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his morals, and the qualities of his mind, than rudely to call him idiot to his face. THEOBALD.
show thee of a fool,] So all the copies. We should read :
show thee off, a fool, i. e. represent thee in thy true colours; a fool, an inconstant, etc. WARBURTOX,
Poor Mr. Theobald's courtly remark cannot be thought to deserve much notice. Dr. Warburton 100 might have spared his sagacity, if he had remembered that the present reading by a mode of speech anciently much used, means only, It show'd thee first a fool, then inconstant and ungrateful. JOHNSON.
Damnable is here used adverbially. MALONE. P. 135, 1. 21. Thou would'st have poison'd good
Camillo's honour, How should Paulina know this ? No one had charged the King with this crime except himself, while Pau. lina was absent, attending on Hermione. The poet seems to have forgotten this circumstance. MALONE. P. 135, 1. 25. 26. though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire, ere don't:) i. e. a devil would hive shed tears of pity o'er the damn'd, ére he would have committed such an action.
STEEVENS. P. 236, 1. 24 and fol. Paul. I am sorry for't; etc. etc.) This is another instance of the sudden changes incident to vehement and ungovernable minds.
JOHNSON P. 137, 1. 20. Perfect is often used by Shakspeare for certain, well assured, or well informed.
JOHNSON. It is so used by almost all our ancient writers.
STELVENS. P. 139, 1. 7. and there thy character:). Thi
description; i. e. the writing afterwards discovered witke Perdita. STEEVENS.
P. 139, 1. 20. A savage clamour ?] This clamour was the cry of the dogs and hunters; then seeing the bear, he cries, this is the chace, or, the animal pursiled. Johnson. P. 159, last 1.
i. e. child. It is a North Country word. Barns for borns, things born; seeming to answer to the Latin nati. STEEVENS.
P. 140, first l. A boy, or a child, ) I am told, that in some of our inland counties, a female infant, in contradistinction to a male one, is still termed, among the peasantry, - a child. STEEVENS.
P. 140, l. 30. how the sea flap dragon'd it: J i.e. swallowed it, as our ancient topers swallowed flab. dragons. STEEVENS.
P. 141, 1. 5. the old man!] Though all the printed copies concur in this reading, I am persuad. ed, we onght to restore, nobleman. The Shepherd knew nothing of Antigonus's age; besides, the Clown hath just told his father, that he said his name was Antigonus, a nobleman: and no less than three times in this short scene, the Clown, speaking of him, calls him the gentleman. THEOBILD.
I suppose the Shepherd infers the age of Antigo. nus from his inability to defend himself; or perhaps Shakspeare, who was conscious that he him. self designed Antigonus for an old man, has inad. vertently given this knowledge to the Shepherd who had never seen him. STEVENS.
Perhaps the word old was inadvertently omitted in the preceding speech: nor the bear half dined on the old gentleman:" Mr. Steevens's second con jecture, however, is, I believe, the true one.
MALONE. P. 141, 1. 12. A bearing closh is the fine mantle
or cloth with which a child is usually covered, when it is carried to the church to be baptized.
PERCY P. 141, l. 15. this is some changeling :) i. e. some child left bchind by the fairies, in the room of one which they had stolen. STEEVENS.
P. 141, 1.27 - 19. You're a made old man; etc.) In former copies :
You're a mad old man; if the sins of your youth are forgiven you, you're well to live. Gold! all gold!
This the Clown says upon his opening his fardel, and discovering the wealth in it. Brit this is no reason why he should call his father a mad old man. I have ventured to correct in the text You're a made old man; i. e. your fortune's made by this adventitious treasure. our poet, in a number of other passages.
THEOBALD. Dr. Warburton did not accept this emendation, but it is certainly right. The word is borrowed from the novel: „The good man desired his wife to be quiet: if she would hold peace, they were made for ever." FARMRR. P. 141, l. 21. the next way.
i. e. the nearest way. STBEVENS.
P. 141, 1. 27. Curst, signifies mischievous. Thus the adage: Curst cows have short horns. HENLEY. P. 142, 1. 5.
that make, and unfold error, This does not,
my opinon, take in the poet's thought. Time does not make mistakes, and discover them, ad different conjunctures; but the poet means, that Time often for a season covers errors, which he afterwards displays and brings to light. I chuse therefore to read: that mask and unfold error,
Theobald's emendation is surely unnecessary. Departed time renders many facts obscure, and in that scuse is the cause of error. Time to come brings discoveries with it.
„These very comments on Shakspeare (says Mr. M. Mason) prove that time can both make and unfold error."
STEEVENS. P. 142, l. 8. 9.
that I slide O'er sixteen years,) This trespass, in respect of dramatic unity, will appear vcnial to those who have read the once famous Lyly's Endymion, or (as he himself calls it in the prologue) his Man in the Moon. This author was applauded and very liberally paid by Queen Elizabeth. Two acts of his piece comprize the space of forty years, Endymion lying down to sleep at the end of the second, and waking in the firft scene of the fifth, after a nap of that inconscionable length. Lyly has likewise been guilty of much greater absurdities than ever Shakspeare committed; for he supposes that Endymion's liair, features, and person, were changed by age during his sleep, while all the other personages of the drama remained without alteration.
George Whetstone, in the epistle dedicatory, before his Promos and Cassandra, 1578, (on the plan of which Measure for Measure is formed) had pointed out many of these absurdities and offences against the laws of the Drama. It must be owned therefore that Shakspeare has not fallen into them through ignorance of what tlicy werc., „For at this daye, the Italian is 80 lascivious in his comedies, that honest hearts are grieved at his actions. TheFrenchman and Spaniard follow the Italian's humour. The German is too holy; for he presents on everye common stage, what preachers should pronounce in pulpits. . The Englishman in this quallitie, is most vaine, indiscreete,
and out of order. He first grounds his worke on impossibilities; then in three hours ronnes he throwe the worlde: marryes , gets children, makes children men, men to conquer kingdomes, murder moneters, and bringeth goddes from heaven, and fetcheth devils from hell, "etc. This quotation will serve to show that our poet might have enjoyed the benefit of literary Jaws, but, like Achilles, denied that laws were designed to operate on beings confident of their own pow. ers, and secure of graces beyond the reach of art.
STEEVENS. 1. 9. 10. and leave the growth untried
Of that wide gap;] Our author attends more to his ideas than to his words. The growth of the wide gap, is somewhat irregular; but he means, the growth, or progression of the time which filled
gap of the story between Perdita's birth and her sixteenth year. To leave this growth untried, is to leave the passages of the intermediate jears unnoted and unexamined. Untried is not, pero haps, the word which he would have chosen, but whir'i nis rhyme required. JOHNSON. P. 142, 1. 10. 11.
since it is in my power To o'erthrow law,] The reasoning of Time is not very clear; he seems to mean, that he who has broke so many laws may now break another; that he who introduced every thing, may introduce Perdira in her sixteenth year; and he intreats that he may pass as of old, before any order or succession of objects, ancient or modern, distinguished his periods. JOHNSON. P. 142, L 22-24.
imagine me, Gentle spectators, that I now may be
In fair Bohemia ;] Time is every where alike. I know not whether both sense and grammar may not dictate: