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I could do this; and that with no rash potion,
But with a ling'ring dram, that should not work
Maliciously like poison :6 But I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honourable.
I have lov'd thee,?.



with no rash potion, Maliciously, like poison:] Rash is hasty, as in King Henry IV, P. II: “-rash gunpowder.Maliciously is malignantly, with ef. fects openly hurtful. Johnson.

But I cannot
Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress,
So sovereignly being honourable.

I have lov'd thee, &c.] The last hemistich assigned to Camillo must have been mistakenly placed to him. It is disrespect and insolence in Camillo to his king, to tell him that he has once loved him.--I have ventured at a transposition, which seems selfevident. Camillo will not be persuaded into a suspicion of the disloyalty imputed to his mistress. The King, who believes nothing but his jealousy, provoked that Camillo is so obstinately diffident, finely starts into a rage, and cries:

I've lov'd thee-Make 't thy question, and go rot! i. e. I have tendered thee well, Camillo, but I here cancel all for. mer respect at once. If thou any longer make a question of my wife's disloyalty, go from my presence, and perdition overtake thee for thy stubbornness. Theobald.

I have admitted this alteration, as Dr. Warburton has done, but am not convinced that it is necessary. Camillo, desirous to defend the Queen, and willing to secure credit to his apology, begins, by telling the King that he has loved him, is about to give instances of his love, and to infer from them his present zeal, when he is interrupted. Johnson.

I have lov'd thee,] In the first and second folio, these words are the conclusion of Camillo's speech. The later editors have certainly done right in giving them to Leontes; but I think they would come in better at the end of the line: Make that thy question, and go rot! I have lov'd thee.

Tyrwhitt. I have restored the old reading. Camillo is about to tell Leontés how much he had loved him. The impatience of the King interrupts him by saying: Make that thy question, i. e. make the love of which you boast, the subject of your future conversation, and go to the grave with it. Question, in our author, very often has this meaning. So, in Measure for Measure: But in the loss of question;" i. e. in conversation that is thrown away. Again, in Hamlet : questionable shape” is a form propitious to conversation. Again, in As you Like it : “ an unquestionable spirit” is a spirit unwilling to be conversed with. Steevens.


Make 't thy question, and go rot! Dost think, I am so muddy, so unsettled, To appoint myself in this vexation? sully The purity and whiteness of my sheets, Which to preserve, is sleep; which being spotted, Is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps ? ' Give scandal to the blood o' the prince my son, Who, I do think is mine, and love as mine; Without ripe moving to 't? Would I do this? Could man so blench? 1

I think Steevens right in restoring the old reading, but mistaken in his interpretation of it. Camillo is about to express his affection for Leontes, but the impatience of the latter will not suffer him to proceed. He takes no notice of that part of Camillo's speech, but replies to that which gave him offence—the doubts he had expressed of the Queen's misconduct; and says—“Make that thy question, and go rot.” Nothing can be more natural than this interruption. M. Mason.

The commentators have differed much in explaining this pas. sage, and some have wished to transfer the words-" I have lov'd thee,” from Camillo to Leontes. Perhaps the words--" being honourable,” should be placed in a parenthesis, and the full point that has been put in all the editions after the latter of these words, ought to be omitted. The sense will then be: Having ever had the highest respect for you, and thought you so estimable and honourable a character, so worthy of the love of niy mistress, I cannot believe that she has played you false, has dishonoured you. However, the text is very intelligible as now regulated. Camillo is going to give the King instances of his love, and is interrupted. I see no sufficient reason for transferring the words, I have lov'd thee, from Camillo to Leontes. In the original copy there is a comma at the end of Camillo's speech, to denote an abrupt speech.

8 Make 't thy question, and go rot! &c.] This refers to what Camillo has just said, relative to the Queen's chastity:

- I cannot “ Believe this crack to be in my dread mistress —." Not believe it, replies Leontes; make that (i. e. Hermione's disloyalty, which is so clear a point) a subject of debate or discussion, and go rot! Dost thou think, I am such a fool as to torment myself, and to bring disgrace on me and my children, without sufficient grounds? Malone.

9 Is goads, &c.] Somewhat necessary to the measure is omitted in this line. Perhaps we should read, with Sir T. Hanmer: “Is goads and thorns, nettles and tails of wasps.'

Steevens. 1 Could man so blench?] To blench is to start off, to shrink. So, in Hamlet :


I must believe you, sir;
I do; and will fetch off Bohemia for 't:
Provided, that when he 's remov'd, your highness
Will take again your queen, as yours at first;
Even for your son's sake; and, thereby, for sealing
The injury of tongues, in courts and kingdoms
Known and allied to yours.

Thou dost advise me,
Even so as I mine own course have set down:
I'll give no blemish to her honour, none.

Cam. My lord,
Go then; and with a countenance as clear
As friendship wears at feasts, keep with Bohemia,
And with your queen: I am his cup-bearer;
If from me he have wholesome beverage,
Account me not your servant.

This is all:
Do't, and thou hast the one half of my heart;
Do 't not, thou split'st thine own.

I'll do 't, my lord. Leon. I will seem friendly, as thou hast advis'd me.

(Exit. Cam. O miserable lady!-But, for me, What case stand I in?. I must be the poisoner Of good Polixenes: and my ground to do 't Is the obedience to a master; one, Who, in rebellion with himself, will have All that are his, so too. To do this deed, Promotion follows: If I could find example? Of thousands, that had struck anointed kings, And flourish'd after, I'd not do 't: but since Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not one, Let villainy itself forswear 't. I must Forsake the court: to do 't, or no, is certain To me a break-neck. Happy star, reign now!

if he but blench, “ I know my course.". Leontes means--could any man so start or fly off from proprie ty of behaviour? Steevens.

- If I could find example &c.] An allusion to the death of the Queen of Scots. The play, therefore, was written in King James's time. Blackstone.


Here comes Bohemia.


This is strange! methinks,
My favour here begins to warp. Not speak ?
Good-day, Camillo.

Hail, most royal sir!
Pol. What is the news i' the court?

None rare, my lord.
Pol. The king hath on him such a countenance,
As he had lost some province, and a region,
Lov'd as he loves himself: even now I met him
With customary compliment; when he,
Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling
A lip of much contempt, speeds from me;3 and
So leaves me, to consider what is breeding,
That changes thus his manners.

Cam. I dare not know, my lord.
Pol. How! dare not? do not. Do you know, and dare

Be intelligent to me?4 'Tis thereabouts;
For, to yourself, what you do know, you must;
And cannot say, you dare not. Good Camillo,
Your chang'd complexions are to me a mirror,
Which shows me mine chang'd too: for I must be
A party in this alteration, finding
Myself thus alter'd with it.

There is a sickness
Which puts some of us in distemper; but
I cannot name the disease; and it is caught
Of you that yet are well.

How! caught of me?
Make me not sighted like the basilisk:


when he,
Wafting his eyes to the contrary, and falling

A lip of much contempt, speeds from me;] This is a stroke of nature worthy of Shakspeare. Leontes had but a moment before assured Camillo that he would seem friendly to Polixenes, according to his advice; but on meeting him, his jealousy gets the better of his resolution, and he finds it impossible to restrain his hatred. M. Mason.

Do you know, and dare not Be intelligent to me?] i.e. do you know, and dare not confess to me that you know? Tyrwhitt.

I have look'd on thousands, who have sped the better
By my regard, but kill'd none so. Camillo,-
As you are certainly a gentleman; thereto
Clerk-like, experienc'd, which no less adorns
Our gentry, than our parents' noble names,
In whose success we are gentle,5-I beseech you
If you know aught which does behove my knowledge
Thereof to be inform’d, imprison it not
In ignorant concealment.

I may not answer.
Pol. A sickness caught of me, and yet I well!
I must be answer'd.–Dost thou hear, Camillo,
I conjure thee, by all the parts of man,
Which honour does acknowledge,—whereof the least
Is not this suit of mine,—that thou declare
What incidency thou dost guess of harm
Is creeping toward me; how far off, how near;
Which way to be prevented, if to be;
If not, how best to bear it.

Sir, I 'll tell

you; Since I am charg'd in honour, and by him That I think honourable: Therefore, mark my counsel; Which must be even as swiftly follow'd, as I mean to utter it; or both yourself and me Cry, lost, and so good-night. Pol.

On, good Camillo Cam. I am appointed Him to murder you.

5 In whose success we are gentle,] I know not whether success here does not mean succession. Johnson.

Gentle in the text is evidently opposed to simple ; alluding to the distinction between the gentry and yeomanry. So, in The Insatiate Countess, 1613:

“ And make thee gentle being born a beggar.” In whose success we are gentle, may, indeed, mean in consequence of whose success in life, &c. Steevens.

Success seems clearly to have been used for succession by Shakspeare, in this, as in other instances. Henley.

I think Dr. Johnson's explanation of success the true one. . in Titus Andronicus :

“ Plead my successive title with your swords.” Malone. 6 I am appointed Him to murder you.) i. e. I am the person appointed to murder you. Steevens.


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