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As is the ospreys to the fish, who takes it
5 As is the osprey-] Osprey, a kind of eagle, ossifraga. Pope.
We find in Michael Drayton's Polyolbion, Song xxv, a full account of the osprey, which shows the justness and beauty of the simile :
“ The osprey, oft here seen, though seldom here it breeds,
Langton. So, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594:
“ I will provide thee with a princely osprey,
“ And thou shalt take thy liberal choice of all.” Such is the fabulous history of the osprey. I learn, however, from Mr. Lambe's notes to the ancient metrical legend of The Battle of Floddon, that the osprey is a “ rare, large, blackish hawk, with a long neck, and blue legs. Its prey is fish, and it is sometimes seen hovering over the Tweed.” Steevens.
The osprey is a different bird from the sea eagle, to which the above quotations allude, but its prey is the same. See Pennant's British Zoology, 46, Linn. Syst. Nat. 129. Harris. 6 whether 'twas pride, Which out of daily fortune ever taints
The happy man; whether &c.] Aufidius assigns three probable reasons of the miscarriage of Coriolanus; pride, which easi. ly follows an uninterrupted train of success; unskilfulness to regulate the consequences of his own victories; a stubborn uniformity of nature, which could not make the proper transition from the casque or helmet to the cushion or chair of civil authority; but acted with the same despotism in peace as in war. Fohnson.
7 As he hath spices of them all, not all,] i. e. not all complete, not all in their full extent. Malone.
For I dare so far free him,) made him fear'd,
So, in The Winter's Tale: “
- for all “Thy by-gone fooleries were but spices of it.” Steevens. 8 _ he has a merit,
To choke it in the utterance,] He has a merit, for no other purpose than to destroy it by boasting it. Fohnson. . And power, unto itself most commendable,
Hath not a tomb so evident as a chair
To extol what it hath done. This is a common thought, but miserably ill expressed. The sense is, the virtue which delights to commend itself, will find the surest tomb in that chair wherein it holds forth its own commendations :
" unto itself most commendable.” i. e. which hath a very high opinion of itself. Warburton.
If our author meant to place Coriolanus in this chair, he must have forgot his character, for, as Mr. M. Mason has justly observed, he has already been described as one who was so far from being a boaster, that he could not endure to hear “his nothings monster'd.” But I rather believe, “ in the utterance” alludes not to Coriolanus himself, but to the high encomiums pronounced on him by his friends, and then the lines of Horace, quoted in p. 147, may serve as a comment on the passage before us.
A passage in Troilus and Cressida, however, may be urged in support of Dr. Warburton's interpretation:
“ The worthiness of praise distains his worth,
“ If that the prais'd himself bring the praise forth.” Yet I still think that our poet did not mean to represent Corio. lanus as his own eulogist. Malone.
A sentiment of a similar nature is expressed by Adam, in the second scene of the second Act of As you Like it, where he says to Orlando:
“ Your praise is come too swiftly home before you,
“ Are sanctified and holy traitors to you.” M. Mason. The passage before us, and the comments upon it are, to me at least, equally unintelligible. Steevens.
1 Rights by rights fouler,] Thus the old copy. Modern editors,
Come, let 's away. When, Caius, Rome is thine,
ACT V..... SCENE I.
Rome. A publick Place.
with less obscurity-Right's by right fouler, &c. i.e. What is ał. ready right, and is received as such, becomes less clear when supported by supernumérary proofs. Such appears to me to be the meaning of this passage, which may be applied with too much justice to many of my own comments on Shakspeare.
Dr. Warburton would read-fouled, from fouler, Fr. to trample under foot. There is undoubtedly such a word in Sidney's Arcadia, edit. 1633, p. 441; but it is not easily applicable to our present subject:
" Thy all-beholding eye fould with the sight.” The same word likewise occurs in the following proverbYork doth foul Sutton-i. e. exceeds it on comparison, and makes it appear mean and poor. Steevens.
**Rights by right fouler, may well mean, “That one right or title, when produced, makes another less fair.” All the short sentences in this speech of Aufidius are obscure, and some of them nonsensical. M. Mason.
I am of Dr. Warburton's opinion that this is nonsense; and would read, with the slightest possible variation from the old copies:
Rights by rights foul are, strengths &c. Ritson. Rights by rights fouler, &c.] These words, which are exhibited exactly as they appear in the old copy, relate, I apprehend, to the rivalship subsisting between Aufidius and Coriolanus, not to the preceding observation concerning the ill effect of extravagant encomiums. As one nail, says Aufidius, drives out another, so the strength of Coriolanus shall be subdued by my strength, and his pretensions yield to others, less fair perhaps, but more powerful. Aufidius has already declared that he will either break the neck of Coriola. nus, or his own; and now adds, that jure vel injuria he will de. stroy him.
I suspect that the words, “ Come let's away,” originally completed the preceding hemistich, “ To extol what it hath done;" and that Shakspeare in the course of composition, regardless of his original train of thought, afterwards moved the words-Comé
But what o' that? Go, you that banish'd him,
Com. He would not seem to know me.
Do you hear?
Why, so; you have made good work:
Com. I minded him, how royal 'twas to pardon
let 's away, to their present situation, to complete the rhyming couplet with which the scene concludes. Were these words replaced in what perhaps was their original situation, the passage would at once exhibit the meaning already given. Malone.
2 - coy'd—] i.e. condescended unwillingly, with reserve, coldness. Steevens.
3_ that have rack'd for Rome,] To rack means to harrass by exactions, and in this sense the poet uses it in other places :
“ The commons hast thou rack’d; the clergy's bags
“ Are lank and lean with thy extortions." I believe it here means in general, You that have been such good stewards for the Roman people, as to get their houses burned over their heads, to save them the expense of coals. Steevens,
4 — memory!] for memorial. See p. 135, n. 4. Steevens.
5 It was a bare petition--] A bare petition, I believe, means only a mere petition. Coriolanus weighs the consequence of verbal supplication against that of actual punishment. See Vol. II, p. 197, n. 2. Steevens. I have no doubt but we should read:
It was a base petition &c. meaning that it was unworthy the dignity of a state, to petition a man whom they had banished. M. Mason.
In King Henry IV, P. I, and in Timon of Athens, the word bare is used in the sense of thin, easily seen through; having only a slight superficial covering. Yet, I confess, this interpretation will hardly apply here. In the former of the passages alluded to,
To one whom they had punish’d.
Com. I offer'd to awaken his regard
For one poor grain
Sic. Nay, pray, be patient: If you refuse your aid
No; I'll not meddle.
What should I do?
Well, and say that Marcius
Yet your good will
I'll undertake it:
the editor of the first folio substituted base for bare, improperly. In the passage before us perhaps base was the author's word.
Malone. 6 I pray you, &c.] The pronoun personal -1, is wanting in the old copy. Steevens. • He w.is not taken well; he had not din’d: &c.] This observation is not only from nature, and finely expressed, but admirably