Page images


331. “ Love's invisible soul.

The servant would call Helen " the soul of love,” and “soul” being invisible, he adds “invisible soul:” this appears to me to be the meaning 334.

My disposer, Cressida.To whatsoever speaker these words may be assigned, it seems impossible to ascribe a meaning to them.


340.The imaginary relish is so sweet That it enchants my sense; what will it

be IVhen that thewatry palate tastes, indeed, Love's thrice-reputed nectar !" This thought occurs in Romeo and Juliet: " Ah me! how sweet is love itself, possess’d, " When but love's shadows are so rich in joy!”

“ Watry” is lickerish, eager to taste. 343. “ A kiss in fee-farm.

Mr. Steevens exclaims, here, “How much more poetically is the same idea expressed in Coriolanus, when the jargon of the law was absent from our author's thoughts !” Was the critic lamenting that Pandarus did not think and speak like Coriolanus ? 353. “ And mighty states charácterless are


The same accentuation of " character” we find in Hamlet:

“ Look thou character; give thy thoughts no



357. - Through the sight I bear in things,

to Jove I have abandon’d Troy.Mr. Steevens's defence of “ love,” supposing that word to stand in the place of Jove (for the printing, in the quarto, leaves it dubious), is much strained; and Mr. M. Mason, who calls the present reading nonsense, because Juno, and not Jupiter, was the persecutor of Troy, is rather trifling in sophistry than rationally arguing. Though Calchas had prudently withdrawn from the ruin which he saw impending, but could not avert, and had even rendered some services to the Greeks; it does not appear that he had any such hatred to Troy, as to render probable his saying, he willingly gave her up to the fury of her implacable enemy, though he might, with perfect propriety, and suitably to the decorum of his sacerdotal character, declare that, bowing to the divine will, he had abandoned Troy to the supreme disposer of events and kingdoms. With respect to the words, “the sight I bear in things," Mr. Mason's objections are easily removed; “in” is commonly, throughout these works, put for into; and" sight into things very clearly implies foresight. 362. In most accepted pain.

Pain means pains, assiduous endeavours.

Why such unplausive eyes are bent, why

turn'd on him.After Sir T. Hanmer had so properly marked the exuberant and interpolated words here, (a correction that Mr. Steevens himself approves of), it is really surprising to find them again deforming the text. Sir T. Hanmer read,

Why such unplausive eyes are bent on him.” 364. “ And not a man for being simply man, Hath any honour; but honour for those

honours.The second “honour” in this line, which spoils the metre and perplexes the sense, was, I think, evidently, a slip of the transcribers, much more excusable than all the editors are who have retained the mistake. The love that lean'd on them as slippery too, Do one pluck down another ; and together, Die in the fall."

How such vicious construction as this should be gravely reprinted, without a note, through successive editions, by editors generally tenacious of accuracy, is astonishing. Concord imperiously requires some correction :

- Not a man, being simply man, “Hath any honour; but for those hon'oúrs “ That are without him; as place, riches, favour, Which, when they fall, as being slippery

standers, “ The loves that lean'd on them, as slippery too: Do not pluck down another,” &c. 367. How some men creep in skittish fortune's

hall, While others play the ideots in her eyes.

Dr. Johnson interprets “creep" into keep out of sight, a definition that Mr. Malone very properly, in my opinion, rejects ; but I cannot admit that Mr. Malone's own explanation of creep” (remain tamely inactive), is right:creeping, howsoever tardily, contradistinguished to running, cannot be called inaction. Neither am I satisfied with Dr. Johnson's exposition of

play the ideots in her eyes,others, though they but play the ideot, are always in her eye, in the way of distinction. There is an expression belonging to the nursery, from which, I believe, this latter one has been derived, making babies in the eyes, from the mutual miniature reflections by looking into each other's eyes. And the sense of the whole I take to be, 'tis strange how some men creep or advance by sluggish paces, in the vestibule or hall of fortune, while others have access to her immediate presence; and familiarly converse with her, face to face. 368. As done : perseverance dear, my lord.

This defective line stands in the text without any remark, except a note of accentuation in the word perseverance, which seems as if intended to repair or accommodate the metre: but, with the accent so placed, there will be the deficiency of a foot:-we might read,

“ As done, 'tis perseverance dear, my lord.” 369.

They-leave you hindmost, Or, like a gallant horse, fallin in first

rank, Lie there for pavement to the abject

rear.The exhibition which frequently occurs of passages like this, without a note to qualify or

censure their incongruity, is utterly unpardonable: as the construction stands, it is they, (i. e. the ignoble multitude) leave you, or lie there for pavement, whereas the sense is quite the contrary: it is necessary to read, instead of “ Lie there for pavement,”

“ You're left for pavement,” &c. 370.“ And give to dust, that is a little gilt,

More laud than gilt o'er-dusted.Theobald appears to me to have had the right conception of this passage: there is evidently intended an opposition between dúst gilded, and gold itself, obscured by dust; and we should, doubtless, read, And give to dust, that is a little gilt, “More laud than gold (i. e. than to gold) o'er

dusted.” 371. “ And drave great Mars to faction.

This obsolete propriety of tense occurs again in As You Like It: “I drave my suitor from a living humour.”

Of this my privacy." There is no need of the word “this,” and it spoils the metre.

In love
With one of Priam's daughters.

Ha! known !"
This is defective : perhaps,

“Ha! known say you ?But another hemistic immediately follows this


[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »