Page images
[ocr errors]

wildly;"_instead of mildly. Again, in this play of Measure for Measure, act v. sc. 1. edit. 1623:"give we your hand;" instead of me.

MALONE. It may be observed once for all, that by attending to the hand-writing of the time, and especially to Shakspere's (little as remains of it), much more may be done towards the restoration of corrupted passages than has hitherto been effected. The attempts of this kind hitherto made, have been chiefly by supposing an inversion of letters by the compositor, as in Macbeth, way of life for MAY of life whereas (not to mention that in this instance it could only happen in the case of capitals) such errors must have proceeded from the compositor's mistake of the manuscript.-See a further example in Theobald's note, act ii. line 316, &c.

HENLEY. 542. -But lest you do repent,] Thus the old copy. But lest you do repent is only a kind of negative imperative-Ne te pæniteat,--and means, repent not on this account.

STEEVENS, I think that a line, at least, is wanting after the first of the Duke's speech. It would be presumptuous to attempt to replace the words; but the sense, I am persuaded, is easily recoverable out of Juliet's answer. I suppose his advice, in substance, to have been nearly this, “ Take care, lest you repent [not so much of your fault, as it is an evil,] as that the sin hath brought you to this shame." Accordingly, Juliet's answer is explicit to this point :

[ocr errors]

« I do

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

66 I do repent me, as it is an evil,

And take the shame with joy... TYRWHITT. 549. There rest.] Keep yourself in this temper.

JOHNSON. 553. -Oh, injurious love,] Mr. Tollet explains the passage thus: “Oh, love, that is injurious in expediting Claudio's death, and that respites me a life, which is a burthen to me worse than death!"

STEEVENS. 557. Enter Angelo.] Promos, in the play already quoted, has likewise a soliloquy previous to the second appearance of Cassandra. It begins thus :

“ Do what I can, no reason cooles desire,
“ The more I strive my fond affectes to tame,
« The hotter (oh) I feele a burning fire
* Within

my breast vaine thoughts to forge and
frame," &c.

STEEVENS. 559. Whilst my intention,.] Nothing can be either plainer or exacter than this expression. But the old blundering folio having it, invention, this was enough for Mr. Theobald to prefer authority to sense.

WARBURTON. Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,

Anchors on Isabel :] We have the same singular expression in Antony and Cleopatra :

“ There would he anchor his aspect, and die

“ With looking on his life.” Invention is used by our author for imagination, in his 203d sonnet:

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

a face

-a face

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

" That overgoes my blunt invention quite" Again, in King Henry V.

O, for a Muse of fire, that would ascend “The brightest heaven of invention." Invention is the reading of both the first and second folio.

MALONE. 560. -Heaven is in my mouth,] The old copy reads,

Heaven in my mouth:
s. e. heaven being in my mouth.
I do not see any need of change.

MALONE. 565. Grown fear'd and tedious;

-] What we go to with reluctance, may be said to be fear'd.

JOHNSON, 567.-with boot, -] Boot is profit, advantage, gain. So, in M. Kyffen's translation of the Andria of Terence, 1588 : “ You obtained this at my hands, and I went about it while there was any boot." Again, in The Pinner of Wakefield, 1599:

“ Then list to me : Saint Andrew be my, booty« But I'll raze thy castle to the very ground."

STEEVENS. change for an idle plume Which the air beats for vain. Oh place! Oh form! &c.] There is, I believe, no instance in Shakspere, or any other author, of " for vain" being used for in vain.” Besides, has the air or wind less effect on a feather than on twenty other things? or rather, is not the reverse of this the truth ? An idle plume assuredly is not that " ever-fixed mark, of which


be But

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

our author speaks elsewhere, “ that looks on tempests, and is never shaken.” The old copy has vaine, in which way a vane or weather-cock was formerly spelt. [See Minshieu's Dict. 1617, in verb.—So also, in Love's Labour's Lost, act iv. sc. 1. edit. 1623, " What vaine ? what weathercock?"] I would therefore read vane.--I would exchange my gravity, says Angelo, for an idle feather, which being driven along by the wind, serves, to the spectator, for a vane or weathercock. So, in The Winter's Tale :

“ I am a feather for each wind that blows." And in The Merchant of Venice we meet a kindred thought :

I should be still “ Plucking the grass, to know where sits the wind." The omission of the article is certainly awkward, but not without example. Thus, in King Lear:

“ Hot questrists after him meet him at gate.” Again, in Coriolanus; “ Go, see him out at gates."

Again, in Titus Andronicus : “ Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon."

Again, in The Winter's Tale : “ 'Pray heartily, he
be at palace!"
Again, in Cymbeline :

can take no greater wound,
" Nor tent, to bottom, that.”
The author, however, might have written,

an idle plume,
" Which the air beats for vane o' the

Oh form,
How often dost thou,''--&c.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The pronoun thou, referring to only one antecedent, appears to me strongly to support such a regulation.

MALONE. The explanation suggested by Mr. Malone ap. proaches, but does not fully reach the object of the poet's allusion. His reference is to the implement on ship-board, denominated the dog-VANE. It consists of a spindle, at the top of which is fastened a string, having, at regular distances upon it, thin slices of cork, with small plumes inserted on their edges. The instrument thus formed, being easily affected by the wind, serves to point out its direction to the person at the helm, whose view of the vanes on the mast's head is liable to be intercepted by the sails. The figure of the dog-vane is here subjoined.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

This implement, in the time of Shakspere, was, I believe, less simple in its construction. A single



« PreviousContinue »