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Seb. But, for your conscience
Ant. Ay, sir; where lies that? if it were a kybe, 'Twould put me to my slipper; But I feel not This deity in my bosom: twenty consciences, That stand 'twixt me and Milan, candied be they, And melt, ere they molest! Here lies your brother, No better than the earth he lies upon, If he were that, which now he's like; whom I, With this obedient steel, three inches of it, Can lay to bed for ever:7 whiles you, doing thus,
5 And melt, ere they molest !] I had rather read
Would melt, ere they molest. i. e. Twenty consciences, such as stand between me and my hopes, though they were congealed, would melt before they could molest me, or prevent the execution of my purposes. Johnson.
Let twenty consciences be first congealed, and then dissolved, ere they molest me, or prevent me from executing my purposes.
Malone. If the interpretation of Johnson and Malone is just, and is certainly as intelligible as or ; but I can see no reasonable meaning in this interpretation. It amounts to nothing more, as thus interpreted, than My conscience must melt and become softer than it is, before it molests me; which is an insipidity unworthy of the Poet.
I would read “ Candy'd be they, or melt;" and the expression then has spirit and propriety. Had I twenty consciences, says An. tonio, they might be hot or cold for me; they should not give me the smallest trouble.—Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786. Steevens. 6 No better than the earth he lies upon,] So, in Julius Cæsar:
at Pompey's basis lies along,
With this obedient steel, three inches of it,
“ If he were that which now he's like, that's dead;
“ Can lay to bed,” &c. The words—" that's dead” (as Dr. Farmer observes to me) are evidently a gloss, or marginal note, which had found its way into the text. Such a supplement is useless to the speaker's meaning, and one of the verses becomes redundant by its insertion.
To the perpetual wink for aye might put
Thy case, dear friend,
O, but one word.
[They converse apart. Music. Re-enter ARIEL, invisible. Ari. My master through his art foresees the danger That these, his friends, are in; and sends me forth, (For else his project dies,) to keep them living. 2
[Sings in Gonzalo's ear.
- for aye - ] i. e. for ever. So, in K. Lear:
I am come “ To bid my king and master aye good night.” Steevens. 9 This ancient morsel,] For morsel, Dr. Warburton readsancient moral, very elegantly and judiciously; yet I know not whether the author might not write morsel, as we say a piece of a man. Fohnson. So, in Measure for Measure:
“ How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress ?” Steevens. take suggestion, i. e. Receive any hint of villainy.
Fohnson. So, in Macbeth, Act I. sc. iii:
“ If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
“ Whose horrid image,” &c. Steevens. They'll take suggestion, as a cat laps milk;] That is, will adopt, and bear witness to, any tale you shall invent; you may suborn them as evidences to clear you from all suspicion of having mur. thered the king. A similar signification occurs in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“ Love bad me swear, and love bids me forswear:
“ Teach me, thy tempted subject, to excuse it.” Henley.
- to keep them living.] By them, as the text now stands, Gonzalo and Alonso must be understood. Dr. Johnson objects.
While you here do snoring lie,
His time doth take :
very justly to this passage. “ As it stands, says he, at present, the sense is this. He sees your danger, and will therefore save them.” He therefore would read~" That these his friends are in.” The confusion has, I think, arisen from the omission of a single letter. Our author, I believe, wrote
and sends me forth, “ For else his projects dies, to keep them living." i. e. he has sent me forth, to keep his projects alive, which else would be destroyed, by the murder of his friend, Gonzalo.-The opposition between the life and death of a project appears to me much in Shakspeare's manner. So, in Much Ado about Nothing : “What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage ?"-The plural noun joined to a verb in the singular number, is to be met with in almost every page of the first folio. So, to confine myself to the play before us, edit. 1623:
My old bones akes." Again, ibid:
At this hour “ Lies at my mercy all my enemies." Again, ibid:
“ His tears runs down his beard-," Again :
“ What cares these roarers for the name of king." It was the common language of the time; and ought to be cor. rected, as, indeed, it generally has been in the modern editions of our author, by changing the number of the verb. Thus, in the present instance we should read-For else his projects die, &c. Malone.
I have received Dr. Johnson's amendment. Ariel, finding that Prospero was equally solicitous for the preservation of Alonso and Gonzalo, very naturally styles them both his friends, without adverting to the guilt of the former. Toward the success of Prospero's design, their lives were alike necessary.
Mr. Henley says, that “ By them are meant Sebastian and Antonio. The project of Prospero, which depended upon Ariel's keeping them alive, may be seen, Act III.”
The song of Ariel, however, sufficiently points out which were the immediate objects of his protection. He cannot be supposed to have any reference to what happens in the last scene of the next Act. Steevens.
Alon. Why, how now, ho! awake! Why are you
drawn? 3 Wherefore this ghastly looking? Gon,
What's the matter? Seb. Whiles we stood here securing your repose,
we heard a hollow burst of bellowing
I heard nothing
Heard you this, Gonzalo ?
search For my poor son. Gon.
Heavens keep him from these beasts! For he is, sure,
the island. Alon. Ari. Prospero my lord shall know what I have done:
[Aside. So, king, go safely on, to seek thy son. [Exeunt.
– drawn.?] Having your swords drawn. So, in Romeo and Juliet: “ What, art thou drawn among these heartless hinds ?”
Johnson. 4 That's verity: 'Best stand upon our guard ;] The old copy reads
“ That's verily: 'Tis best we stand upon our guard.” Mr. Pope very properly changed verily to verity: and as the verse would be too long by a foot, if the words 'tis and we were retained, I have discarded them in favour of an elliptical phrase, which occurs in our ancient comedies, as well as in our author's Cymbeline, Act III. sc. iji:
66 'Best draw my sword;" i. e. it were best to draw it. Steevens.
Another part of the Island.
Enter CALIBÀN, with a burden of wood.
A noise of thunder heard.
Cal. All the infections, that the sun sucks up
Trin. Here's neither bush nor shrub, to bear off any weather at all, and another storm brewing; I hear it sing i' the wind: yond' same black cloud, yond' huge
that moe, &c.] i. e. make mouths. So, in the old version of the Psalms :
making moes at me." Again, in the Mystery of Candlemas-Day, 1512:
“ And make them to lye and mowe like an ape." Again, in Sidney's Arcadia, Book III:
“ Ape great thing gave, though he did mowing stand,
“ The instrument of instruments, the hand.” Steevens. So, in Nashe's Apologie of Pierce Penniless, 1593: “_found nobody at home but an ape, that sate in the porch and made mops and mows at him.”. Malone.
6 Their pricks -] i. e. prickles. Steevens.
? —wound with adders,] Enwrapped by adders, wound or twisted about me. Johnson.