Page images
PDF
EPUB

Milton seems to have been thinking of this passage in Comus.

“ Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould “ Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment ? “Sure something holy lodges in that breast,” &c.

[merged small][ocr errors]

57. You have taken it wiselier than I meant.

An adverb declined into the comparative adjective; as, again, in A Midsummer Night's Dream : “ And earthlier happy is the rose distill’d,” &c. 57. You've paid."

Mr. Malone's note appears to me ingeniously absurd. If you're paid be the true reading, the words must (as Mr. Mason has remarked,) be given to Sebastian; and this I think not improbable.

LORD CHEDWORTH.

75.

Twenty consciences, That stand 'twixt me and Milan, candied

be they, And melt, ere they molest." Away with all such objections as conscience can oppose; let them be made of such perishable or dissoluble stuff as candy, and melt sooner than molest or hinder me.

SCENE II.

84. Misery acquaints a man with strange

bedfellows.”
A similar reflection occurs in King Lear:

“ The art of our necessities is strange
“ That can make vile things precious.”

ACT III. SCENE I.

96.

Created Of every creature's best.I perceive no reason to dissent from Dr. Johnson's conjecture that this is an allusion to the picture of Venus by Apelles. Creature is still used in Ireland, absolutely without an epithet, as a term of endearment for a woman.

[blocks in formation]

I thought it had been a common custom to join hands on making a bargain : by notes like this of Mr. Henley's, a book may be swelled to any size that will suit the editor's purpose.

LORD CHEDWORTH.

104. What a pied ninny's this.

Mr. Steevens is right; Mr. Malone's remark is true, but there is no occasion to have recourse to it in the present instance; it is going out of the way to fix an impropriety on the poet who has improprieties enough of his own to answer for, without being loaded with those which are made by the ingenuity of his commentators.

LORD CHEDWORTH.

107.

I ne'er saw woman, But only Sycorax, my dam, and she.As it does not appear that the poet intended to make Caliban violate grammar, she ought, at once, in the text, to be altered to her. Calls her a nonpareil ; I ne'er a woman.

It is of little consequence whether the article a, in this line, be rejected or retained; the redundancy in the last syllable (admitted in dramatic verse) is, in either case, the same. “ Calls her a nonpareil ; I ne'er saw ă wom-an.” 117. -The elements,

Of whom your swords are temper'd, may

as well Wound the loud wind, or with bemock’d

at stabs Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish

One dowle that's in my plume.This thought occurs in Macbeth. As easy may'st thou the entrenchant air, “With thy keen sword, impress, as make me

bleed.”

And Milton uses it, in Paradise Lost, Book 6.

Spirits that live thro'out,
“ Vital in every part, not as frail man,

“ Cannot, but by annihilation, die:

Nor, in their liquid texture, mortal wound
Receive, no more than can the fluid air."

The personal pronoun “ whom,” instead of the natural neuter which, is not accordant with English idiom. 119.

So, with good life, And observation strange, my meaner

ministers Their several kinds have done.There seems to be a great deal of superfluous comment here :--the sense, I believe, is plainly this. Those meaner ministers have performed their duty with spirit, and an admirable attention to their distinct offices.

[ocr errors]

120. - I leave them, whilst I visit

Young Ferdinand, (whom they suppose

is drown'd.)” Strange, that any editor should overlook so barbarous a breach of grammar as this; and yet it has polluted the text in all the successive editions of Mr. Steevens, and the rest. Whom, a nominative case !-whom is ! for while the verb is remains, this must be the construction. Whom they suppose to be drown'd, would, indeed, be concord; but the expression is elliptical: who (as) they suppose is drown'd; i. e. who is drown’d (as they suppose.) 121. And with him there lie mudded.

But one fiend at a time.I am ready to agree with Mr. Steevens that where, as in this instance and many others, the metre is redundant or incomplete, there is corruption; but I should rather repair the prosody here, by dismissing the words “but” and “ fiend.”

“ And with him there lie mudded." Seb.

one at a time, “ I'll fight their legions o'er.”

ACT IV.

135. This is strange : your father's in some

passion." Mr. Steevens remarks that this line is defective, and introduces the word most, to make it complete ; but it is less defective than redundant.

“ 'Tis strange ; your father's in some passion.”

Passion is here, as in various other places, a trisyllable.

You do look, my son, in a mov'd sort.A slight transposition, and the enlargement of a vowel, would restore this line to measure.

“You do, my son, look in a moved sort.” 140.

Advanc'd their eyelids.. Thus in Act 1, p. 46. “ The fringed curtains of thine eye advance.”

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »