« PreviousContinue »
The text of this edition is, in the main, that of Gifford, as amended by Dyce.
The heavy figures refer to the pages of the text; the lighter figures to the lines.
Of the first appearance or of the success of the play, there is no extant account. The title-page of the original quarto is given in substance below:
By the KING'S Majefties Seruants
The motto, Fide Honor, appears on several other of Ford's title-pages. It is an anagram of his own name as he sometimes spelled it, John Forde.
The tragedy was dedicated to " the most worthy deserver of the noblest titles in honour, William, Lord Craven, Baron of Hampsted-Marshall." This nobleman who, according to Gifford, is '' now chiefly remembered for his romantic attachment to the Queen of Bohemia, daughter of James I.," was born in 1609, gained considerable renown for his military exploits while yet a youth, and having been closely attached to three monarchs, Charles I., Charles II., and James II., died an earl at the advanced age of eighty-eight years.
3. Ford, not always seen to an advantage in prologue or epilogue writing, is here at his best.
3! II. Commerce. The common Elizabethan accent. One of the rules for accentuation then followed is thus laid down by Ben Jonson: "All verbs (and nouns derived from them) coming from the Latin, either of the supine or otherwise, hold the accent as it is found in the first person present of those Latin verbs."
3:15. Fiction. The quarto reads a fiction.
4. The following quaint characterization of the various personages in the play is used by Ford in the original edition. He calls it: "The Speaker's names, fitted to their Qualities."
Amyclas, Common to the Kings of Laconia.
Ithocles, Honour of Loveliness.
Armostes, an Appeaser.
Nearchus, Young Prince.
Calantha, Flower of Beauty.
Philema, a Kiss.
Grausis, Old Beldam.
Persons included. Thrasus, Fierceness. Aplotes, Simplicity.
5. The opening scene between Orgilus and his father, Crotolon, is admirable, in that we have set before us at the very outset the relation that so many of the principal actors in the drama bear toward one another.
5:8. Areopagite. "Member of the highest judicial court at Athens. Its sessions were held on Mars'Hill." (Webster.)
6:18. Broached. Let out, give vent to. The quarto has brauch't which Weber erroneously renders "transfixed."
6: 29. Converse. See 3:11.
7:65. Resolve. Is determined, convinced.
7: 67. Sort. Come about, fall out.
I am glad that all things sort so well.
Much Ado about Nothing. V. iv. 7.
8:87. Compare with Laertes' advice to Ophelia: Hamlet, Act I. sc. iii. Of this interview between brother and sister Gifford says: '' Orgilus seems to entertain some suspicion of Ithocles; but the exaction of such a promise appears not altogether consistent in one who had just been describing the misery of his own sufferings from the power and influence of a brother."
9:109. Contents. Contentedness, satisfaction.
10:118. Change fresh airs. Orgilus evidently does not believe in " change of air " as a cure for mental illness.
11:35. Ithocles, as he appears in the play, is hardly the man the words of Orgilus in the opening scene would lead us to expect. Experience seems to have tempered his ambition, and while he is still self-centered and masterful, it is clear that regret for his '' pride of power" has effected a change for the better in his character.
13: 66. Provincial garland. A wreath of honor which the ancients bestowed upon those who added a province to the empire. 13 • 83. Voicing. Proc
14:89. Fit slights. Trifling, slight services, referred to in befittingly humble terms. Ithocles here shows a modesty that is scarcely anticipated after Orgilus' description of him.
16: 134. Thrum. Weave. Thrum literally is the tufted end of weavers' threads.
u O Fates, come, come, cut thread and thrum."
Midsummer Nights Dream, V. 291.
17:1. Compare Tecnicus with Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet.
17: 6. Aspect. See 3:11.
19:52. Niceness. Prudishness: viz., " in starting trivial and unimportant objections." (Gifford.)
21:92. Tenters. A frame with hooks for stretching and drying cloth that has been wet or dyed.
21: 97. Oratory. Study.
21:102. Orgilus puts on this fantastic air to avert suspicion. His words are not a bad satire upon the sometimes ingenious but always over-wrought speeches of the euphuists of Elizabeth's day. See Osric, Hamlet, Act V. sc. ii.
22:116. Mew. "A term of the schools, used when false conclusions are illogically deduced from an opponent's premises," (Gifford.)
22:125. Grammates. This may be a sneering term referring to grammar. Taste the grammates would seem to mean 1' get the slightest knowledge of the simplest facts."
25 : I. It is quite possible that by exaggerating the infirmity of Bassanes Ford thought to throw the patience, purity, and lovelyness of Penthea into stronger relief. We can excuse the dramatist for the coarse language which he puts into the mouth of the jealous husband, knowing how the standards of our time and those of the seventeeth century differ, but we can hardly overlook the sudden and wholly unexpected change which, a little later, comes over this ridiculous and revolting character. The sudden transformation from absurd jealousy to doting fondness is scarcely conceivable.
25 : 12. Springal. Youth.
26:26. Cull. Embrace.
26:45. Mewed. Shed, moulted. A falconer's term. 27 : 69. Pearls. A dissyllable.
29:113. Goodly gear. Matter.
Here's goodly gear.
Romeo and Juliet, II. iv. 107.
30:125. Collops. Small pieces of flesh. 30:129. Caroches. Coaches.
31:134. Tympany. From the Greek word meaning kettledrum. It is here used to signify a sense of confusion.
31: 148. Railed at the sins. The original reading which was changed by Gifford to " saints," and thus retained by Dyce.
32 : 3. Seeled dove. A dove that has been blinded by sewing the eyelids. This wanton inhumanity was once regarded as sport. The dove, as described in the text, would, on being loosed, soar upward until exhausted, and then fall lifeless to the earth.
32: 12. It physics not, etc.. Compare with Macbeth, V. iv. 40.
33: 22. Meat. Gifford conjectures " bait."
34:52. Extremes. The quarto reads "extremities."
34:55. Current. An expression common with the old dramatists. So above, Act I. scene ii. line 84.
35 : 80. Demur. Delay.
37:118. Whoreson. An adjective applied not only to persons, but to anything, as a term of reproach or dislike.
38: 5. This line is slightly corrupted. Weber reads: To such alacrity as once his nature.
39:20. It is impossible for Orgilus to disguise his admiration and passion even under the affected language of the schoolmen. Penthea, however, is not suspicious of his identity, attributing his words not to any subtle intention, but rather to wild vagary. Her whole attitude throughout this trying interview is one that commands the highest admiration, and awakens the deepest pity as well. Torn as her bosom is with conflicting emotions, it is the wife, to whom honor above all else is sacred, who speaks in every word.
39: 30. On Vesta's altars. A badly mutilated passage amended by Gifford. The original is hopelessly confused, as will be seen by the following:
"As the incense smoking