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I must to England; you know that?-Hamlet, iii. 4.
Although there has been no express mention that Hamlet obtains this information previously to his here announcing it to his mother, yet King Claudius having twice mentioned his determination of despatching the prince to England, first to Polonius, and then to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, it may be gathered that such a court decree has reached Hamlet's ears; besides that his own words immediately after, " there's letters sealed," imply that the decree has been officially announced to him. His subsequently choosing to express surprise when the king tells him he is to set out for England immediately, is but in consonance with his assumed flightiness of manner when speaking to his “ unclefather."
What! fifty of my followers, at a clap!
Within a fortnight !-Lear, i. 4. This disjointed exclamation of the frantic old king suffices to indicate he fact that Goneril ha suddenly dismissed half his train of knights within two short weeks of the time when he gave to her and Regan his kingdom.
To seek him on the mountains near to Milford;
My lady's honour.–Cym., V. 5. It is true that Cloten mentioned nothing to Pisanio of his “unchaste purpose” in the dialogue held between them (act iii., sc.
5); but the dramatist leaves to be inferred that Pisanio is aware of it, inasmuch as he causes Cloten to say to Pisanio, when the latter returns with Posthumus's clothes, “ The third is, that thou wilt be a voluntary mute to my design,” which conveys the effect that Pisanio is informed, or is to be informed, of what this “ design” is.
Sit, sir, I will recount it to you :
I am prevented.-Per., v. 1. The audience, knowing already the circumstances, are spared by this dramatic expedient, the needless repetition of “the cause of Pericles' “sorrow.”
You shall prevail,
You have been noble towards her.-Ibid., v. 2. Although there has been nothing stated concerning Lysimachus having behaved nobly towards Marina, yet, since the readers or spectators of the play know this to be the case, the dramatist allows it to be thus referred to as a circumstance known to her father.
PASSAGES OF POETICAL LICENCE IN ANTICIPATION.
With the true imaginative force of a great poet, Shakespeare has some passages which deal with that which is to be as if it were already past, and treat as something done that which is still unperformed. (See
PARADOXICAL PHRASEOLOGY.] Of this kind is John Keats's startlingly bold expression, in the twenty-seventh stanza of his “ Isabella" :
" So the two brothers and their murder'd man
Rode past fair Florence.” It is such audacities of imaginative writing as these which fill poetical appreciators with transport, and which utterly dismay wretched conventionalists like Mr. Steevens, who stigmatises the passage we shall here below cite from “ Romeo and Juliet” as being among
“those miserable conceits with which our author too frequently counteracts his own pathos." The fact of writing such a comment as that upon such a passage as the one in question, strikes us as proving “miserable conceit" in the commentator himself, who conceives himself capable of passing judgment on a poetical idea of which he is incapable of perceiving the profound beauty and pathos. The intensity of emotional feeling—which regards as elapsed and irretrievable that which is dreaded and impending, or, as triumphantly effected that which is eagerly desired—was thoroughly comprehended and expressed by Shakespeare ; and the following passages bear witness to this :
Pr’ythee, bring me
Or with their blood stain this discolour'd shore.—2 H. VI., iv, 1.
The above expression-judging by the sense in which Shakespeare uses the word “ quarry” elsewhere (See Peculiar Use of Words]— appears to us to signify. Macdonwald's herd of fellows doomed to become a heap of slaughtered creatures '—already considered as a “heap of carrion.' I am dead, Horatio . . . Horatio, I am dead.-Hamlet, v. 2.
And more, much more; the time will bring it out;
'Tis past, and so am 1.-Lear, v. 3. My friend is dead; 'tis done at your request.--Oth., iii. 3. Minion, your dear lies dead.-Ibid., v. 1.
PASSAGES OF SINGLE WORDS. Among the numerous varieties in Shakespeare's style, is that of occasional passages where a series of single words succeed each other :
So minutes, hours, days, months, and years,
The trumpets, sackbuts, psalteries, and fifes,
To have her matched.-R. & Jul., iii. 5.
Taste, touch, smell, pleas'd from thy table rise.—Timon, i. 2.
Think, speak, cast, write, sing, number, hoo!-Ant. & C., iii. 2. And, in the following passage, he gives us a succession of proper names, poetically collected, such as Milton delighted in and gave so felicitously :-
He hath assembled
PASSAGES WHERE AN ORIGINAL WORD IS INTRODUCED INTO A USUAL FORM OF PHRASE. Shakespeare occasionally so employs a word of his own introduction into a usual form of phrase as to give peculiar or duplicate effect to the sentence; and this mode of his, not having been duly observed by commentators and editors, has led them into the belief of error and mis. print existing where there is, on the contrary, originality and power of diction :
Whose shadow the dismissed bachelor loves,
Being lass-lorn.-Temp., iv. I. By using “lass” in combination with “lorn," instead of the ordinary expression • love-lorn,' our poet is able to have the word “ loves the preceding line.
He went but forth to wash him in the Hellespont, and, being taken with the cramp, was drowned: and the foolish chroniclers of that age found it was—Hero of Sestos. As You L., iv. 1.
Hanmer and others altered “ chroniclers " to coroners': but by using the word “found” in the sentence, Shakespeare imparts the effect of coroners' to “chroniclers,” while allowing it to stand for historians.'
Pacing through the forest, Chewing the food of sweet and bitter fancy.-Ibid., iv. 3. It has been supposed that “ food " is a misprint for "cud'; but by the employment of chewing" in the phrase, our dramatist imparts
the effect of cud' to the word “ food,” which he frequently uses elsewhere in connection with “ fancy,” or “love.”
Then go thou forth ;
As thy auspicious mistress !--- All's W., iii. 3. By the felicitous introduction of the word “play” into this sentence, the poet gives the duplicate effect of shine' (as the sunbeams play upon an object) and smile' (as a lady looks favouringly on her chosen lover) to the expression here used. By my troth, sir, if I were to live this present hour, I will tell true.-Ibid., iv. 3.
The word “live” has been suspected of error in the above passage ; but by introducing it instead of the more generally used word die in this phrase, Shakespeare has given the inclusive effect to Parolles' speech of if I were to die this present hour or allowed to live through it.'
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
Than women's are.—Tw. N., ii. 4,
to 'won' in this passage; but Shakespeare, by introducing the word “worn," in connection with “lost," not only conveys the impression of the ordinarily employed 'won, but also allows it to imply “worn out,' ' worn away.'
Indeed, brother-in-law was the farthest off you could have been to him ; and then your blood had been the dearer, by I know how much an ounce.
Very wisely, puppies.-W.T., iv. 3.
Hanmer and others opine that not’ ought to be placed between * know” and “how,” in the above passage; but by omitting the “not' in a phrase where it is ordinarily used, our dramatist, besides giving the effect of characteristically blundering phraseology to the rustic speaker, also affords an opportunity for Autolycus's sly rejoinder to come with appropriateness. Ye shall have a hempen caudle, then, and the help of hatchet.—2 H. VI., iv. 7.
Because there is an old slang term, 'pap with a hatchet,' Farmer proposed to change Shakespeare's expression here to the better known one. But by using a slight variation from it, the dramatist not only recalls the popular phrase, but adds the effect of similar ones which he uses elsewhere : as, “ Wisdom's warrant and the help of school” ("Love's Labour 's Lost,” v. 2); “ Witches and the help of hell ” (“ First Part of King Henry VI.,” ii. 1); and “ A man that were to sleep your sleep, and a hangman to help him to bed" ("Cymbeline," v. 4).
I have, thou gallant Trojan, seen thee oft,
By using the word “life" here in an expression where · death' is more generally employed, the dramatist conveys the idea of Hector's hewing his way through his enemies, yet sparing those among them who are already struck to earth; thus confirming his brother Troilus's remonstrance to him in act v., sc. 3, where he says, “ Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you, which better fits a lion than a man. . . . When many times the captive Grecians fall, even in the fan and wind of your fair sword, you bid them rise, and live.” Thus consistently does Shakespeare work.
For the nobles receive so to heart the banishment of that worthy Coriolanus, that they are in a ripe aptness to take all power from the people.—Coriol., iv. 3.
By employing the word “receive" instead of the more usual one, "take,' the impression is strengthened in the first clause of the sentence, and better allows the subsequent occurrence of “take" in the second clause,
Commands me name myself.-Ibid., iv. 5. Pope altered “think” to “take' here ; but by retaining Shakespeare's own word, we have the forcible and double effect of take me for the man I am,' and of recognise me in thy thought for the man I am.' This skilful method of introducing unhackneyed words into conventional and well-known phrases, forms one of the peculiar merits of Shakespeare's masterly style.
You shall perceive that a Jack guardant cannot office me from my son Coriolanus.Ibid., v. 2.
By using the word “office" instead of the more common expression • keep,' the dramatist gives the effect of - Jack in office' as an additional taunt to the contemptuous term “ Jack guardant."
Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin both with a letter ?-Ay, nurse ; what of that? both with an R.-Ah, mocker ! that's the dog's name ; R is for the dog. No; I know it begins with some other letter.-R. & Ful., ii. 4.
There is an old saying that " R is the dog's letter”; but Shakespeare varies the phrase by substituting "name" for • letter,' partly because it imparts an effect of blundering confusion to the nurse's diction, and partly because “ name thus forms the antecedent to “ it” in the next clause of the sentence.
I will carry no crotchets : I'll re yoụ, I'll fa you ; do you note me ?-Ibid., iv. 5.
Shakespeare makes Peter vary the formerly well-known phrase, ' I 'll not carry coals' (meaning · I 'll not put up with insults ') by introducing the word “ crotchets," for the sake of having a jocose filing at the musician who is bantering him.
Is not my lord seen yet ?—Not yet.- I wonder on't; he was wont to shine at seven.—Timon, iii. 4.
By using the word “ shine " instead of • appear’in this phrase, the idea of Timon's being like the sun is suggested, and well introduces the imagery of the speech that is made in rejoinder.