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cold which striketh downe into his legs, and taking away the vse and feeling thereof." - Topsell, The History of Fourefooted Beasts (1608).
31. spoke, spoken. Cf. Abbott, § 343. 33. What used as a mode of calling. 37. rabble: used of the company of but without any contemptuous sense.
66 meaner ministers,"
41. vanity, illusion.
42. Presently, immediately, which is its usual sense in E. E. 54. good night your vow, farewell to your vow.
56. liver supposed to be the seat of passion.
57. corollary, a supernumerary (see Glossary). bids Ariel bring more spirits than are necessary rather than have one too few.
60-138. The merits of this masque have been very variously estimated. Capell speaks of it as written against the grain seemingly, being weak throughout, faulty in rhymes, and faulty in its mythology; matters not within the province of Ceres, such as sheep' and 'vines,' are attributed to her." Hartley Coleridge asserts that "there is not much either of melody or meaning in this masque. Prospero, when his spell enforced attendance of the spirits, should have furnished them with smoother couplets and sager discourse." The German critic Hense, on the other hand, declares that the masque of the goddesses in The Tempest is pre-eminent for its lyric beauty." This is an extravagantly favorable verdict, for Iris' opening speech, with its detailed catalogue of country products and scenes, is undeniably prosaic. But the lines describing Venus and her son (87-101) contain some charming images, and are entirely worthy of Shakespeare's pen. In any case it is unwarrantable to assign the masque to another hand, as some critics have done, because the couplets lack smoothness. On the contrary, this is an argument for its genuineness. The rhyming passages in Shakespeare's later plays are few, but where they occur they show, as here, the same characteristics as mark his blank verse of the same period. We have run-on instead of "end-stopped" lines, and more care for energy and incisiveness of expression than for sweetness of melody.
61. vetches: spelled "fetches in the Ff. This is still the common provincial pronunciation of the word.
63. stover" is the term now applied to the coarser hay made of clover and artificial grasses, which is kept for the winter
feed of cattle. . . . In the sixteenth century the word was used apparently to denote any kind of winter fodder except grass hay. (Illustrations follow from Tusser and Drayton.) The word is derived from the Old French, estavoir, estovoir, estouvier, or estouvoir, which denotes, according to Roquefort (Glossaire de la langue Romane), ́provision de tout ce qui est necessaire (Wright).
64. banks, either river banks or, more probably, mounds between the "flat meads,” which would naturally be in the care of Ceres.
pioned and twilled. The explanations of these obscure terms fall into two main groups. (1) They refer to the flowers or grasses growing on the banks. Pioned is interpreted as being the same word as peonied, i.e. covered with peonies. The peony is not suited to make “ chaste crowns for nymphs, but T. S. Baynes asserted on the authority of " a clergyman long resident in the north of Warwick" that the marsh marigold was provincially known as the peony. Doubt has, however, been thrown on the correctness of this assertion. Twilled was declared by Baynes to refer to the sedges on a river's bank, twills being a provincial word for reeds. But, though twills is given by Ray as equivalent to quills or reeds for winding yarn, there is no evidence of its being used for “ reeds in the sense of a plant. Another interpretation of twilled brims is that it means banks fringed with thickly-matted grass, resembling twilled cloth in which the cords appear twisted closely together. (2) The words more probably do not refer to flowers at all, for the banks seem to be spoken of as pioned and twilled" before April “ betrims them. In this case some agricultural operations are alluded to. Pioning is used by Spenser in the sense of digging: Faërie Queene, ii. 10:
with painful pyonings
From sea to sea he heaped a mighty mound.”
Twilled may be connected with the French touiller, to begrime or besmear, and the passage, according to Henley, refers to
the repairing of the brims of banks, which have given way by opening the trenches from whence the banks themselves were at first raised, and facing them up afresh with the mire those trenches contain."
66. broom-groves. The phrase presents a difficulty because grove" does not seem applicable to a shrub like
"broom." But we may compare the place-name, Bromsgrove. Hanmer conjectured brown."
67. dismissèd bachelor, rejected suitor. 68. lass-lorn, forsaken of his mistress.
pole-clipt vineyard, the vineyard in which the vines are twined about the poles. Clip means twine around or embrace," and the passive form of the participle is here used actively.
74. peacocks, the birds that draw the chariot of Juno. 85. freely, liberally.
89. dusky Dis: Pluto, who carried off Ceres' daughter Proserpina.
93. Paphos: a town in Cyprus, which contained a celebrated temple of Venus.
97. Renaissance Englishmen were well versed in the looks and symbols of the classic gods, who often appeared in the masques, Hymen always with his torch. On the other hand entered Hymen, the god of marriage, in a saffron coloured robe, his under vesture white, his sockes yellow, a yellow veile of silke on his left arm, his head crowned with roses and marjoram, in his right hand a torch of pine-tree" (Jonson's Hymenai).
99. waspish-headed, irritable.
100. sparrows. The sparrow was sacred to Venus; hence its association with the goddess and with Cupid in literature. Chaucer in The Parlement of Foules calls the sparrow "Venus' son." In Lyly's song “ Cupid and my Campaspe," the god of love stakes his quiver, bow and arrows, His mother's doves and team of sparrows."
110. plenty, plentiful. Note the imperfect rhyme with 1. 111. 114-115. Compare with these lines, where again Shakespeare surprises the reader by an imperfect rhyme, Spenser's Faerie Queene, iii. 6. 42:
"There is continuall spring, and harvest there
119-120. bold To think, so bold as to think.
121. confines, limits to which they are confined.
123. wonder'd, able to perform wonders. Cf. Abbott, § 294. and a wise. Rowe conjectured "wife," which was adopted
by Pope. But Ferdinand is for the time absorbed in wonder at Prospero's magic power; moreover, wife without any epithet sounds bald after the enthusiastic outburst that precedes.
124. Sweet, now. These words would seem more naturally addressed to Miranda, and it has been suggested that they are a continuation of Ferdinand's speech, which is interrupted by Prospero's silence! " But probably no change is necessary; Shakespeare in the Sonnets addresses his young friend "Will" as sweet love."
Cf. Abbott, § 405.
126. to do, to be done. 128. windring: the reading of the Ff. Probably ing or "wand'ring " is correct.
130. crisp, curled with the ripple of the water. crisp head" of the Severn in 1 Henry IV, i. 3. 110. 138. footing, dancing.
142. avoid, begone.
144. works him strongly, affects him powerfully.
145. distemper'd, discomposed.
146. sort, manner.
150-156. On the likeness between these lines and a passage from Stirling's Tragedy of Darius, cf. Introduction, p. vi.
156. a rack. The phrase, the rack, derived from O.E. réc, smoke (cf. German rauch, smoke), is used of the filmy upper clouds. Cf. Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum: "The winds in the upper region (which move the clouds above, which we call the rack, and are not perceived below) pass without noise." Cf., too, Antony and Cleopatra, iv. 14. 9–10:
A rack, however, to signify a single, small cloud, has not been found, though the plural, "the rackes," occurs in a poem of 1608, and Lydgate uses the phrase every rak." The use of the word here seems to be suggested by the unsubstantial pageant of the marriage masque which has just faded. In Ben Jonson's Hymenæi, a marriage masque introducing Juno and Iris, the upper part of the scene is described as being "all of clouds, and made artificially to swell and ride like the rack." Evidently similar machinery was used here, and the poet applies the word rack to clouds as a constituent part of the machinery of the pageant. "Mark (as one critic has
interpreted it), says Prospero, the little pageant that has just passed before your eyes, and is now vanished into thin air. It is thus that the great Pageant of the world shall itself finally be no more; not even the minutest portion of this vast machinery shall escape the general destruction - not a rack, not an atom shall remain." Malone and Dyce, on account of the difficulty involved in a rack, conjectured that rack was a misspelling of wrack or wreck, and that Prospero asserts that not only will the cloud-capped towers, etc., dissolve, but that their very wrecks or ruins will vanish from human sight. This interpretation, however, is unconvincing.
157. on, of.
158. rounded, either " surrounded" or
finished off with,"
163. beating, agitated.
164. with a thought, as quick as thought.
I thank thee, Ariel, i.e. for the masque so skillfully managed. 165. cleave to, follow closely.
166. meet with, counteract, check.
167. presented, represented, or, more probably, introduced into the masque.
177. Advanced their eyelids.
178. As, as if. Cf. Abbott, § 107.
180. goss, gorse.
182. filthy-mantled, covered with a filthy scum. Cf. King Lear, iii. 4. 138–139: drinks the green mantle of the standing pool."
184. feet. This, the reading of the Ff, does not give a very satisfactory sense, but nothing is gained by the proposed emendations of feat' or 'fear." The passage may mean that the filth at the bottom of the pool was stirred up by their dancing, and rose, smelling vilely, above their feet.
189. Nurture, training.
Cf. note on i. 2. 408.
190. taken, bestowed.
192. cankers, grows corrupt. With the passage we may compare Essex' ungallant speech about Queen Elizabeth: "that she grew old and canker'd, and that her mind was be come as crooked as her carcase."
193. Even to roaring, till they roar.
line may be explained in two ways: (1) lime tree, in which case Prospero refers to a tree of " the line-grove which weatherfends his cell; cf. v. 1. 10, where many editors have altered the Ff reading to lime-grove"; but line was the more usual