Page images
PDF
EPUB

Dost thou drink tears, that thou provok’st such

weeping ?
What may a heavy groan advantage thee ?
Why hast thou cast into eternal sleeping
Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see ?

Now Nature cares not for thy mortal vigour",
Since her best work is ruin'd with thy rigour.

Here overcome, as one full of despair,
She vaild her eye-lids ?, who, like sluices, stopp'd
The crystal tide that from her two cheeks fair
In the sweet channel of her bosom dropp'd ;
But through the flood-gates breaks the silver

rain,
And with his strong course opens them again.

O how her eyes and tears did lend and borrow!
Her eyes seen in the tears 4, tears in her eye;

8 — drink tears,] So, in Pope's Eloisa :
“ And drink the falling tears each other sheds."

STEEVENS. Rowe had before adopted this expression in his Jane Shore, 1713:

“ Feed on my sighs, and drink my falling tears." So also King Henry VI. Part III. :

"- for every word I speak,

Ye see I drink the water of mine eyes." MALONE. 9 Those eyes that taught all other eyes to see ?] So, in Romeo and Juliet : “O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright.”

MALONE, 1- MORTAL vigour,] Deadly strength. Malone.

· She vail'her eye-lids:-) She lowered or closed her eyelids. So, in Hamlet i

“Do not for ever with thy vailed lids

" Seek for thy noble father in the dust." Malone. 3 But through the FLOOD-Gates breaks the silver rain,] So, in King Henry IV. Part I. :

" For tears do stop the flood-gates of her eyes." Steevens. 4 — seen in the tears-) So the quarto 1593, and the copy

Both crystals, where they view'd each other's sorrow;
Sorrow, that friendly sighs sought still to dry;

But like a stormy day, now wind, now rain,
Sighs dry her cheeks, tears make them wet again.

Variable passions throng her constant woe,
As striving who should best become her grief ;
All entertain'd, each passion labours so,
That every present sorrow seemeth chief,

But none is best ; then join they all together,
Like many clouds consulting for foul weather.

By this, far off she hears some huntsman holla;
A nurse's song ne'er pleas'd her babe so well!
The dire imagination she did follow?
This sound of hope doth labour to expell;

For now reviving joy bids her rejoice,
And flatters her, it is Adonis' voice.

Whereat her tears began to turn their tide,
Being prison'd in her eye, like pearls in glass';

of 1596. In that of 1600, we find—in her tears, which reading has been followed in the subsequent editions. Malone.

s like a stormy day, now wind, now rain,] In this stanza we meet with some traces of Cordelia's sorrow :

“ — you have seen

“ Sunshine and rain at once," &c. Steevens. So also, in All's Well that Ends Well :

I am not a day of the season,
“For thou may'st see a sunshine and a hail

“ In me at once.” MALONE. 6 As striving wh0–1 So the earliest copy 1593, and the edition of 1596. In the edition of 1600, the personification not being perceived, who was changed for which ; and that reading was followed in all the subsequent editions. Malone,

7 The dire imagination she did follow] So the quarto 1593, and the 16mo. 1596. In both these copies the word is spelt dyre, for which the edition of 1600 has given drye. The construction is, “this sound of hope doth labour to expel the dire imagination," &c. Malone. 8 - like PEARLS in Glass ;] So, in King Lear :

“Like pearls from diamonds dropt.” Steevens.

Yet sometimes falls an orient drop beside,
Which her cheek melts, as scorning it should pass,

To wash the foul face of the sluttish ground,
Who is but drunken, when she seemeth drown'd.

O hard-believing love, how strange it seems
Not to believe, and yet too credulous !
Thy weal and woe are both of them extremes;
Despair and hope make thee ridiculous :

The one doth flatter thee in thoughts unlikely,
In likely thoughts' the other kills thee quickly.

Now she unweaves the web that she hath wrought;
Adonis lives, and death is not to blame;
It was not she that call’d him all to nought;
Now she adds honours? to his hateful name;

She clepes him king of graves, and grave for kings;
Imperious supreme of all mortal things.

9- the sluttish GROUND,
Who is but DRUNKEN,] So, in King Richard II. :

" England's lawful carth,
“ Unlawfully made drunk with innocent blood.”

MALONE. * In likely thoughts-] Thus the first copy1593. In that of 1596, we find—" The likely thoughts,” the compositor having caught the word The from the preceding line ; an error not unfrequent at the press. This being found nonsense; in the edition of 1600, With was substituted at random for The: and such is the ordinary progress of corruption in the second folio edition of our author's plays, and in many of the later quarto editions ; that is, in all which followed the first quarto of each play. Malone

2 Now she adds HONOURS -) So the quarto 1593, and 16mo. of 1596; for which the edition of 1600 has given honour; and the corruption was adopted in all the subsequent copies. The various honours of death are enumerated in a subsequent stanza :

“ Tell him of trophies, statues, tombs and stories,

“ His victories, his triumphs, and his glories." Malone. 3 IMPERIOUS supreme -] So the first quarto, and the edition of 1596. That of 1600 reads Imperial. The original is the true reading, and had formerly the same meaning. So, in Troilus and Cressida:

“ I thank thee, most imperious Agamemnon."

No, no, (quoth she,) sweet Death, I did but jest;
Yet pardon me, I felt a kind of fear,
When as I met the boar 4, that bloody beast,
Which knows no pity, but is still severe;

Then, gentle shadow, (truth I must confess)
I rail'd on thee, fearing my love's decease.

'Tis not my fault : the boar provok'd my tongue;
Be wreak'd on him, invisible commanders;
'Tis he, foul creature, that hath done thee wrong;
I did but act, he's author of thy slander:

Grief hath two tongues, and never woman yet
Could rule them both, without ten women's wit.

Thus hoping that Adonis is alive,
Her rash suspect she doth extenuate?;
And that his beauty may the better thrive,
With death she humbly doth insinuate 8 :

Tells him of trophies, statues, tombs', and stories
His victories, his triumphs, and his glories.

From the same ignorance of Shakspeare's language imperial was substituted for imperious in Hamlet, and various other plays of our author. MALONE,

When as I met the boar, -] When as and when were used indiscriminately by our ancient writers. Malone. s invisible commander ;] So, in King John:

Death, having prey'd upon the outward parts,
“ Leaves them invisible; and his siege is now

“ Against the mind." MALONĖ. 6 I did but act, he's author of thy SLANDER:] I was but an agent and merely ministerial : he was the real mover and author of the reproaches with which I slandered thee. Malone.

7 Her rash suspect she doth extenuate;} Suspect is suspicion. So, in our author's 70th Sonnet :

The ornament of beauty is suspect.” MALONE. 8 With death she humbly doth INSINUATE;) To insinuate meant formerly, to sooth, to flatter. To insinuate with was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time. So, in Twelfth Night:

“ Desire him not to flatter with his lord.” MALONE.' Tells him of statues, trophies, TOMBS,] As Venus is here bribing Death with Batteries to spare Adonis, the editors could not

O Jove, quoth she, how much a fool was I,
To be of such a weak and silly mind,
To wail his death, who lives, and must not die,
Till mutual overthrow of mortal kind !

For he being dead, with him is beauty slain?,
And, beauty dead, black chaos comes again'.

Fie, fie, fond love, thou art so full of fear,
As one with treasure laden, hemm'd with thieves ;
Trifles, unwitnessed with eye or ear,
Thy coward heart with false bethinking grieves 4.

help thinking of pompous tombs. But tombs are no honour to Death, considered as a being, but to the parties buried. I much suspect our author intended :

“ Tells him of trophies, statues, domes —," Theobald, The old copy is undoubtedly right. Tombs are in one sense honours to Death, inasmuch as they are so many memorials of his triumphs over mortals. Besides, the idea of a number of tombs naturally presents to our mind the dome or building that contains them ; so that nothing is obtained by the change.

As Mr. Theobald never published an edition of Shakspeare's poems, the reader may perhaps wonder where his observations upon them have been found. They are inserted in the second volume of Dr. Jortin's Miscellaneous Observations on Authors, 8vo. 1731. Malone. !— and STORIES

His victories, his triumphs, and his glories.] This verb is also used in The Rape of Lucrece:

“ He stories to her ears her husband's fame ," Again, in Cymbeline : “How worthy he is, I will leave to appear hereafter, rather than story him in his own hearing." Malone.

2 For he being dead, with him is beauty slain,] So, in Romeo and Juliet :

“O, she is rich in beauty; only poor,

" That, when she dies, with beauty dies her store.” Malone. 3 And, beauty dead, BLACK CHAOS COMES AGAIN.] The same expression occurs in Othello :

“ Excellent wretch ! Perdition catch my soul,
• But I do love thee! and when I love thee not,

Chaos is come again.” Malone. 4 Trifles, unwitnessed with eye or ear,

Thy coward heart with false bethinking grieves.] So, in Othello :

« PreviousContinue »