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Cer. Earth's increase,? and foison plenty, 8
Barns, and garners never empty;
Ceres' blessing 80 is on you.
Spirits, which by mine art
7 Earth's increase, and foison plenty, &c.] All the editions, that I have ever seen, concur in placing this whole sonnet to Juno ; but very absurdly, in my opinion. I believe every accurate read. er, who is acquainted with poetical history, and the distinct of. fices of these two goddesses, and who then seriously reads over our author's lines, will agree with me, that Ceres's name ought to have been placed, where I have now prefixed it. Theobald.
And is not in the old copy. It was added by the editor of the second folio. Earth's increase, is the produce of the earth. The expression is scriptural: “ Then shall the earth bring forth her increase, and God, even our God, shall give us his blessing." Psalm lxvii. Malone.
This is one among a multitude of emendations which Mr. Malone acknowledges to have been introduced by the editor of the second folio; and yet, in contradiction to himself, in his Prolegomena, he depreciates the second edition, as of no importance or value. Fenton.
foison plenty;] i. e. plenty to the utmost abundance ; foison signifying plenty. See p. 54. Steevens. 9 Harmonious charmingly:] Mr. Edwards would read:
“ Harmonious charming lay!' For though (says he) the benediction is sung by two goddesses, it is yet but one lay or hymn. I believe, however, this passage appears, as it was written by the poet, who, for the sake of the verse, made the words change places.
We might read (transferring the last syllable of the second word to the end of the first) “ Harmoniously charming."
Ferdinand has already praised this aerial Masque, as an object of sight; and may not improperly or inelegantly subjoin, that the charm of sound was added to that of visible grandeur. Both Juno and Ceres are supposed to sing their parts. Steevens. A similar inversion occurs in A Midsummer Night's Dream:'.
“ But miserable most to live unlov'd." Malone.
I have from their confines call’d, to enact
Let me live here ever;
[Juno and CERES whisper, and send IRIS on employment. Pro.
Sweet now, silence;
Enter certain Nymphs.
Nymphs, in a graceful dance; towards the end whereof, PROSPERO starts suddenly, and speaks ; after which, to a strange, hollow, and confused noise, they heavily vanish.
Pro. (aside.] I had forgot that foul conspiracy Of the beast Caliban, and his confederates, Against my life; the minute of their plot Is almost come.-[To the Spirits.] Well done ;-avoid;
- a wonder'd father,] i.e. a father able to perform, or produce such wonders. Steevens.
2 Leave your crisp channels,] Crisp, i. e. curling, winding, Lat. crispus. So, Henry IV. Part I. Act I. sc. iv. Hotspur, speaking of the river Severn:
“ And hid his crisped head in the hollow bank.” Crisp, however, may allude to the little wave or curl (as it is commonly called) that the gentlest wind occasions on the surface of waters. Steevens.
Fer. This is most strange; your father's in some passion That works him strongly. Mira.
Never till this day,
Pro. You do look, my son, in a mov'd sort,
3 And, like the baseless fabrick of this vision, &c.] The exact pe. riod at which this play was produced is unknown: it was not, however, published before 1623. In the year 1603, the Tragedy of Darius, by Lord Sterline, made its appearance, and there I find the following passage:
“ Let greatness of her glassy sceptres vaunt,
“ Not sceptres, no, but reeds, soon bruis'd, soon broken; “ And let this worldly pomp our wits enchant,
“ All fades, and scarcely leaves behind a token.
“ With furniture superfluously fair,
“ Evanish all, like vapours in the air.” Lord Sterline's play must have been written before the death of Queen Elizabeth, (which happened on the 24th of March, 1603,) as it is dedicated to Fames VI. King of Scots.
Whoever should seek for this passage (as here quoted from the 4to. 1603) in the folio edition, 1637, will be disappointed, as Lord Sterline made considerable changes in all his plays, after their first publication. Steevens.
all which it inherit,] i. e. all who possess, who dwell upon it. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“ This, or else nothing, will inherit her.” Malone. $ And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,] Faded means here -having vanished; from the Latin, vado. So, in Hamlet:
" It faded on the crowing of the cock.” To feel the justice of this comparison, and the propriety of the epithet, the nature of these exhibitions should be remembered. The ancient English pageants were shows, exhibited on the reception of a prince, or any other solemnity of a similar kind. They were presented on occasional stages, erected in the streets. Originally, they appear to have been nothing more than dumb shows;
Leave not a rack behind:6 We are such stuff
but, before the time of our author, they had been enlivened, by the introduction of speaking personages, who were characteristically habited. The speeches were sometimes in verse; and, as the procession moved forward, the speakers, who constantly bore some allusion to the ceremony, either conversed together in the form of a dialogue, or addressed the noble person, whose presence occasioned the celebrity. On these allegorical spectacles very costly ornaments were bestowed. See Fabian, II. 382. Warton's Hist. of Poet. II. 199, 202.
The well-known lines before us may receive some illustration from Stowe's account of the pageants, exhibited in the year 1604, (not very long before this play was written,) on King James, his Queen, &c. passing triumphantly from the Tower to Westminster; on which occasion seven gates or arches were erected, in different places, through which the procession passed.Over the first gate“ was represented the true likeness of all the notable houses, Towers and steeples, within the citie of London.”“ The sixt arche, or gate of triumph was erected above the Conduit in Fleete-Streete, whereon the Globe of the world was seen to move, &c. At Temple-bar, a seaventh arche or gate was erect. ed, the fore-front whereof was proportioned in every respect like a TEMPLE, being dedicated to Janus, &c.—The citie of Westminster, and dutchy of Lancaster, at the Strand had erected the invention of a Rainbow, the moone, sunne, and starres, advanced between two Pyramides," &c. ANNALS, p. 1429, edit. 1605.
Malone. 6 Leave not a rack behind:] “The winds (says Lord Bacon) which move the clouds above, which we call the rack, and are not perceived below, pass without noise." I should explain the word rack somewhat differently, by calling it the last fleeting vestige of the highest clouds, scarce perceptible, on account of their distance and tenuity. What was anciently called the rack, is now termed by sailors-the scud.
The word is common to many aythors contemporary with Shakspeare. So, in the Faithful Shepherdess, by Fletcher:
shall I stray
“ The sailing rack.”.
“ Beating the clouds into their swiftest rack.". Again, in the prologue to the Three Ladies of London, 1584:
“ We list not ride the rolling rack that dims the chrystal
skies." Again, in Shakspeare's 33d Sonnet:
“ Anon permits the basest clouds to ride
“ With ugly rack on his celestial face.” Again, in Chapman's version of the twenty-first Iliad:
the cracke “ His thunder gives, when out of heaven it tears atwo his
As dreams are made of,” and our little life
Here the translator adds, in a marginal note, “ The racke or motion of the clouds, for the clouds." Again, in Dryden's version of the tenth Æneid:
the doubtful rack of heaven “ Stands without motion, and the tide undriven." Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, observes, there is a fish called a rack-rider, because it appears in winter or bad weather; Rack, in the English of our author's days, signifying the driving of the clouds by tempests.
Sir Thomas Hanmer instead of rack, reads track, which may be countenanced by the following passage, in the first scene of Timon of Athens :
“ But flies an eagle flight, bold, and forth on,
Leaving no tract behind."
Steevens. Rack is generally used for a body of clouds, or rather for the course of clouds in motion; so, in Antony and Cleopatra:
« That, which is now a horse, even with a thought,
The rack dislimns.” But no instance has yet been produced, where it is used to signify a single small fleeting cloud, in which sense only it can be figura. tively applied here. I incline, therefore, to Sir Thomas Hanmer's emendation.
I am now inclined to think that rack is a mis-spelling for wrack, i. e. wreck, which Fletcher likewise has used for a minute broken fragment. See his Wife for a Month, where we find the word mis-spelt, as it is in The Tempest:
“ He will bulge so subtilly and suddenly,
“ You may snatch him up by parcels, like a sea-rack.” It has been urged, that “objects, which have only a visionary and insubstantial existence, can, when the vision is faded, leave nothing real, and consequently no wreck behind them.” But the objection is founded on misapprehension. The words--- Leave not a rack (or wreck) behind," relate not to “ the baseless fabrick, of this vision," but to the final destruction of the world, of which the towers, temples, and palaces, shall (like a vision, or a pageant,) be dissolved, and leave no vestige behind. Malone.
7 As dreams are made of,] The old copy reads-on. But this is a mere colloquial vitiation; of, among the vulgar, being still pronounced-on. Steevens.
The stanza, which immediately precedes the lines, quoted by Mr. Steevens from Lord Sterline's Darius, may serve still further to confirm the conjecture, that one of these poets imitated the other. Our author was, I believe the imitator;