Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

-"ru give him my commission

| and lower messes; those of lower condition sitting below the great To let him there a month, behind the gest

standing salt in the center of the table. Sometimes the messes were Prefixed for's parting.” - Act I., Scene 2.

served at different tables, and seem to have been arranged into fourg The term "gest” is derived from the French giste (which signifies

| as is the case at present in the balls of the inns of Court. both a bed and a lodging-place). Gests were the names of the houses or towns where the king intended to lie every night during his pro.

When he, gress. They were written on a scroll, and probably each of the royal

Wufting his eyes to the contrary, and falling attendants was furnished with a copy.

A lip of much contempt, speeds from me." — Act I., Scene 2.

· This is a stroke of nature worthy of Shakspeare. Leontes had but - “ We should have answered heaven

a moment before told Camillo that he would seem friendly to PolixBoldly, Not guilty ;' - the imposition cleared,

enes, according to his advice; but on meeting him, his jealousy gets Hereditary ours.” — Act I., Scene 2.

the better of his resolution, and he finds it impossible to restrain That is, setting aside original sin, bating the impositiop from his batred. — Mason. the offense of our first parents, we might have boldly protested our innocence.

- " There may be in the cup
" Grace to bont !

A spider steeped." — Act II., Scene 1.
of this make no conclusion ; lest you say
Your queen and I are devils." — Act I., Scene 2.

That spiders were esteemed venomous, appears by the evidence of a

person who was examined in Sir Thomas Overbury's affair: --- “The “Grace to boot!” is an exclamation equivalent to “Give us grace.” Countess wished me to get the strongest poison that I could, &c. AcHermione calls for grace to purify and vindicate her own character cordingly, I bought seven great spiders and cantharides.” and that of the wife of Polixenes, which might seem to be sullied by a species of argument that made them appear to bave led their bus

_“ Would. I knew the villain, bands into temptation.

I would land-dam him." — Act II., Scene 1. - “ Still virginaling

“ Land-dam” is probably one of those words which caprice brought Upon his palm!” – Act I., Scene 2.

into fashion, and which, after a short time, reason and grammar

drove irrecoverably away. It, perhaps, meant no more than “ I will That is, still playing with her fingers, as a girl playing on the vir.

- rid the country of him; condemn him to quit the land." - Jouxson. ginals. Virginals were stringod instruments played with keys like a spinnet, which they resembled in all respects but in shape; spindets

* The very thought of my revenges that way being nearly triangular, and virginals of an oblong square shape, like

Recoil upon me: in himself too mighty; & small pianoforte.

And in his parties, his alliance." - Act II., Scene 3.

This passage is founded on a similar one in the novel of " DORASTUS “ Thou want'st a rough pash, and the shools that I have,

AND FAWXIA:” “Pandosto, although he felt that revenge was a spur To be full like me." — Act I., Scene 2.

to war, and that onvy always proffereth steel, yet he saw Egistus was “ Pash" in Scotland signifies a head. Many words that are now not only of great pưissance and prowess to withstand him, but also used only in that country, were, perhaps, once common to the whole had many kings of his alliance to aid him, if need should serve; for island of Great Britain, or at least to the northern part of England. he married the Emperor of Russia's daughter.” Shakspeare has

made this lady the wife of the Leontes of the play,-- not of the Pol" Affection) thy intention slabs the center." - Act I., Scene 2. ixenes : but it will be seen that Greene, the acknowledged classical

scholar, exhibits as much indifference to chronology as the supposed " Affection" bere means imagination. Intention is earnest consid

illiterate dramatist. eration, eager attention. It is this vehemence of mind which affects Leontes by making him conjure up unreal causes of disquiot; and

« A mankind witch / Hence with her." — Act II., Scene 3. thus, in the poet's language, “stabs him to the center.”

"A" mankind-woman" is said to be a term used in some counties -" Mine honest friend,

to designate a female, violent, ferocious and mischievous. Mr Tollet Will you take eggs for money?”— Act I., Scene 2.

suggests that “mankind” may signify one of a wicked and pernicious

nature; from the Saxon man, mischief or wickedness and kind. This seems to have been a common proverbial expression, used when a man sees himself wronged, and makes no resistance. Its ori « Thou dolard, thou art woman-tired." - Act II., Scene 3. gin is uncertain.

To be " woman-tired” is to be pecked by a woman. The phrase is " Lower messes,

taken from falconry, and is often employed by writers contemporary Perchance are to this business purblind." — Act I., Scene 2. with Shakspeare. So in Decker's "MATCH ME IN LONDON:"The term “ messes” here significs degrees or conditions. The com.

- "The vulture tires pany at great tables were divided according to their rank in to higher

Upon the eagle's heart."

515

Unvenerable be thy hands, if thou

Look thee, a bearing-cloth for a squire's child." Tak'st up the princess by that forced baseness."

Act III., Scene 2 Act II., Scene 3.

A "bearing-cloth” is the fine mantle or cloth with which a child Leontes had ordered Antigonus to “ take up the bastard." Pau- | is usually covered when it is carried to the church to be baptized. lina forbids him to touch the princess under that appellation. * Forced” is “ false," - uttered with violence to truth.

I was told me I should be rich by the fairies: this is some changeling."

Act III., Scene 3. - “For 't is a bastard,

That is, some child left behind by the fairies, in the room of one So sure as this beard's grey.- Act II., Scene 3.

they had stolen. Leontes probably means the beard of Antigonus, which, perhaps both here and on a former occasion, it was intended he should lay

They are never curst but when they are hungry." hold of.

Act III., Scene 3. “ Curst” signifies mischievous. Thus the adage:-“Curst cow have short horns."

The climate's delicate ; the air most sweet ;

Fertile the isle.” - Act III., Scene 1. The Temple of Apollo at Delphi was not in an island, but in Phocis, on the continent. In this instance, also, as in many others, Shakspeare followed the language of his original. In the novel, the qucen desires the king to send "six of his noblemen whom he best trusted, to the Isle of Delphos." The writer was probably thinking of Delos, an island of the Cyclades. The geographical blunder, in considering Bohemia a maritime country, is copied from Greene's narrative.

The time is worth the use on 'l." — Act III., Scene 1. That is, if the event prove fortunate to the queen, the time which we have spent in our journey is worth the trouble it hath cost us. Nearly the same expression is found in Florio's translation of Montaigue's Essays:-" The common saying is, the time we live is worth the money we pay for it.”

- " How he glisters Thorough my rust ! and how his piety

Does my deeds make the blucker." — Act III., Scene 2. This vehement retraction of Leontes, accompanied with the confes. sion of more crimes than he was suspected of, is agreeable to our daily experience of the vicissitudes of violent tempers and the eruptions of minds oppressed with guilt. - Johnson.

- "Impite it not a crime
To me, or my swift passage, that I slide

O'er sixteen ycars.” - TIME, as Chorus.
This trespass in respect of dramatic unity, will appear venial to
those who have read the once famous Lily's “ ENDYMION" (or, as he
himself calls it in the prologue, bis “ MAN IN THE MOoon"). Two acts
of this piece comprise the space of forty years; Endymion lying
down to sleep at the end of tbe second, and waking in the first scene
of the fifth, after a nap of that unconscionable length. Lily bas,
likewise, been guilty of much greater absurdity than Shakspeare
committed; for he supposes that Endymion's hair, features, and per.
son, were changed by age during his sleep, while all the other per-
sopages of the drama remained without alteration. - STEEVENS.

Malone states, that, in the comedy of " PATIENT GRISSEL" (by Decker, Chettle, and Haughton), Grissel is in the first act married, and soon afterwards brought to bed of twins, a son and a daughter; and the daughter, in the fifth act, is produced on the scene as a woman old enough to be married.

Some remarks by Dr. Johnson, on the subject of time, in dramatic representations, may be here appropriately introduced :

"By supposition, as place is introduced, time way be extendel. The time required by the fable elapses, for the most part, between the acts; for, of so much of the action as is represented, the real and poetical duration is the same. If, in the first act, preparations for war against Mithridates are represented to be made in Rome, the event of the war, may, without absurdity, be represented in the catastrophe as happening in Pontus. We know that there is neither war nor preparation for war: We know that we are neither in Rome nor Pontus; that neither Mithridates por Lucullus is before us. The drama exhibits successive imitations of successive actions; and why may not the second imitation represent an action that happened ! years after the first, if it be so connected with it that nothing but time can be supposed to intervene? Time is, of all modes of existence, most obsequious to the imagination; a lapse of years is as easily conceived as a passage of hours. In contemplation, we easily contract the time of real actions, and, therefore, willingly permit it to be contracted when we only see their imitation."

That did but shew thee of a fool, inconstant,

And damnable ungrateful." - Act III., Scene 2. This, by a mode of speech apciently much used, means, “It shewed thee first a fool, then inconstant and ungrateful.” Damnable is here used adverbially.

- “ Though a devil
Would have shed water out of fire ere done 'l."

Act III., Scene 2. That is, a devil would have shed tears of pity, ere he would have committed such an action.

-“I am sorry for 'l:
Au faults I make, when I shall come to know them,

I do repent." — Act III., Scene 2. .
This is another instance of the sudden changes incident to vehe-
ment and ungovernable minds." - Johnson.

I have missingly noted he is of late much retired from court."

Act IV., Szene 1. Meaning, probably, I have observed him at intervals; not constantly or regularly, but occasionally.

There lie; and there thy character." — Act III., Scene 3. The red blood reigns in the winter's pale.” — Act IV., Scene 2. By “ character" is meant the writing afterwards discovered with

That is, the red, the spring blood, now reigns o'er the parts lately Perdita.

under the dominion of winter. The “* English pale," and the “ Irish

pale," were frequent expressions in Shakspeare's time; and the words -“ A savage clamor!

red and pale were used for the sake of the antithesis. Well may I get aboard! This is the chase.” - Act III-, Scene 3. This clamor was the cry of the dogs and hunters: then seeing the

Erery 'leven wether - lods; every tod yields-pound and odd shilbear, Antigonus exclaims, — “This is the chase," or the animal pur.

ling," &c. — Act IV., Scene 2. sued.

| To tod is used as a verb by dealers in wool. Thus, they say,–

“Twenty sheep ought to tod fifty pounds of wool," &c. The meaning, therefore, of the Clown's words is, “Every eleven (wethers) tods; i. e, will produce a tod, or twenty-eight pounds of wool; every tod yields a pound and odd shilling; what then will the wool of fifteen hundred yield ?”

Pins and poking-sticks of steel." — Act IV., Scene 3. These “poking-sticks” were used to set the large ruffs so much in fashion. Stowe states, that "about the sixteenth year of Queen Elizabeth, began the making of steel-poking-sticks; and until that time, all laundresses used setting-sticks made of wood or bone."

Three-man song men all." — Act IV., Sceno 2.

They call him Doricles; and he boasts himself That is, singers of catches in three parts.

To have a worthy feeding." - Act IV., Scene 3.

A “worthy-feeding," probably signifies a tract of pasturage not inA fellow, sir, that I have known to go about with trolmy-dames." considerable,” which the old shepherd considers not unworthy of his

Aet IV., Scene 2. supposed daughter's fortune." This is probably a corruption of the French term, trou madamo ;

10: Here's another bollad, Of a fish that appeared upon the coast,” &c. the game much resembles that called bagatelle. The old English title

Act IV., Scene 3. of this sport was “pigeon-boles," as the arches in the machine, through which the balls are rolled, resemble the cavities made for In 1604, was entered on the books of the Stationer's Company, “A pigeons in a dove-house.

strange reporte of a monstrous fish, that appeared in the form of a

woman, from her waist upward, seene in the sea." To this it is "Jog on, jog on, the fool-path way,

highly probable that Shakspeare alludeg. In Sir Henry Herbert's

office-book, which contains a register of all the shows of London, And merrily hent the stile-a."- Act IV,, Scene 2.

from 1023 to 1642, is entered, * A license to Francis Sherret, to show The lines in the text form part of a song first printed in “ An An. a strange fish for one year, from the 10th of March, 1635." tidote against Melancholy, made up in Pills, compounded of witty Ballads, jovial Songs, and merry Catches" (1661). To "hont the “ Thal have made themselves all men of hair.” — Act IV., Scene 3. stile," is to take the stile; from the Saxon hentan.

“Men of hair” are hairy mon or satyrs. A dance of satyrs was

no unusual entertainment in the middle ages. At a great festival - “ But that our feasts

celebrated in France in 1392, the king and some of the nobles personIn every mess have folly, and the feeders

ated satyrs dressed in close habits, tufted or shagged all over, to imi. Digest it with a custom, I should blush

tato hair. They began a wild dance, and in the tumult of their To see you so attired; sworn, I think,

merriment, one of them went too near a candle, and set fire to his To shew myself a glass.” — Act IV., Scene 2.

satyr's garb; the flame ran instantly over the loose tufts, and spread Perdita probably means, that the prince, by the rustic habit he itself to the dress of those that were next him ; a great pumber of wears, seems as if he had sworn to shew her, as in a glass, how she the dancers were cruelly scorched, being neither able to throw off ought to be dressed, instead of being “ 80 goddess-like pranked up:" their coats nor extinguish them. The king had set hiinself in the lap and were it not for the license and folly which custom had made fa of the Duchess of Berry, who threw her robe over him and saved him. miliar at such feasts as that of sheep-shearing, when mimetic sports | The dress of the rustic dancers mentioned in the text was, perwore allowable, she should blush to see him so attired.

haps, made of goat's skin. Cervantes mentions, in the preface to his

plays, that in the time of an early Spanish writer, Lope du Rueda, « For you there's rosemary and rue; these keep

" all the furniture and utensils of the actor consisted of four shop

herds' jerkins with the wool on, and adorned with gilt leather trim. Seeming and savor all the winter long : Grace and remembrance be to you both.

ming; four beards and periwigg, and four pastoral crooks: little more Act IV., Scene 3.

or less." Probably a similar shepherd's jerkin was used in Shaks

peare's theatre. Ophelia distributes the same plants, and accompanies them with

I was not much a feard,” &c. -- Act IV., Scene 3. similar expressions :“There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. There's rue for you; we may call it herb of grace." The qualities of The character of Perdita is here finely sustained. To have made retaining “ seeming and savor" appear to form the reason why these her quite astonished at the king's discovery of himself, had not boplants were considered emblematical of grace and remembrance. come her birth; and to have given her presence of mind to have

made this reply to the king, had not become her education. - WAR. - " The fairest flowers of the scason,

BURTON.
Are our carnations and streaked gillyflowers,
Which some call nature's bastards." - Act IV., Scene 3.

" Some hangman must put on my shroud, and lay me

Where no priest shovels-in dust." — Act IV., Scene 3. The variegated gillyflowers, or carnations, being considered as a pro-| Before the reform of the burial-service in the time of Edward VI., duce of art, were properly called nature's bastards; and being it was the custom for the priest to throw earth on the body in the streaked white and red, Perdita considers them a proper emblem of a form of a cross, and then sprinkle it with holy water. painted or immodest woman.

The which shall point you forth, at every sitting,
- “ Pale primroses,

What you must say." - Act IV., Scene 3.
That die unmarried; ere they can behold
Bright Phæbus in his strength.Act IV., Scene 3.

“Every sitting" means, at every audience you shall have of the

king and council: the council days being formerly called, in common The reason why the primrose is said to " die unmarried” is, accor

speech, the sitting. Howell, in one of his letters, says: -"My lord ding to Warton, “because it grows in the shade, uncherished or un. president hopes to be at the next sitting in York." seen by the gun, who was supposed to be in love with some sort of flowers."

I think affliction may subdue the cheek,

But not take in the mind.” — Act IV., Scene 3. “He 80 chants to the sleeve-hand, and the work about the square on't." To “take in” anciently meant to conquer, to get the better of.

Act IV., Scene 3. As in " ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA : The “ sleeve-hand” was the cuff or wristband; the “square" signi

“ He could so quickly cut the Ionian seas, fied the work about the bosom.

And take in Toryne."

Not a ribbon, glass, pomander," &c.— Act IV., Scene 3. “ A piece many years in doing, and now newly performed by the

rare Italian master, Julio Romano." — Act V., Scene 2. A “pomander” was a little ball of perfumed paste, worn in the pocket, or in various parts of the person as an antidote to infection. Painted statues appear to have been not uncommon in Shakspeare's Various recipes for making them may be found in old books of day. In Ben Jonson's "MAGNETIC LADY," Doctor Rut says, housewifery.

- "All city statues must be painted,

Else they be worth nought in their subtle judgments." As if my trinkets had been hallowed." — Act IV., Scene 3. This alludes to the custom of selling beads, &c., as made particu “ Would beguile nature of her custom." — Act V., Scene 2. ularly efficacious by the touch of some relio.

That is, of her trade; would draw nature's customers from her. “A great man, I'll warrant: I know by the picking on's teeth.

i “ Let boors and franklins say it, I'll swear it." - Act V., Scene 2 Act IV., Scene 3.

A“franklin " was a freeholder, or yeoman; a man above a villain, It seems that to pick the teeth was, at this time, a mark of somo

but not a gentleman. pretension to greatness or elegance. Falconbridge, speaking of the traveler, says,

" I'U swear to the prince, thou art a tall fellow of thy hands." “ He and his toothpick at my worship's mess."

Act V., Scene 2. In Sir Thomas Overbury's "Characters” we find,-“If you find not The phrase, “tall fellow” was used to signify a bold, courageous a courtier here, you shall in Paul's, with a toothpick in his hat, a fellow. “Of his hands," probably meant, skillful in the use of his cape-cloak, and a long stocking."

hands.

The hottest day prognostication proclaims.” — Act IV., Scene 3.

That is, the hottest day foretold in the almanac. Almanacs were, in Shakspeare's time, published under this title:-“An Almanac and Prognostication made for the year of our Lord God, 1595."

Come, follow us; we'll be thy good masters." — Act V., Scene 2.

The Clown conceits himself already a man of consequence et court. It was the fashion for an inferior or suitor to beg of the great man, after his humble commendations, that he would be a good master" to him. Many ancient letters run in this fashion. Thus Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, when in prison, in a letter to Lord Cromwell (in the time of Henry VIII.), says:-"Furthermore, I beseech you to be good master unto one in my necessities; for I have neither shirt nor suit, nor yet other clothes that are necessary for me to wear."

Being something gently considered, I'll bring you where he is aboard."

Act IV., Scene 3. Autolycus means, "I, having a gentlemanlike consideration given me, (i.e. a bribe), will bring you,” &c.

The fixure of her eye has motion in 't." - Act V., Scene 3.

The meaning is, though her eye be fixed, yet it seems to bave motion in it: that tremulous motion which is perceptible in the eye of a living person, how much soever one endeavors to fix it.

" What were more holy,
Than to rejoice the former queen is well ?

Act V., Scene 1.

By "well,” is here meant dead. In "ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA,".
the phrase is said to be peculiarly applicable to the dead :-
“Mess. First, madam he is well.

Cleo. Why, there's more gold; but sırrah, mark:
We use to say, 'The dead are well;' bring it to that,
The gold I give thee will I melt, and pour
Down thy ill-uttering throat."
And in “ ROMEO and JULIET.” Balthazar speaking of Juliet, whom
he imagined to be dead, says, –

“ Then she is well, and nothing can be ill."

In the noyel of “ DORASTUS and FAWNIA," the King of Sicilia, whom Shakspeare named Leontes, is called Egistus; Polixenes, King of Bo. hemia, -Pandosto; Mamillius, Prince of Sicilia, - Garinter; Florizel, Prince of Bohemia, - Dorastus; Camillo, - Franion; Old Shepherd, Porrus; Hermiono,- Bellaria; Perdita, - Fawnia. The parts of Antigonus, Paulina, and Autolycus, are of the poet's own invention; but many circumstances of the novel are omitted in the play.STEEVENS.

The old shepherd which stands by, like a weather-bitten conduit.

Act V., Scene 2 The “WINTER'S TALE” is as appropriately named as the “ MIDSUMConduits representing the human figure were formerly not uncom

MER NIGHT'S DREAM." It is one of those tales which are peculiarly calmon. The same image is found in “ROMEO and JULIET: ”

culated to beguile the dreary leisure of a long winter evening; which

are even attractive and intelligible to childhood; and which, ani“How now? a conduit, girl? what, still in tears!

mated by fervent truth in the delineation of character and passion, Evermore showering?"

invested with the decoration of a poetry lowering itself, as it were, “Weather-bitten” was in the third folio changed to "weather to the simplicity of the subject, transport even manhood back to the beaten;" but there does not seem to be any necessity for the change. golden age of imagination. The calculation of probabilities has nothHamlet says, "The air bites shrewdly;" and the Duke, in “As ing to do with such wonderful and fleeting adventures, ending at last You LIKE IT,” speaking of the wind, says, -"When it bites and in general joy: and accordingly, Shakspeare has here taken the greatblows upon my body.” Weather-bitten, therefore, means corroded l est liberties with anachronisms and geograpbical errors, - SCULEGEL by the weather.

« ZurückWeiter »