Imágenes de páginas

may be feminine. Helena, in All's well that End's well, uses knight in the same signification. JOHNSON.

In the times of chivalry, a virgin knight was one who had as yet atchieved no adventure. Hero had as yet atchieved no matrimonial one. It may be added, that a virgin knight wore no device on his shield, not having atchieved any. STEEVENS.

Line 515. And Hymen now with luckier issue speeds, Than this, for whom we render'd up this woe!] Claudio could not know, without being a prophet, that this new proposed match should have any luckier event than that designed with Hero. Certainly, therefore, this should be a wish in Claudio; and, to this end, the poet might have wrote, speed's; i. e. speed us: and so it becomes a prayer to Hymen. THIRLBY.


Line 636. I would not deny you, &c.] The sense of the reading is this, I cannot find in my heart to deny you, but for all that I yield, after having stood out great persuasions to submission. He had said, I take thee for pity, she replies, I would not deny thee, i. e. I take thee for pity too: but as I live, I am won to this compliance by importunity of friends. WARBURTON.

Line 640. Ben. Peace, I will stop your mouth. (kissing her)] In former copies;

Leon. Peace, I will stop your mouth. What can Leonato mean by this? Nay, pray, peace, niece? "don't keep up this obstinacy of professions, for I have proofs to "stop your mouth." The ingenious Dr. Thirlby agreed with me, that this ought to be given to Benedick, who, upon saying it, kisses Beatrice, and this being done before the whole company, how natural is the reply which the prince makes upon it?

How dost thou, Benedick, the married man ?

Besides, this mode of speech, preparatory to a salute, is familiar to our poet in common with other stage writers. THEOBALD.

[ocr errors]







LINE 5. Like to a step-dame, or a dowager,

Long withering out a young man's revenue.] Dr. Warburton would read, wintering on a young man's revenue, which is no improvement to the sense.

Line 21. With pomp, with triumph, and with revelling.] Triumph here means a show, a mask, or sport. Thus in King Henry VI. Part 3.

"With stately triumphs, mirthful comick shows." Line 36. gauds,] i. e. Baubles, toys, trifles. Our author has the word frequently: See King John, Act 3. Sc. 5.


Line 47. Or to her death, according to our law.] By a law of Solon's, parents had an absolute power of life and death over their children. So it suited the poet's purpose well enough, to suppose the Athenians had it before.-Or perhaps he neither thought nor knew any thing of the matter. WARBURTON.

Line 55. To leave the figure, or disfigure it.] The sense is plain,

you owe to your father a being which he may at pleasure continue or



Line 71. -to die the death,] I meet with this expression, in the second part of The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 1601.

[ocr errors]

"We will, my liege, else let us die the death." STEEVENS. Line 74. Know of your youth,] Bring your youth to the question. Consider your youth. JOHNSON.

Line 77. For aye-] i. e. For ever.

82. But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd.] Thus all the copies, yet earthlier is so harsh a word, and earthlier happy for happier earthly, a mode of speech so unusual, that I wonder none of the editors have proposed earlier happy. JOHNSON.

Line 82. the rose distill'd.] This is one of our author's favourite images, it is frequently to be met with in his sonnets. Line 118.-spotted---] As spotless is innocent, so spotted is wicked. JOHNSON. Line 141. Beteem them- -] Give them, bestow upon them. The word is used by Spenser. JOHNSON.

Love possesses

Line 146. -too high to be enthrall'd to low!] all the editions, but carries no just meaning in it. Nor was Hermia displeas'd at being in love; but regrets the inconveniencies that generally attend the passion: either, the parties are disproportioned, in degree of blood and quality; or unequal, in respect of years; or brought together by the appointment of friends, and not by their own choice. These are the complaints represented by Lysander; and Hermia, to answer to the first, as she has done to the other two, must necessarily say;

O cross!-too high to be inthrall'd to low!

So the antithesis is kept up in the terms; and so she is made to condole the disproportion of blood and quality in lovers.


Line 153. -momentany as a sound,] The old editions read momentany, which is the old and proper word. The modern editors, momentary. JOHNSON.

Line 155. Brief as the lightning in the collied night,] Collied, i. e. black, smutted with coal, a word still used in the midland counties.



Line 156. That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,] Here our author uses the word spleen for a sudden hasty fit: so just the contrary, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, he uses sudden for splenetic-sudden quips. And it must be owned this sort of conversation adds a force to the diction. WARBURTON. Line 170. -remote- -] Remote is the reading of both the quartos; the folio reads, remov`d.


Line 196. Your eyes are lode-stars.] This was a compliment not unfrequent among the old poets. The lode-star is the leading or guiding star, that is, the pole-star. The magnet is, for the same reason, called the lode-stone, either because it leads iron, or because it guides the sailor.

Davies calls queen Elizabeth, lode-stone to hearts, and lode-stone to all eyes. JOHNSON. Line 200. favour-] Means, countenance, or disposition.

-translated] Signifies transformed.

Take comfort; he no more shall see my face;
Lysander and myself will fly this place.

Before the time I did Lysander see,] Hermia is willing to comfort Helena, and to avoid all appearance of triumph over her. She therefore bids her not to consider the power of pleasing, as an advantage to be much envied or much desired, since Hermia, whom she considers as possessing it in the supreme degree, has found no other effect of it than the loss of happiness.

Line 205.


JOHNSON. Line 249. —holding no quantity,] Quality seems a word more suitable to the sense than quantity, but either may serve.

JOHNSON. Line 257. -In game-] Game here signifies not contentious play, but sport, jest. So Spenser, 'Twixt earnest and 'twixt game.

JOHNSON. Line 259. -Hermia's eyne,] This plural is common both in Chaucer and Spenser.

Spenser, F. Q. b. i. c. 4. st. 9.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"While flashing beams do dare his feeble eyen.”


« AnteriorContinuar »