Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

Paul. Nay, rather, good my lords, be second to me: Fear you his tyrannous passion more, alas, Than the queen's life! a gracious innocent soul; More free, than he is jealous. Ant.

That's enough. 1 Atten. Madam, he hath not slept to-night; com

manded
None should come at him.
Paul.

Not so hot, good sir;
I come to bring him sleep. 'Tis such as you,
That creep like shadows by him, and do sigh
At each his needless heavings, such as you
Nourish the cause of his awaking: I
Do come with words as med'cinal as true;
Honest, as either; to purge him of that humour,
That presses him from sleep.
Leon.

What noise there, ho?
Paul. No noise, my lord; but needful conference,
About some gossips for your highness.
Leon.

How?
Away with that audacious lady: Antigonus,
I charg'd thee, that she should not come about me;
I knew, she would.
Ant.

I told her so, my lord,
On your displeasure's peril, and on mine,
She should not visit you.
Leon.

What, canst not rule her?
Paul. From all dishonesty, he can: in this,
(Unless he take the course that you have done,
Commit me, for committing honour) trust it,
He shall not rule me.
Ant.

Lo you now; you hear!
When she will take the rein, I let her run;
But she 'll not stumble.
Paul.

Good my liege, I come,
And, I beseech you, hear me, who profess 8
Myself your loyal servant, your physician,
Your most obedient counsellor; yet that dare
Less appear so, in comforting your evils,

8

who profess-] Old copy-professes. Steevens.

in comforting your evils,] Comforting is here used in the legal sense of comforting and abetting in a criminal action.

M. Mason

Than such as most seem yours:- I say, I come
From your good queen.
Leon.

Good queen!
Paul. Good queen, my lord, good queen: I say, good

queen;
And would by combat make her good, so were I
A man, the worst about you."
Leon.

Force her hence.
Paul. Let him, that makes but trifles of his eyes,
First hand me; on mine own accord, I'll off;
But, first, I'll do my errand.-The good queen,
For she is good, hath brought you forth a daughter;
Here 'tis; commends it to your blessing.

[Laying down the Child. Leon.

Out!
A mankind witch!2 Hence with her, out o' door:

To comfort, in old language, is to aid and encourage. Evils here mean wicked courses. Malone. 1 And would by combat make her good, so were I

A man, the worst about you.] The worst means only the lowest. Weré I the meanest of your servants, I would yet claim the combat against any accuser. Fohnson.

The worst, (as Mr. M. Mason and Mr. Henley observe) rather means the weakest, or the least expert in the use of arms. Steevens.

Mr. Edwards observes, that “ The worst about you," may mean the weakest, or least warlike. So, "a better man, the best man in company, frequently refer to skill in fighting, not to moral goodness." I think he is right. Malone.

2 A mankind witch!] A mankind woman is yet used in the midland counties, for a woman violent, ferocious, and mischievous. It has the same sense in this passage.

Witches are supposed to be mankind, to put off the softness and delicacy of women; therefore Sir Hugh, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, says of a woman suspected to be a witch, “ that he does not like when a woman has a beard.Of this meaning Mr. Theobald has given examples. Johnson. So, in The Two angry Women of Abington, 1599:

" That e'er I should be seen to strike a woman.

“Why she is mankind, therefore thou may'st strike her.” Again, as Dr. Farmer observes to me, in A. Fraunce's Iviechurch: He is speaking of the Golden Age:

“Noe man murdring man with teare-flesh pyke or a poll“ Tygers were then tame, sharpe tusked boare was obeis

sant ; “Stoordy lyons lowted, noe wolf was knowne to be man

kinde."

ax;

Not so;

A most intelligencing bawd!

Paul.
I am as ignorant in that, as you
In so entitling me: and no less honest
Than you are mad; which is enough, I 'll warrant,
As this world goes, to pass for honest.
Leon.

Traitors!
Will you not push her out? Give her the bastard :-
Thou, dotard, [to Ant.] thou art woman-tir'd, 3 unroosted

So, in M. Frobisher's first Voyage for the Discoverie of Cataya, 4to. bl. 1. 1578, p. 48: “He saw mightie deere, that seemed to be mankind, which ranne at him, and hardly he escaped with his life,” &c. Steevens.

I shall offer an etymology of the adjective mankind, which may perhaps more fully explain it. Dr. Hickes's Anglo-Saxon Grammar, p. 119, edit. 1705, observes: “ Saxonicè man est a mein quod Cimbricè est nocumentum, Francicè est nefas, scelus.” So that mankind may signify one of a wicked and pernicious nature, from the Saxon man, mischief or wickedness, and from kind, nature. Tollet.

Notwithstanding the many learned notes on this expression, I am confident that mankind, in this passage, means nothing more than masculine. So, in Massinger's Guardian:

“I keep no mankind servant in my house,

For fear my chastity may be suspected.” And Jonson, in one of his Sonnets, says:

“Pallas, now thee I call on, mankind maid !" The same phrase frequently occurs in Beaumont and Fletcher. Thus, in Monsieur Thomas, when Sebastian sees him in womens' clothes, and supposes him to be a girl, he says:

“A plaguy mankind girl; how my brains totter!” And Gondarino, in The Woman-Hater :

Are women grown so mankind?In all which places mankind means masculine. M. Mason.

thou art woman-tir'd,) Woman-tird, is peck'd by a woman; hen-pecked. The phrase is taken from falconry, and is often employed by writers contemporary with Shakspeare. So, in The Widow's Tears, by Chapman, 1612:

He has given me a bone to tire on.” Again, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631:

the vulture tires "Upon the eagle's heart." Again, in Chapman's translation of Achilles' Shield, 4to. 1598:

“ Like men alive they did converse in fight,

“ And tyrde on death with mutuall appetite." Partlet is the name of the hen in the old story book of Reynard. the Fox Steevens.

3

By thy dame Partlet here,—take up the bastard;
Take 't up, I say; give 't to thy crone.*
Paul.

For ever
Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou
Tak’st up the princess, by that forced baseness5
Which he has put upon 't!
Leon.

He dreads his wife.
Paul. So, I would, you did; then, 'twere past all doubt,
You'd call

your
children

yours.
Leon,

A nest of traitors!
Ant. I am none, by this good light.
Paul.

Nor I, nor any,
But one, that's here: and that's himself: for he
The sacred honour of himself, his queen's,
His hopeful sun's, his babe's,6 betrays to slander,
Whose sting is sharper than the sword's;? and will not

thy crone. ] i.e. thy old worn-out woman. A croan is an old toothless sheep: thence an old woman. So, in Chaucer's Man of Lawes Tale

“ This olde Soudanesse, this cursed crone." Again, in The Malcontent, 1606: “There is an old crone in the court, her name is Maquerelle.” Again, in Love's Mistress, by T. Heywood, 1636:

“Witch and hag, crone and beldam.” Again, in Heywood's Golden Age, 1611: “All the gold in Crete cannot get one of you old crones with child.” Again, in the ancient interlude of The Repentance of Marie Magdalene, 1567 :

“ I have knowne painters, that have made old crones,
To appear as pleasant as little prety young Jones."

Steevens. 5 Unveneruble be thy hands, if thou

Tak'st up the princess, by that forced baseness -] Leontes had ordered Antigonus to take up the bastard; Paulina forbids him to 'touch the Princess under that appellation. Forced is false, uttered with violence to truth. Johnson.

A base son was a common term in our author's time. So, in King Lear:

Why brand they us
“With base? with baseness? bastardy?" Malone.
his babe's,] The female infant then on the stage.

Malone.
slander,
Whose sting is sharper than the sword's;] Again, in Cymbeline :

slander, “ Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue “ Out-venoms all the worms of Nile.” Douce.

6

7

(For as the case now stands, it is a curse
He cannot be compellid to 't) once remove
The root of his opinion, which is rotten,
As ever oak, or stone, was sound.
Leon.

A callat,
Of boundless tongue; who late hath beat her husband,
And now, baits me!- This brat is none of mine;
It is the issue of Polixenes;
Hence with it; and, together with the dam,
Commit them to the fire.
Paul.

It is yours; And, might we lay the old proverb to your charge So like you, 'tis the worse.—Behold, my lords, Although the print be little, the whole matter And copy of the father: eye, nose, lip, The trick of his frown, his forehead; nay, the valley, The pretty dimples of his chin, and cheek; his smiles; The very mould and frame of hand, nail, finger:And, thou, good goddess pature, which hast made it So like to him that got it, if thou hast The ordering of the mind too, 'mongst all colours No yellow in 't;lest she suspect, as he does, Her children not her husband's!1

8

8

his smiles ;] These two redundant words might be rejected, especially as the child has already been represented as the inheritor of his father's dimples and frowns. Steevens.

Our author and his contemporaries frequently take the liberty of using words of two syllables, as monosyllables. So, eldest, highest, lover, either, &c. Dimples is, I believe, employed so here; and of his, when contracted, or sounded quickly, make but one syllable likewise. In this view there is no redundancy.

Malone. How is the word dimples, to be monosyllabically pronounced ?

Steevens. 9 No yellow in't;) Yellow is the colour of jealousy. Fohnson.

So, Nym says, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ I will pos, sess him with yellowness.' Steevens.

lest she suspect, as he does, Her children not her husband's!] In the ardour of composition Shakspeare seems here to have forgotten the difference of sexes. No suspicion that the babe in question might entertain of her future husband's fidelity, could affect the legitimacy of her offspring. Unless she were herself a “bed-swerver,” (which is not supposed) she could have no doubt of his being the father of her children. However painful female jealousy may be to her that feels it, Pau

[ocr errors]
« PredošláPokračovať »