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"Do with so good a wife,' only in the folio." COLLIER.
It is absolutely necessary to adopt here (as the other modern editors do the reading of the folio.
SCENE 2.-C. p. 629.
“ of one, whose hand,
Richer than all his tribe." “The meaning is very clear, the allusion obscure ; and the probability is that Shakespeare referred to some known fable of the time, now lost." Collier.
“ The word tribe," observes Boswell,“ is not, as Mr. Malone [who here printed “Judean") seemed to suppose, peculiarly applicable to the Jews. It meant in Shakspeare's time, as we learn from Cokeram, a kindred, and it is constantly used at this day in speaking of the Indians.”
It was rather unnecessary to refer to Cokeram, since, in the present play, Iago says,
• Good heaven, the souls of all my tribe defend
Act iii. sc. 3. Boswell proceeds ;
The Jews are not in general described as willing to throw away what is valuable; and it is not likely that Shakspeare would allude to an anecdote of a single individual, of which perhaps none of his auditors had ever heard ; but in our author's time, when voyages of discovery to America were common, each putter out of five for one was probably stimulated by a description of the riches he might find there, and of the facility with which the Indians base, on account of their ignorance, would part with them. I will only add, that two succeeding poets have given the Indians the same character :
So the unskilfull Indian those bright gems
Habington's Castara—To Castara weeping. So, also, in The Woman's Conquest by Sir Edward Howard :
Behold my queen-
Then Indians do a pearl that ne're did know
Its value.'” The latter part of the above note (the most valuable of Boswell's contributions to the illustration of Shakespeare) proves, I think, decidedly, that Othello alludes to no particular story, but to “ the Indian” as generally described: and to the passages just cited, the following may be added ; “ The wretched Indian spurnes the golden Ore.”
Drayton's Legend of Matilda, sig. Ff7,
Poems, 8vo, n. d.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
[Vol. viii. Collier; vol. ii. Tragedies, Pict. ed. KNIGHT.* ]
Scene 1.-C. p. 26 ; K. p. 289.
“ But all the charms of love,
Let witchcraft join with beauty, lust with both :" &c.
be doubted whether ‘wand' and 'lip' ought not to be united by a hyphen : wand' probably has reference to Cleopatra's power of enchantment—that her lip is as potent as a magician's wand; and this construction seems warranted by what immediately follows, · Let witchcraft join with beauty. “Wand' is the 'witchcraft,' and • lip' the beauty. The conjectures that 'wand' is misprinted for fond, or warm, seem little better than idle ; although, as Mr. B. Field suggests, waned or wan'd might, possibly, be the true reading.” COLLIER.
What Mr. Collier says here about Cleopatra's “ wand-lip,” i. e. lip as potent as a magician's wand, cannot be allowed the merit of originality ; at least, it had been previously said in that mass of folly, ignorance, and conceit, Jackson's Shakespeare's Genius Justified; and one can hardly suppose that such a wild fancy would spring up spontaneously in the brains of two commentators. Not even in Lycophron, the most enigmatical of poets, is there any expression half so far-fetched or so strangely-compounded as “wand-lip”! When Mr. Collier mentioned, as something new, Mr. B. Field's suggestion that “waned or wan'd might, possibly, be the true reading,” was he ignorant that both Malone and Mr. Knight had printed "wan'd"?
Whether the word be written wand or wan'd, it is evidently the past participle of the verb wane : Cleopatra herself has previously touched on the decrease of her beauty;
* See note, p. 158.
" think on me,
Act i. sc. 5.
" oh, ruby lips,
Act iv. sc. 1.
SCENE 2.-C. p. 32. “ Ant. You wrong this presence; therefore, speak no more. Eno. Go to then; your considerate stone."
“ It may be a question, whether Enobarbus means to call Antony 'a considerate stone,' or to say merely that he will be silent as a stone. If the former, we must, with Johnson, change your' of the folios to you; but the latter affords a clear meaning without any alteration of the ancient text.” COLLIER.
Enobarbus call Antony a stone ! he would as soon have ventured to throw one at him. Johnson's proposed alteration, of which Mr. Collier cites only a part, bad as it certainly was, did not involve such an absurdity.
SCENE 5.-C. p. 41; K. p. 294.
a hand, that kings
Mess. First, madam, he is well.
Why, there's more gold.
To say, the dead are well : bring it to that,” &c.
“ Cleo. Why, there's more gold. But, sirrah, mark; we use To
say the dead are well : bring it to that,” &c.
SCENE 5.-C. p. 44. Cleo, O! that his fault should make a knave of thee, That art not! What! thou’rt sure of?— Get thee hence :" &c.
“Our punctuation of this disputed passage is that of Monck Mason; but he wished also to read, “What! thou’rt sure of t?'a slight change, indeed, but as it is not absolutely necessary, we do not carry our variation from the old copies farther than changing the pointing : in the folio, 1623, it stands,
• O that his fault should make a knave of thee,
That art not what thou’rt sure of.' This, it must be admitted, is far from intelligible. By the words,
What! thou’rt sure of?' Cleopatra intends to inquire of the messenger once more, whether he is certain of the tidings he has brought. The meaning of the first part of the passage, as we have given it, is very evident.” COLLIER.
Monck Mason's punctuation, with the change of “ of” to of't,” afforded at least a sense: but Mr. Collier, by adopting that punctuation without changing “of”
“of” to “of't,” has made the passage mere nonsense.
I should strongly protest against any deviation from the old eds. here. " That art not what thou’rt sure of” may mean, ' That art not the evil tidings of which thou givest me such assurance.'
SCENE 9.-C. p. 77.
Egypt, thou knew'st too well,
Command me.” Read, with the other modern editors, “ Thy." In such a case as this the authority of the old eds. is nothing.
SCENE 11.-C. p. 82; K. p. 311.