Page images
[ocr errors]

Steeples, and moss-grown towers. At your birth,
Our grandam earth, having this distemperature,
In passion shook.

Glend. Cousin, of many men
I do not bear these crossings. Give me leave
To tell you once again, that, at my birth,
The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes;
The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds
Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.

Beldame is not used here as a term of contempt, but in the sense of ancient mother. Belle age, Fr. Drayton, in the 8th song of his Polyolbion, uses bel-fire in the same sense :

“As his great bel-fire Brute from Albion's heirs it won." Again, in the 14th song :

“ When he his long descent shall from his bel-fires bring.” Beau pere is French for father-in-law, but the word employed by Drayton seems to have no such meaning. Perhaps beldame originally meant a grandmother. So, in Shakspeare's Tarquin and Lucrece : • To show the beldame daughters of her daughter.”

STEEVENS. 3 — and topples down

Steeples, and moss-grown towers.] To topple is to tumble So, in Macbeth: “ Though castles topple on their warders' heads.”

STEEVENS. 4 The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds

Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.] Shakspeare appears to have been as well acquainted with the rarer phænomena, as with the ordinary appearances of nature. A writer in The Philosophical Transactions, No. 207, describing an earthquake in Catanea, near Mount Ætna, by which eighteen thousand persons were destroyed, mentions one of the circumstances that are here said to have marked the birth of Glendower : “ There was a blow, as if all the artillery in the world had been discharged at once ; the sea retired from the town above two miles; the birds flew about astonished; the cattle in the fields ran crying." MALONE.

- to the frighted fields.] We should read-in the frighted fields. M. MASON.

In the very next scene, to is used where we should at present use-in:

“ He hath more worthy interest to the state ," Steevens.

These signs have mark'd me extraordinary;
And all the courses of my life do show,
I am not in the roll of common men.
Where is he living, --clipp'd in with the sea
That chides the banks of England, Scotland,

Which calls me pupil, or hath read to me?
And bring him out, that is but woman's son,
Can trace me in the tedious ways of art,
Or hold me pace in deep experiments.
Hot. I think, there is no man speaks better

Welsh :I will to dinner.. Mort. Peace, cousin Percy; you will make him

mad. · Glend. I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Hot. Why, so can I; or so can any man: But will they come, when you do call for them? Glend. Why, I can teach you, cousin, to com

mand The devil. Hor. And I can teach thee, coz, to shame the

devil,s By telling truth; Tell truth, and shame the devil. If thou have power to raise him, bring him hi

ther, And I'll be sworn, I have power to shame him hence. O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the devil.

MORT. Come, come, No more of this unprofitable chat. Glend. Three times hath Henry Bolingbroke

made head

Ś t o fhame the devil,] “ Speak the truth, and shame the devil,” was proverbial. See Ray's Proverbs, 163. Reed.

Against my power: thrice from the banks of Wye,
And sandy-bottom'd Severn, have I sent him,
Bootless home, and weather-beaten back.
Hor. Home without boots, and in foul weather

too! How 'scapes he agues, in the devil's name? GLEND. Come, here's the map; Shall we divide.

our right,
According to our threefold order ta’en?

Mort. The archdeacon hath divided it?
Into three limits, very equally:
England, from Trent and Severn hitherto, 8
By south and east, is to my part assign’d:
All westward, Wales beyond the Severn shore,
And all the fertile land within that bound,
To Owen Glendower :-and, dear coz, to you
The remnant northward, lying off from Trent.
And our indentures tripartite are drawn:
Which being sealed interchangeably,
(A business that this night may execute,)
To-morrow, cousin Percy, you, and I,
And my good lord of Worcester, will set forth,
To meet your father, and the Scottish power,
As is appointed us, at Shrewsbury.
My father Glendower is not ready yet,

6 Bootless-] Unless we read bootless as a trisyllable, the metre will be defective. In As you like it wrestler is apparently to be thus pronounced:

“ The parts and graces of the wrestler.Steevens. Mr. Pope transferred the word him from the former line to this: and perhaps he was right. Malone.

7 The archdeacon hath divided it-] The metre is here deficient I suppose the line originally ran thus :

The archdeacon hath divided it already. Steevens. 8 England, from Trent and Severn hitherto,] i. e. to this spot (pointing to the map). MALONE.

Nor shall we need his help these fourteen days:Within that space, [TO GLEND.] you may have

drawn together Your tenants, friends, and neighbouring gentle

men. GLEND. A shorter time shall send me to you,

And in my conduct shall your ladies come:
From whom you now must steal, and take no leave;
For there will be a world of water shed,
Upon the parting of your wives and you.
Hor. Methinks, my moiety, north from Burton

In quantity equals not one of yours :
See, how this river comes me cranking in,
And cuts me, from the best of all my land,
A huge half-moon, a monstrous cantle out.}

9 Methinks, my moiety, north from Burton here,] The division is here into three parts.-A moiety was frequently used by the writers of Shakspeare's age, as a portion of any thing, though not divided into two equal parts. See a note on King Lear, AA J. sc. iv. MaLONE.

2 - cranking in,] Perhaps we should readcrankling. So, Drayton in his Polyolbion, song 7, speaking of a river, says that Meander“ Hath not so many turns, nor crankling nooks as she.”

STEEVENS. Mr. Pope reads—crankling. Cranking, however, is 'right. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis : “ He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles.”

Malone. 3 cantle out.) A cantle is a corner, or piece of any thing, in the same sense that Horace uses angulus :

O fi angulus ille « Proximus arridet!” Canton, Fr. canto, Ital. fignify a corner. To cantle is a verb used in Decker's Whore of Babylon, 1607 :

“ That this vast globe terrestrial should be cantled."

[ocr errors]

I'll have the current in this place damm'd up;
And here the smug and silver Trent shall run,
In a new channel, fair and evenly:
It shall not wind with such a deep indent,
To rob me of so rich a bottom here.
Glend. Not wind ? it shall, it must; you see, it

Morr. Yea,
But mark, how he bears his course, and runs me up
With like advantage on the other side ;
Gelding the opposed continent as much,
As on the other side it takes from you.
Wor. Yea, but a little charge will trench him

And on this north side win this cape of land;
And then he runs straight and even.

Hot. I'll have it so; a little charge will do it.
GLEND. I will not have it alter'd.

Will not you!
Glend. No, nor you shall not.

Who shall say me nay?
GLEND. Why, that will I.

Let me not understand you then, Speak it in Welsh.

Glend. I can speak English, lord, as well as you ;

me 1


The substantive occurs in Drayton's Polyolbion, fong 1:

• Rude Neptune cutting in a cantle forth doth take.” Again, in a New Trick to cheat the Devil, 1636: « Not so much as a cantell of cheese or craft of bread.”

STEEVENS. Canton in heraldry is a corner of the shield. Cant of cheese is now used in Pembrokeshire. Lort,

4 Let me not understand you then,] You, an apparent interpolation, destructive to the metre, should, I think, be omitted.


« PreviousContinue »