signified course, soft, unwrought silk. Seta grossolana, Ital. Cotgrave, in his Dicr. 1660, renders soye fosche, “ sleave silk." See also, ibid: “ Cadarce, pour faire capiton. The tow, or coarsest part of silke, whereof sleave is made."--In Troilus and Cressida we have—“ Thou idle immaterial skein of sleave silk." Malone.
Ravellet means entangled. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Thurio says to Proteus, speaking of Sylvia
“ Therefore as you unwind her love from him,
“ You must provide to bottom it on me.” M. Mason. 5 The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, &c.] In this encomium upon sleep, amongst the many appellations which are given it, significant of its beneficence and friendliness to life, we find one which conveys a different idea, and by no means agrees with the rest, which is- The death of each day's life. I make no question but Shakspeare wrote
The birth of euch da;'s life. The true characteristick of sleep, which repairs the decays of labour, and assists that returning vigour which supplies the next day's activity. Warburton.
The leath of each ila;'s life, means the end of each day's labour, the conclusion of all that bustle and fatigue that each day's life brings with it. Thus also Chapman, in his version of the nineteenth Iliad:
“ But none can live without the death of sleep.” Steevens. Sleep, that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care, 7'be vleuth of euch day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds,] Is it not probable that Shakspeare re. membered the following verses in Sir Plulip Sydney's Astropbel ard Stelle, a poem, from which he has quoted a live in The Merry Wives of Windsor.?
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
What do you mean!
“Come sleepe, O sleepe, the certain knot of peace,
man's wealth, the prisoner's release, “The indifferent judge between the high and low." So also, in The famous Historie of George Lord Fauconbridge, kc. bl. l. “ Yet sleep, the comforter of distressed minds, could not lock up her eyes
Again, in Golding's translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses, B. VIII, 1587 :
At such a time as folkes are wont to find release • Of cares that all the day before were working in their
heds, “ By sleep,” &c. Again, ibid. B. XI: “O sleepe, quoth she, the rest of things, O gentlest of
the goddes, “ Sweete sleepe, the peace of mind, with whom crookt
care is aye at odds ; * Which cherishest men's weary limbs appallid with
toyling sore, " And makest them as fresh to worke, and lustie es
before.” The late Mr. Gray had perhaps our author's “ deatb of each ilay's life” in his thoughts, when he wrote
“The curfew tolls the knell of parting day," Malone. He might as probably have thought on the following passage in the first scene of The Second Part of King Henry IV:
-a sullen bell
“Remember'd knolling a departed friend.” Steevens. & Chief nourisher in life's feast;] So, in Chaucer's Squiere's Tale, v. 10,661; Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition :
“ The norice of digestion, the sleepe.” Steevens. Glamis batb murder'd sleep; and therefore Cawdor
Sball sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more.'] This triple menace, accommodated to the different titles of Macbeth, is too quaint to be received as the natural ebullition of a guilty mind. Introduce the adjuncts of a modern nobleman in the same manner, and the fault of the passage will become yet more conspicuous: as for instance
Norfolk bath murder'd sleep; and therefore Surrey
Lady M. Who was it, that thus cried? Why, wor.
I 'll gò no more:
Infirm of purpose!
Whence is that knocking! How is 't with me, when every noise appals me? What hands are here? Ha! they pluck out mine eyes! Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
'tis the eye of childhood, That fears a painted devil.) So, in Vittoria Coroinbona, 1612:
Terrify babes, my lord, with painted devils.” Steevens,
gild the faces of the grooms withil, For it must seem their guilt.] Could Shakspeare meant to play upon the similitude of gild and guilt? Fohnson.
This quibble too frequently occurs in the oid plays. A few instances (for I could produce a dozen at least) may suffice:
“ Cand. You have a silver beaker of my wife's?
“ And being gilt, the guilt lies more on you." Again, in Middleton's comedy of A mad World my Masters, 1608:
Though guilt condemns, 'tis gilt must make its glad." And, lastly, from Shakspeare himself:
“ England skiall double gild his treble guilt.” Henry IV. P. II. Again, in King Henry V :
“ Have for the gilt of France, O guilt indeed!” Steevens. 1 Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood &c,] “ Suscipit, ô Gelli, quantum non ultima Teibys, “ Nec genitor nympharum abluit oceanus.”
Catullus in Gellium,. 83.
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnardine,
« Οίμαι γαρ έτ αν "Ιστρον ε' τε Φάσιν αν
“ Tantum expiarit sceleris! Senec. Hippol, Again, in one of Hall's Satires:
“ If Trent or Thames-.” &c. Steevens.
Lucret. L. VI, v. 1074. H. White. So, in The Insatiate Countess, by Marston, 1613:
“ Although the waves of all the northern sea
“ Yet the sanguinolent stain would extant be.” Malone. 2 Tbe multitudinous seas incarnardine,] To incarnardine is to stain any thing of a flesh colour, or red. Carnardine is the old term for carnation. So, in a comedy called Any Thing for a quiet Life:
“ Grograms, sattins, velvet fine,
Steevens. Shakspeare's word may be exemplified from Carew's Obsequies to the Lady Anne Hay:
“ One shall ensphere thine eyes; another shall
“ Thy rosy cheek” Wakefield. By the multitudinous seas, perhaps, the poet meant, not the seas of every denomination, as the Caspian, &c. (as some have thought) nor the many coloured seas, (as others contend) but the seas wbich swarm with myriads of inhabitants. Thus Homer:
* Ποντον επ' ΙΧΘΥΟΕΝΤΑ φιλων απανευθε φερεσιν.” The word is used by Ben Jonson, and by Thomas Decker, in The Wonderful Year, 1603, in which we find the multitudinous spawn.” It is objected, by Mr Kenrick, that Macbeth, in his present disposition of mind, would hardly have adverted to a property of the sea, which has so little relation to the object immediately before him; and if Macbeth had really spoken this speech in his castle of Inverness, the remark would be just. But the critick should have remembered, that this speech is not the real effusion of a distempered mind, but the composition of Shakspeare; of that poet, who has put a circumstantial account of an apothecary's shop into the mouth of Romeo, the moment after he has heard the fatal news of his belo ruliet
Making the green-one red.3
death; and has made Othello, when in the anguish of his heart he determines to kill his wife, digress from the object which agitates his soul, to describe minutely the course of the Pontick
Mr. Steevens objects, in the following note, to this explanation, thinking it more probable that Shakspeare should refer “ to some visible quality in the ocean,” than “ to its concealed inhabitants;" “ to the waters that might admit of discoloration," than “ to the fishes whose hue could suffer no change from the tinct of blood.” But in what page of our author do we find his allusions thus curiously rounded, and complete in all their parts? Or, rather, does not every page of these volumes furnish us with images, crouded on each other, that are not naturally connected, and sometimes are even discordant? Hamlet's pro. posing to take up arms against a sea of troubles is a well-known example of this kind, and twenty others might be produced. Our author certainly alludes to the waters, which are capable of discoloration, and not to the fishes. His allusion to the waters is expressed by the word seas; to which, if he has ad. ded an epithet that has no very close connexion 'with the sub. ject immediately before him, he has only followed his usual practice.
If, however, no allusion was intended to the myriads of inhabitants with which the deep is peopled, I believe, by the multitu. dinous seas, was meant, not the many-waved ocean, as is suggested, but the countless masses of waters wberever dispersed on the surface of the globe; the multitudes of seus, as Heywood has it, in a passage quoted below, that perha is our author remem. bered : and, indeed, it must be owned, that his having the plu. ral, seas, seems to countenance such an interpretation; for the singular, sea, is equally suited to the epithet multitudinous, in the sense of Queelta, and would certainly have corresponded better with the subsequent line. Malone.
I believe that Shakspeare referred to some visible quality in the ocean, rather than to its concealed inhabitants; to the waters that might admit of discoloration, and not to the fishes, whose hue could suffer no change from the tinct of blood. Waves appearing over waves are no unapt symbol of a croud. “A sea of heads” is a phrase employed by one of our ligitimate poets, but by which of them I do not at present recollect. Blackmore, in his Fob, has swelled the same idea to a ridiculous bulk:
" A waving sea of heads was round me spread,
“ And still fresh streams the gazing deluge fed." He who beholds an audience from the stage, or any other mul. titude gazing on any particular object, must perceive that their heads are raised over each other, velut unda supervenit undam. If, therefore, our author, by the < multitudinous sea” does not