« ZurückWeiter »
reading; from no authority, I presume: All the copies, that I have seen, have it; to think but nobly i. e, otherwise than nobly; according to our Author's usage. So, in Much Ado about Nothing ;
I know not; if they speak but truth of her,
These hands shall tear her,
I to bear this,
THEOB,* L. 2. Good wombs have bore bad fons.
Pro. Now, the condition :] Thus have all the editions divi. ded these speeches; but, tho' I have not attempted to regulate them otherwise, I have great suspicion, that our Author plac'd them thus ;
Pro. Good wombs have bore bad fons.—Now, the condition : How could Miranda, that came into this desart island an infant, that had never seen any other creatures of the world, but her father and Caliban, with any propriety be furnish'd to. make such an observation from life, that the ifsue has often degenerated from the parent? But it comes very properly from Prospero, as a short document, by the by, to his daughter; implying, “that she did very well to think with honour « of her ancestor ; for that it was common in life, for good “ people to have bad children.”
THEOB,* Ibid.] Mr. Theobald's reason is frivolous. Profpero tells us, he had educated her more carefully than usual. Would he then suffer her to be ignorant of the most common cases in human life? Yet the Oxford Editor follows Mr. Theobald.
WAR6.* P. 12. L. 12. Wken I have DECK'D the sea.] 1. e. honour'd. But this is a poor thought. The Oxford Editor reads brack’d, which is still poorer. I imagine Shakespeare wrote mock'); i. e. lent the sea this trifling addition of salt-water : for when any thing is given or added, the effect of which is not felt or perceived, it was in the language of that time properly called mocking
Ibid.) To deck the sea, if explained, to honour, adorn, or dignify, is indeed ridiculous, but the original import of the verb deck, is to cover ; so in some parts they yet fay deck the table. This sense may be borne; but perhaps the poet wrote fieck’d, which, I think, is still used of drops falling upon
JOHNSON and Rev. P. 12. L. 29. Pro. Now I arise:- i. e. now ! come to
part of my story, for the sake of which I told the foregoing; namely this, that I have now my enemies in my power; and if I cmit this opportunity, I shall never have another to recover my dukedom. The word is used to usher in a matter of importance. So Richard III. when he comes to the murder of his nephews, fays to Tirrel, -Rise, and lend an ear.
WARB,* Ibid.} I am persuaded not a single instance can be produced where the word arise is used in the signification here attributed to it. In the passage quoted from Rich. III. it may be understood in its natural and obvious meaning. REVISAL.*
P. 13. L. 14.) Dr. Warburton rightly observes, that this Keepiness which Prospero by his art had brought on Miranda, and of which he knew not how foon the effect would begin, makes him question her so often whether she is attentive to his story.
JOHNSON. L. 27.] The beak was a strong pointed body at the head of the antient gallies : it is used here for the forecastle, or the boltsprit.
JOHNSON. P. 14. L. 1. tbe waste.] The part between the quarter-deck and the forecastle.
JOHNSON, L. 15. fever of the mad.] In all the later editions this is changed to fever of the mind, without reason or authority, nor is any notice given of an alteration.
JOHNSON, P. 15. 1. 8. From the fill-vext Bermoothes.) So this word has hitherto been mistakenly written in all the books, There are about 400 inands in North America, the principal of which was call'd Bermuda from a Spaniard of that name who first discover'd them.-But why, fill-rvext Bermudas ? These islands are so surrounded with rocks on all fides, that without a perfect knowledge of the passage, a small vessel cannot be brought to haven. They are subject to violent
storms, fometimes with terrible clattering of thunder, and dismal Aashing of lightning. This, I take it, might be a sufficient foundation for our Author's ufing the epithet ftill-vext.
THEOB.* Ibid.] This is the Spanish pronunciation of Bermudas
HANMER. * Ibid.) Theobald says Bermoo: hes is printed by mistake for Bermudas. No. That was the name by which the i lands then went, as we may see by the voyagers of that time; and by the author's contemporary poets. Fletcher, in his WOMAN PLEASED, The Devil should think of purchasing that eggshell to vi&tual out a witch for the Bermoothes. Smith, in his account of these islands, p. 172. says, that the Bermudas was so fearful to the wbole world, that many called them the Ife of Devils.-P. 174.ato all feamen no less terrible than an incharted den of furies. And no wonder, for the clime was extremely subečt to storms and hurricanes; and the islands were furrounded with scattered rocks lying shallowly hid under the surface of the water.
WARB. P. 15. L. 19. Pro. -Wbat is the time o'tl' day?
Ari. Paft the mid season.
Pro. At least tryo glasses. In this reading, both the question and the answer are made impertinently Prospero asks what time of day it was, when he knew it was two glasses paft the mid seafon. The question and reply should be divided thus,
Pro. Wbat is tbe time o'tb' day?
Úpton and WARB. Ibid.] This paffage needs not be difturbed, it being common to ask a question which the next moment enables us to answer; he that thinks it faulty may easily adjust it thus :
Profp. What is the time o' th' day ? Pasi ibe mid seafon ?
Prosp. The time 'rovirt fix and now JOHNSON. P. 16. L. 3. That the character and conduct of Prospero may be understood, something must be known of the fyftem af enchantment, which supplied all the marvellous found in the romances of the middle ages. This system seems to be
founded on the opinion that the fallen fpirits, having diffe. rent degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulfion, some being confined in hell, fome, as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expresses it, dispersed in air, fome on Earth, fome in water, others in caves, dens or minerals under the earth. Of these some were more malignant and mischievous than others.. The earthy seem to have been thought the moft depraved, and the aerial the least vitiated. Thus Prospero observes of Ariel,
Thou was a spirit too delicate
To aft her earthy and abborr'd commands. Over thefe fpirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed or charms learned. This power was called the Black Art, or Knowlege of Enchantment. The enchanter being, as king James observes in his Demonology, one who commands the devil, wbereas the witch serves bim. Those who thought beft of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held that certain sounds and characters had a phyfical 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 com. pact, and was no more than the spirits voluntarily allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, tho' not equally criminal yet unlawful, and therefore Casaubon, speaking of one who had commerce with spirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the beft kind who dealt with them by way of command. Thus Prospero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always considered as in some measure ensaved to the enchanter, at leaft 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 bate bim rectedly. Of these trifles enough,
Johnson. P. 18. L. 5. The Arangeness.] Why should a wonderful story produce seep? '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
P. 19. L. I. As wicked dew, as e'er
mother brush'd With raven's featber from unwholfome 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 uncuholfome. So Sir John Maundevil, in his travels, p. 334. Edit. Lond. 1725. -at alle tymes brennetbe a veljelle of Cristalle fulle of Bawme for to zeven gode smelle and odour to the emperour, and to voyden awey alle w YKKEDE eyres and corrupciouns. It was a tradition, it seems, that Lord Falkland, Lord C. J. Vaughan, and Mr.-Selden concurred in observing, that Shakespeare had not only found out a new character in his Caliban, but had also devised and adapted a new manner of language for that character. What they meant by it, without doubt, was, that Shakespeare' gave his language a certain grotesque air of the favage and antique ; which it certainly has. But Dr. Bentley took this, of a new language,, literally; for speaking of a phrase in Milton, which he supposed altogether absurd and unmeaning, he says, Satan had not the privilege as Caliban in Shakespeare, to use new pbrase and di&tion unknown to all others--and again to pratije distances is fill a Caliban fiile. Note on Milton's Paradise Loit, .
4. v. 945.. But I know of no such Caliban stile in Shakespeare that hath new phrase and diction unknown to all others.
Ibid.] Whence these criticks derived the notion of a new language appropriated to Caliban I canot find : They cer. tainly mistook brutality of sentiment for uncouthness of words. Caliban had learned to speak of Prospero and his daughter, he had no names for the sun and moon before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own without more understanding than Shakespeare has thought it proper to bestow upon him. His diction is indeed fomewhat clouded by the gloominess of his temper and the malignity of his purposes; but let any other being entertain the fame thoughts and he will find them easily issue in the same expresfions.
JOHNSON. As wicked dew.] Wicked; having baneful qualities. So Spenser says wicked weed, so, in opposition, we say herbs or