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Humbling their deities to love,' have taken
O but, dear sir, 2
pose, Or I my life.
The gods themselves, Humbling their deities to love,] This is taken almost literally from the novel: “ The Gods above disdaine not to love women beneath. Phæbus liked Daphne; Jupiter Io; and why not I then Faunia? One something inferior to these in birth, but far superior to them in beauty ; born to be a shepherdesse, but worthy to be a goddesse.” Again: “ And yet, Dorastus, shame not thy shepherd's weed. The heavenly gods have sometime earthly thought; Neptune became a ram, Jupiter a bull, Apollo a shepherd: they gods, and yet in love ;-thou a man, appointed to love.” Malone. 1 Nor in a way - ] Read :-Nor any way. Ritson.
Nor in a way so chaste :] It must be remembered that the transformations of gods were generally for illicit amours; and consequently were not “in a way so chaste” as that of Florizel, whose object was to marry Perdita. A. C.
20 but, dear sir,] In the oldest copy the word dear, is wanting. Steevens.
The editor of the second folio reads-- but, dear sir; to complete the metre. But the addition is unnecessary; burn in the preceding hemistich being used as a dissyllable. Perdita in a former part of this scene addresses Florizel in the same respectful manner as here: “Sir, my precious lord,” &c. I formerly, not adverting to what has been now stated, propose to take the word your from the subsequent line; but no change is necessary.
Malone. I follow the second folio, confessing my inability to read burn, as a word of more than one syllable. Steevens.
Thou dearest Perdita,
behold the while. Your guests are coming:
O lady fortune, Stand you auspicious! Enter Shepherd, with POLIXENES and Camillo, dis
guised; Clown, Mopsa, DORCAS, and Others. Flo.
See, your guests approach:
Shep. Fy, daughter! when my old wife liv'd, upon
end o' the table, now i' the middle; On his shoulder, and his: her face o' fire With labour; and the thing, she took to quench it, She would to each one sip: You are retir’d, As if you were a feasted one, and not The hostess of the meeting: Pray you, bid These unknown friends to us welcome: for it is A way to make us better friends, more known. Come, quench your blushes; and present yourself That which you are, mistress o'the feast:* Come on, And bid us welcome to your sheep-shearing, As your good flock shall prosper. Per.
Welcome, sir! [to Pol.
3 With these forc'd thoughts,] That is, thoughts far-fetched, and not arising from the present objects. M. Mason.
4 That which you are, mistress o'the feast:] From the novel: " It happened not long after this, that there was a meeting of all the farmers' daughters of Sicilia, whither Faunia was also bidden as mistress of the feast." Malone.
It is my father's will, I should take on me
Sir, the year growing ancient,
Wherefore, gentle maiden,
For I have heard it said,
5 For you there's rosemary, and rue; these keep
Seeming, and savour, all the winter long:
Grace, and remembrance, be to you both,) Ophelia distributes the same plants, and accompanies them with the same documents. “There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. There's rue for you: we may call it herb of grace." The qualities of retaining seeming and savour, appear to be the reason why these plants were considered as emblematical of grace and remembrance. The nosegay distributed by Perdita with the significations annexed to each flower, reminds one of the ænigmatical letter from a Turk. ish lover, described by Lady M. W. Montagu. Henley.
Grace, and remembrance,] Rue was called herb of Grace. Rosemary was the emblem of remembrance; I know not why, unless because it was carried at funerals. Johnson.
Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and is prescribed for that purpose in the books of ancient physick.
Steevens. 6 For I have heard it said,] For, in this place, signifies--because that. So, in Chaucer's Clerkes Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 8092:
“She dranke, and for she wolde vertue plese,
“She knew wel Jabour, but non idel ese." Steevens. " There is an art, which, in their piedness, shares
With great creating nature.] That is, as Mr. T. Warton obPol.
Say, there be;
So it is.
serves, “ There is an art which can produce flowers, with as great a variety of colours as nature herself.”
This art is pretended to be taught at the ends of some of the old books that treat of cookery, &c. but, being utterly impracticable, is not worth exemplification. Steevens.
in gillyflowers,] There is some further conceit relative to gill flowers than has yet been discovered. The old copy, (in both instances where this word occurs) reads-Gilly'vors, a term still used by low people in Sussex, to denote a harlot. In A Wonder, or a Woman never vex'd, 1632, is the following passage: A lover is behaving with freedom to his mistress as they are going into a garden, and after she has alluded to the quality of many herbs, he adds: “You have fair roses, have you not?” “ Yes, sir, (says she) but no gilliflowers.” Meaning, perhaps, that she would not be treated like a gill.flirt, i. e. wanton, a word often met with in the old plays, but written flirt-gill in Romeo and Juliet. I suppose gill-flirt to be derived, or rather corrupted, from gilly-flower or carnation, which, though beautiful in its appearance, is apt, in the gardener's phrase, to run from its colours, and change as often as a licentious female.
Prior, in his Solomon, has taken notice of the same variability in this species of flowers :
the fond carnation loves to shoot “ Two various colours from one parent root.” In Lyte's Herbal, 1578, some sorts of gilliflowers are called small honesties, cuckoo gillofers, &c. And in A. W.'s Commendation of Gascoigne and his Posies, is the following remark on this species of flower:
“Some thinke that gilliflowers do yield a gelous smell." See Gascoigne's Works, 1587. Steevens. The following line in The Para:lise of Daintie Devises, 1578, may add some support to the first part of Mr. Steevens's note: “Some jolly youth the gilly-flower esteemeth for his joy."
I 'll not put The dibble' in earth to set one slip of them: No more than, were I painted, I would wish This youth should say, 'twere well; and only therefore Desire to breed by me.--Here's flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun, And with him rises? weeping; these are flowers Of middle summer, and, I think, they are given To men of middle age: You are very welcome.
Cam. I should leave grazing, were I of your flock, And only live by gazing. Per.
Out, alas! You 'd be so lean, that blasts of January Would blow you through and through.--Now, my fair
est friend, I would, I had some flowers o'the spring, that might Become your time of day; and yours, and yours; That wear upon your virgin branches yet Your maidenheads growing:- 0 Proserpina, For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou let'st fall From Dis's waggon!2 daffodils,
dibble' - ] An instrument used by gardeners to make holes in the earth for the reception of young plants. See it in Minshieu. Steevens. 1 The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun,
And with him rises — ] Hence, says Lupton, in his Sixth Book of Notable Things: “Some calles it, Sponsus Solis, the Spowse of the Sunne ; because it sleepes and is awakened with him.”
Steevens. O Proserpina, For the flowers now, that, frighted, thou let'st fall From Dis's waggon!!] So, in Ovid's Metam. B. V:
“Lut summa vestem laxavit ab ora,
“ Collecti flores tunicis cecidere remissis." Steevena. The whole passage is thus translated by Golding, 1587 :
“While in this garden Proserpine was taking her pastime,
rent, “By chance she let her lap slip downe, and out her flow
ers went." Ritson.