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The wise and fool, the artist and unread,
Neft. 2 With due observance of thy godlike seat,
' Broad, quarto ; the folio reads loud. JOHNSON.
2 With due observance of thy goodly fear,] Goodly is an epithet carries no very great compliment with it; and Nestor seems here to be paying deference to Agamemnon's ftate and pre-eminence. . The old books have it, -10 thy godly seat ; godlike, as I have reformed the text, seems to me the epithet designed ; and is very conformable to what Æneas afterwards fays of Agamemnon ;
Which is that god in office guiding men ? So godlike feat is here, state supreme above all other commanders. THEOBALD.
This emendation Theobald might have found in the quarto, which has,
the godlike seat. Johnson.
Neftor pull APPLY Thy latest words) Nestor applies the words to another instance. . JOHNSON.
-patient breaft, -] The quarto not so well,
ancient breast. JOHNSON. 's With those of nobler bulk ?] Statius has the same thought, though more diffusedly expressed :
“ Sic ubi magna novum Phario de littore puppis
“ Æquore, et immenfi partem libi vendicat austri.” Pope has imitated the paffage. STEEVENS.
But let the ruffian Boreas once enrage
[To Agamemnon And thou, most reverend, for thy stretcht-out life
the thing of courage,] It is said of the tiger, that in forms and high winds he rages and roars most furiously.
Harmer. • Returns to chiding fortune. For returns, Hanmer reads replies, unneceffarily, the sense being the same. The folio and quarto have retires, corruptly, JOHNSON,
I give to both your 8 speeches; which are such,
- Speeches; which were fuch,
To his experienc'd tongue : Ulyffes begins his oration with praising those who had spoken before him, and marks the characieriílick excellencies of their different eloquence, strength, and sweetness, which he expresses by the different metals on which he recommends them to be engraven for the instruction of posterity. The speech of Agameninon is such that it ought to be engraven in brass, and the tablet held up by him on the one side, and Greece on the other, to shew the union of their opinion. And Nestor ought to be exhibited in silver, uniting all his audience in one mind by his soft and gentle elocution. Brass is the common emblem of strength, and silver of gentienefs. We call a soft voice a filver voice, and a persuasive tongue a filver tongue. -I once read for hand, the band of Greece, but I think the text right. To hatch is a term of art for a particalar method of engraving. Hatcher, to cut, Fr.
JOHNSON. In the description of Agamemnon's speech, there is a plain allusion to the old custom of engraving laws and publick records in brass, and hanging up the tables in temples, and other places of general resort. Our author has the same allusion in Meafure for Measure, act v. scene 1. The Duke, speaking of the merit of Angelo and Escalus, fays, that
It deserves with characters of brass
“ And razure of oblivion.".
9 Agam. Speak, prince of Ithaca, and be’t of less
Ull. Troy, yet upon her basis, had been down,
Hatching is used in the engraving of plates from which prints are to be taken, principally, I believe, to express the shadows : but it can be of no use in any other species of engraving, which could exhibit (to use Mr. Johnson's phrase) either Neftor, or his speech, in filver. In short, I believe, we ought to read, THATCH'd in silver, alluding to his filver hair. The same metaphor is used by Timon (act iv. scene 4.) to Phryne and Timandra:
thatch your poor thin roofs " With burthens of the dead.". Of the rest of this passage Mr. Johnson fays nothing. If he has no more conception than I have of
a bond of air (strong as the axle-tree On which heaven rides)he will perhaps excuse me for hazarding a conjecture, that the true reading may possibly be,
à bond of AWE. After all, the construction of this passage is very harh and irregular; but with that I meddle not, believing it was left fo hy the author. Obfervations and Conjectures, &c. printed at Oxford, 1766. Í find the word hatch'd used by Heywood in the Iron Age, 1632:
his face “ Is hatch'd with impudency three-fold thick." And again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Humorous Lieutenant,
“ His weapon hatch'd in blood.” The voice of Nestor, which on all occasions enforced attention, might be, I think, not unpoetically called, a bond of air, be cause its operations were visible, though his voice, like the air, was unseen. STEEVENS. Agam. Speak, &c.] This speech is not in the quarto.
JOHNSON ! The Specialty of ruli--] The particular rights of supreme authority. JOHNSON.
And, look, how many Grecian tents do stand
? When that the general 1s NOT LIKE the hive,] The meana ing is, When the general is not to the army like the hive to the bees, the repository of the stock of every individual, that to which each particular resorts with whatever he has collcted for the good of the whole, what honey is expected? what hope of advantage? The sense is clear, the expresion is confused.
JOHNSON. 3 The beavens themselves, -] This illustration was probably derived from a passage in Hooker: “ If celestial spheres “ fould forget their wonted motion; if the prince of the “ lights of heaven should begin to stand; if the moon should “ wander from her beaten way; and the seasons of the year “ blend themselves; what would become of man?”
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center,] i.e. the center of the earth; which, according to the Ptolemaic system then in vogue, is the center of the solar syitem. WARE,
But when the planets In evil mixture, 10 disorder wander, &c.] I believe the poet, according to astrological opinions, means, when the planets form malignant configurations, when their aspects are evil towards one another. This he terms evil mixture. Johns.
The apparent irregular motions of the planets were supposed to portend fome disasters to mankind; indeed the planets them. selves were not thought formerly to be confined in any fixed orbits of their own, but to wander about ad libitum, 'as the etymology of their names demonstrates. ANONYMOUS.