« ZurückWeiter »
"On sheep or oxen could I spend my fury" :— Ajax Telamon, having gone mad because the armor of Achilles was awarded to Ulysses rather than to him, rushed out of his tent upon the flocks kept for the sustenance of the Greek army, and slaughtering great numbers of them, dragged the carcasses to his tent, thinking that they were his enemies.
'Buckingham, I pr'ythee":-Thus the folio: the second folio, "O Buckingham," &c.; the quarto, Humphrey, Duke of Buckingham, pardon me." The last line but one of the speech shows that here we must not insist strongly upon complete verses, or even measured rhythm.
first let me ask of these " -The folio has, "ask of thee." The trifling misprint was corrected by Theobald, and in Mr. Collier's folio of 1632. Theobald, with much plausibility, also supposed that a transposition had accidentally been made, and began the speech with the line, "Sirrah, call in my sons to be my bail."
"To Bedlam with him":- This well-known hospital for the insane, which stood near Charing Cross, was originally a priory of the Order of Bethlehem, (the brethren and sisters of which wore a star upon their mantles,) which was founded A. D. 1246, by Simon Fitz-Mary, a sheriff of London. It appears to have been given up to the use of lunatics about the end of the fourteenth century. Its name, (th being pronounced as t,) was at first corrupted into Betleham, and finally into Bedlam.
my two brave bears":— An allusion to the badge of the Nevils, the bear and ragged staff.
the be'r-'ard":-i. e., bear-ward. See Notes on Much Ado about Nothing, Act I. Sc. 2.
"Who, being suffer'd":— i. e., it is hardly necessary to remark, being permitted.
for death or dignity": - The folio has, "death and dignitie." The needful emendation was made by Pope and in Mr. Collier's folio of 1632.
by thy household badge":- The folio misprints, "housed badge." The correct ding is found in the quarto, from which it will be seen the passage is taken bodily.
· Foul stigmatic": - i. e., one stigmatized, branded, by Nature.
and the premised flames," &c. :- i. e., the
p. 377. "As wild Medea," &c.:. Medea, flying from Colchis with Jason, cut her brother Absyrtus, into many pieces, that her father might be detained from following her.
flames sent before their time; - one of the numberless instances of Shakespeare's use of words derived from Latin in their radical sense.
"Somerset is killed" :- In the quarto the direction is, "And Richard kils him under the signe of the Castle in Saint Albones."
"So, lie thou there; - For, underneath," &c.:-This passage is altogether inconsequential and somewhat obscure, owing to corruption, or to very careless alteration of the corresponding passage in the quarto, which is as follows:
"So lie thou there, and breathe thy last.
For Somerset was forewarned of Castles,
The which he alwaies did obserue.
And now behold, vnder a paltry Ale-house signe
Somerset hath made the Wissard famous by his death."
So then the prophecy is come to pass;
For, underneath an ale-house paltry sign," &c.
of all our present parts":- Mr. Collier's folio of 1632 has," present friends."
"Old Salisbury":— The folio has, Of Salisbury." The emendation, which is from Mr. Collier's folio of 1632, is solicited by the construction of the line, and supported by the reading of the quarto, "But did you see old Salsbury?" In the third and fourth lines of this speech the same volume has "all bruise of time," and "the bloom of youth," which latter reading occurred to Dr. Johnson emendations so happy and so specious that, although brush of time' and 'brow of youth' must be retained as having a clear figurative meaning, were I to print a text of Shakespeare for myself alone, I should read with the old corrector.
I holp him":-The old strong preterite of 'help.'
Twenty-five copies of this Essay, as originally written, were printed for private circulation, at the Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., with the following dedication:
CHARLES ELIOT NORTON,
OF SHADY HILL, CAMBRIDGE, MASS.,
A TOKEN OF HIGH REGARD,
A TRIBUTE TO HIS SCHOLARSHIP AND TASTE,
AND A SLIGHT ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF INTEREST
SPONTANEOUSLY MANIFESTED IN THE LABORS
OF WHICH THIS ESSAY FORMS A PART.
ON THE AUTHORSHIP OF THE THREE PARTS OF KING HENRY THE SIXTH.
has long been a question of much interest in English literature, whether Shakespeare was in any proper sense the author of either of the Three Parts of King Henry the Sixth. More than a hundred years ago, Theobald cast a doubt upon their authenticity,* and Warburton, as his manner was, denied it without reserve and with little reason. Johnson then opposed these conjectures and assertions by a few solemnly uttered truisms, and the brief assertion of opposite opinions upon the merit and style of the plays; † while Farmer, Steevens, and Tyrwhitt skirmished still more lightly upon the same field, the
* "Indeed, tho' there are several master strokes in these three plays, which incontestably betray the workmanship of Shakespeare, yet I am almost doubtful, whether they were entirely of his writing. And unless they were wrote by him very early, I shou'd rather imagine them to have been brought to him as a director of the stage, and so have receiv'd some finishing beauties at his hand. An accurate observer will easily see, the diction of them is more obsolete, and the numbers more mean and prosaical, than in the generality of his genuine compositions." Theobald's Shakespeare, 1733, Vol. IV. p. 110.
"From mere inferiority nothing can be inferred; in the productions of wit there will be inequality. Sometimes judgment will err, and sometimes the matter itself will defeat the artist. Of every authour's works, one will be the best and one will be the worst. Dissimilitude of stile, and heterogeneousness of sentiment may sufficiently show that a work does not really belong to the reputed authour. But in these plays no such marks of spuriousness are found. The diction, the versification, and the figures are Shakespeare's. These plays, considered without regard to characters and incidents, merely as narratives in verse, are more happily conceived and more accurately finished than those of K. John, Richard II., or the tragick scenes of King Henry IV. and V. If we take these plays from Shakespeare, to whom shall they be given? What authour of that age had the same easiness of expression and fluency of numbers?" Johnson's Shakespeare, 1765, Vol. V. p. 225. [It is very doubtful whether Johnson had read a page of either "authour of that age," except Shakespeare, to whom Henry the Sixth might be attributed with any semblance of probability.