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P. 107, 1. 10. 11. If I could example
Of thousands, etc.) An allusion to the death of the Queen of Scots. The play therefore was written in King James's time. BLACKSTONE. P. 107, 1. 29-30.
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. Le ontes had but a noment before assured Camillo that he would seem friendly to Polixenes, according 10 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. P. 107, last l. and P. 108. first I. 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.
P. 108, 1. 20. In whose success we are gentle, I kuow 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,
In whose success we are gentle, may, indeed, mean in consequence of whose success in life, etc.
STEEVENS. Success seems clearly to have been used for suc. cession by Shakspeare, in this, as in other instances.
HENLEY I think Dr. Johnson's explanation of success the true one. MALONE.
P. 109, 1. 8. I am appointed him to murder you.) á e. I am the person appointed to murder you.
P. 109, l. 14: 15.
an instrument To vice you to't, ] i. e. to draw, persiade you. The character called the Vice, in the old plays, was the tempter to evil. WARBURTON.
The vice is an instrument well known; its operation is to hold things together, So the bailiff speaking of Falstaff: „If he come but within my vice," etc. A vice, however, in the age of Shakspeare, might mean any kind of clock-vork or machinery.
STEEVENS. P. 109. 1. 19.
that did betray the best!) Per. haps Judas.
The word best is spelt with a capital letter thus, Best, in the first folio. HENDERSON. P. 109, 1. 25. 26. Swear his thought over
By: seach particular star in heaven, ] The transposition of a single letter reconciles this passage to good sense. Polixenes, in the preceding speech, had been laying the deepest imprecations on himself, if he had ever abus'd Leontes in any familiarity with his Queen. To which Camillo very pertinently replies:
Swear this though over, etc. TIE OBALD. Swear his thought over may perhaps mean, overswear his present persua. sion, that is, endeavour to overcome his opinion, by swearing oaths numerous as the stars. JOHNSON.
It may mean: „Though you should endeavour to swear away his jealousy-though you should strive, by your oaths, to change his present thoughts.” The vulgar still use a similar expression: „To swear a person down." MALONE.
This appears to me little better than nonsense; nor have cither Malone or Johnson explained it into sense. I think therefore that Theobald's amendment is necessary and well imagined. M. MASON.
Perhaps the construction is „Over swear his thought" - i. e. strive to bear down, or overpower,
his conception' by oaths. In our author we have weigh out for outweigh, overcome for come over, etc. and over-swear, for swear-over in Twelfth Night, Act v.
Is pil'e upon his faith, ] This folly which is erected on the foundation of settled belief.
STEEVENS P. 110, 1. 16. 17,
and thy places shall Still neighbour mine:) Perhaps Shakspeare wrote ..And thy paces shall," etc. Thou shalt be my conductor, and we will both pursue the same path The old reading however may mean - wherever thou art, I will still be near thee. MALONE.
By places, our author means preferments, or honours. STEZVENS. P. 110, l. 26--28.
and comfort The gracious Queen, part of his theme, but
nothing Of his ill-ta'en suspicion!] But how could this expedition comfort the Queen ? on the contrary,
it would increase her husband's suspicion. We should read:
The gracious Queen's ; i. e. be expedition my friend, and be comfort the Queen's friend. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton's conjecture is, I think, just; but what shall be done with the following words, of which I can make nothing? Perhaps the line which connected them to the rest is lost.
and comfort The gracious Queen, part of his theme,
but nothing of his ill-ta'en suspion!
Jealousy is a passion compounded of love and sus. picion; this passion is the theme or subject of the King's thoughts. Polixenes, perhaps, wishes the Queen, for her comfort, so much of that theme or subject as is good, but deprecates that which causes misery. May part of the King's present sentiments comfort the Queen, but away with his suspicion. This is such meaning as can be picked out.
JOHNSON Perhaps the sense is – May that good speed which is my friend, comfort likewise the Qucen who is part of its theme, i. e. partly on whose account I go away; but may not the same comfort extend itself to the groundless suspicions of the King; i. c. may not my departure support him in them! His for its is common with Shakspeare. STEFVENS.
Comfort is, I apprehend, here used as a verb. Good expedition befriend me, by removing me from a place of danger, and comfort the innocent Queen, by removing the object of her husband's jealousy; the Queen, who is the subject of his conversation, but without reason the object of his suspicion!
MALONE. P. 112, l. 5. A sad tale's best for winter ;] Hence, I suppose, the title of the play. TYRWHITT.
This supposition may seem to be countenanced by our author's 98th Sonnet:
„Yet not the lays of birds, etc.
..Could make me any Summer's story tell." And yet, I cannot help regarding the words for winter (which spoil the measure) as a playhouse interpolation. All children delight in telling dismal stories; but why should a dismal story be best for winter? STEEVEN.. P. 112, . 25. Censure, in the time of our author, VOL. VI.
was generally used (as in this instance) for judgement, opinion. MALONE.
P. 112, 1. 26. Alack, for lesser knowledge!) That is, that my knowledge were less.
JOHNSON, P. 112, I. 27-29.
There may be in the cup A. spider steep'd, etc.) That spiders were esteemed venomous, appears by the evidence of a person who was examined in Sir T. Overbury's affair. "The Countesse wished me 10 get the strongest poison I could, etc. Accordingly I bought seven great spiders, and cantharides." HENDERSON.
This was a notion generally prevalent in author's time. So, 'in Holland's Leagier, a pamphlet published in 1632: .,- like the spider, whieh turneth all things to poison which it tasteth."
MALONE. P. 112, last 1. Hefts are heavings, what is heaved up. STBEVENS. P. 113, 1. 4. 5. He has discover'd my design, and I
Remain a pinch'd thing :) The sense, I think, is, He hath now discovered my design, and I am treated as a mere child's baboy, a thing pinched out of clouts, a puppet for them to move and actuale as they please. HEATH.
This sense is possible ; but many other meanings might serve as well. JOHNSON.
Pinched had anciently a more dignified meaning than it appears to have at present.
The sense proposed by the author of The Revisal may , however, be supported by the following pas. sage in All's well that ends well:- „If you pinch me like a pasty, [i. c. the crust round the lid of it, which was anciently moulded by the fingers, into fantastick shapes,] I can say no more." STEEVÆNZ.