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in the romances of the middle ages. This system seems to be founded on the opinion that the fallen spirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulsion, some being confined in hell, some (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expresses it) dispersed in air, some on earth, some in water, others in cares, dens, or minerals under the earth. Of these, some were more malignant and mischievous than others. The earthy spirits seem to have been thought the most depraved, and the aerial the least vitiated. Thus Prospero observes of Ariel:
Thou wast a spirit too delicate
Over these spirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed or charms learned. This power was called The Black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James observes in his Demonology) one who commands the devil, whereas the mtch screes him. Those who thought best of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held, that certain sounds and characters had a physical power over spirits, and compelled their agency; others who condemned the practice, which in reality was surely never practised, were of opinion, with more reason, that the power of charms arose only from compact, and was no more than the spirits voluntary allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, though not equally criminal, yet unlawful; and therefore Causabon, speaking of one who had commerce with spirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the best kind who dealt withthem by way of command. Thus Prospero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always considered as in some measure enslaved to the enchanter, at least for a time, and as serving with unwillingness, therefore Ariel so often begs for liberty; and Caliban observes, that the spirits serve Prospero with no good will, but hate him rootedIy. Johnson.
Line 4O0. (s Argicr.] \. e. Algiers.
452. The strangeness of your story, &c.—] Why should
a wonderful story produce sleep? I believe experience will prove, that any violent agitation of the mind easily subsides in slumber, especially when, as in Prospero's relation, the last images are pleasing. Johnson.
Line 460. —miss him:] i.e. Do without him.
• 474. Cal. As wicked dew, as e'er my mother brush'd With racens feather from unwholesome fen, Drop on you both /] Shakespeare hath very artificially given the air of the antique to the language of Caliban, in order to heighten the grotesque of his character. As here he uses wicked for tamkolesome. Warburton.
Line 474. As wicked dew,—] Wicked; having baneful qualities. Thus Spenser says, wicked weed; so, in opposition, we say herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous Eezoar, and Dryden virtuous herbs. Johnson.
Line 480. —urchins—] i. e. Hedge-hogs.
481. -for that tost of night that they may work,] The
I'ast of night means the night which is naturally empty and deserted, without action. It has a meaning like that of not vasta.
It should be remembered, that, in the pneumatology of former times, these particulars were settled with the most minute exactness, and the different kinds of visionary beings had different allotments of time suitable to the variety or consequence of their employments. During these spaces, they were at liberty to act, but were always obliged to leave off at a certain hour, that they might not interfere in that portion of night which belonged to others. Among these we may suppose urchins to have had a part subjected to their dominion. To this limitation of time Shakspeare alludes again in K. Lear. He begins at curfew, and walks till the second cock. Steevens.
Line 5 1). Charred slave;] This speech, which the old copy gives to Miranda, is very judiciously bestowed by Mr. Theobald on Prospero. Johnson.
The modern editions take this speech from Miranda, and give it to Prospero; though there is nothing in it but what she may speak with the greatest propriety; especially as it accounts for her being enough in the way and power of Caliban, to enable him to make the attempt complained of. The poet himself shews he intended Miranda should be his tutoress; when he makes Caliban say, "I've seen thee in her, my mistress shewed me, thee and "thy dog, and thy bush;" to Stephano, who had just assured the monster he was the man in moon. Holt.
Line 516. When thou didst not, savage,
Know thy awn meaning, ] By this expression,
however defective, the poet seems to have meant When thou
didst utter sounds, to which thou hadst no determinate meaning.
Line Sip. But thy vile race,'] Race, in this place, seems
to signify original disposition, inborn qualities. Steevens.
Line 52". —the red plague—] The red plague was the ancient name of the disease called the Erysipelas, or St. Anthony's fire.
Line 53p. It would controul my dam's god Sctebos,] In Hackluyt's Voyages, we have mention of Setebos being accounted a great devil by the Patagons; from which Shakspeare doubtless formed this part of his Dramatis Personir.
Line 543. Court'sied when you hare, and kiss'd,] As was anciently done at the beginning of some dances. Steevens-.
Line 559. Weeping again ] I. e. Against.
571. ding-dong, bell.] A common chorus to Shakspeare's songs. See Merchant of Venice.
Line 575. That the earth owes: ] To owe, in this place, as
well as in many others, signifies to own. So in Othello.
Line 576. The fringed curtains, &c. ] See also Pericles
Prince of Tyre.
Line 60*. certainly, a maid.] Ferdinand asks her not
whether she was a created being, a question which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dialogue which Prospero's interruption produces, he goes on pursuing his former question.
O, if a virgin,
Line 618. And his brave son, being twain.] This is a slight forgetfulness. Nobody was left in the wreck, yet we find no such character as the son of the duke of Milan. Theobald.
Line 620. control thee.] Confute thee, unanswerably
contradict thee. Johnson.
Line 624. If tar, you have done yourself some wrong:—] Al
luding to his assertion of being king of Naples, which was false; and consequently dishonourable.
Line 658. He's gentle, and not feaiful.] Feaiful signifies both terrible and timorous. In this place it means timorous. She tells her father, that as he is gentle, rough usage is unnecessary, and as he is brave, it may be dangerous. Steevens.
Line 663. come from thy ward;] Desist from any hope of
awing me by that posture of defence. Johnson.
Line 6'81. Thy nerves are in their infancy again,] So Milton; in his Masque at Ludlow-Castle:
"Thy nerves are all bound up in alabaster." Steevens.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 3. our hint of woe] Hint is that which recals to the
memory. The cause that fills our minds with grief is common. Dr. Warburton reads stint of woe. Johnson.
Line 6. our themeofwoe: ] This sudden repetition of
the word " woe," was probably interpolated by the players.
Line 10. Alon. Pr'ythee, peace.] All that follows from hence to this speech of the king's,
You cram these words into my cars against
seems to Mr. Pope to have been an interpolation by the .players. For my part, though I allow the matter of the dialogue to be very poor, I cannot be of opinion that it is interpolated. Theobald.
Line 12. The visitor——] Why Dr. 'Warburton should change tisitor to 'roer for adviser, I cannot discover. Gonzalo gives not only advice but comfort, and is therefore properly called The Visitor, like others who visit the sick or distressed to give them consolation. In some of the Protestant churches there is a kind of officers termed consolators for the sick. Johnson.
Line 44. and delicate temperance.] Temperance here means
Line 46. Temperance was a delicate wench.] In the puritanical times it was usual to christen children from the titles of religious and moral virtues. Steevens.
Line 55. Haw lush, &c.] Lush, i. e. of a dark full colour, the opposite to pale aad faint. Sir T. Hanmee,
Line 79. 'Widow Dido!] The name of a widow brings to their minds their own shipwreck, which they consider as having made many widows in Naples. Johnson.
Line 80. miraculous harp.] Alluding to Amphion's lyre.
—— 101. The stomach of my seme: ] The expression
sense, here used, implies feeling.
Line 129. Weigh'd, &c.] i.e. Paused, or deliberated on. —— 134. Than we bring men to comfort them:] It does not clearly appear whether the king and these lords thought the ship lost. This passage seems to imply, that they were themselves confident of returning, but imagined part of the fleet destroyed. Why, indeed, should Sebastian plot against his brother in the following . scene, unless he knew how to find the kingdom which he was to inherit? Johnson.
Line 157- bound of land, ] i.e. Land-mark.
—— 163. The latter end of hit commonwealth forgets the beginning.] All this dialogue is a fine satire on the Utopian treatises of government, and the impracticable inconsistent schemes therein recommended. Warburton.
Line 170. —all foizon,—] Foison or foyzon signifies plenty, ubertas, not moisture, or juice of grass or other herbs, as Mr. Pope says. Edwards.
Line 239. I am more serious than my custom: You Must be so too, if heed me; which to do, Trebles thee o'er.] i. e. If you pay proper attention to my proposal.
Line 257. Although this lord of weak remembrance,—] This lord, who being now in his dotage, has outlived his faculty of remembering; and who, once laid in the ground, shall be as little remembered himself, as he can now remember other things.
Line 260. For he's a spirit of persuasion,—] Of this entangled sentence I can draw no sense from the present reading, and therefore imagine that the author gave it thus:
For he, a spirit of persuasion, only
Of which the meaning maybe either, that he alone, who is a spirit of persuasion, professes to persuade the king; or that. He only pro