« AnteriorContinuar »
Foot it featly, here and there;
(dispersedly. Hark, hark! I hear The strain of strutting chanticlere
And Milton seems to have had our author in his eye. See stanza 5, of his hymn on the Nativity:
“ The winds, with wonder whist,
“ Smoothly the waters kiss'd.” So again, both Lord Surry and Phaer, in their translåtions of the second book of Virgil:
Conticuere omnes. “ They whisted all.” and Lyly, in his Maid's Metamorphosis, 1600 :
“But every thing is quiet, whist, and still.” Steevens.
-the burden bear.] Old copy-bear the burden. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone. and ve quien m ms. 1632.
4 Weeping again the king my father's wreck,] Thus the old copy; but in the books of Shakspeare's age again is sometimes printed, instead of against, [i. e. opposite to,] which I am persuaded was our author's word. The placing Ferdinand in such a situation, that he could still gaze upon the wrecked vessel, is one of Shakspeare's touches of nature. Again is inadmissible; for this would import that Ferdinand's tears had ceased for a time; whereas, he himself tells us, afterwards, that from the hour of his father's wreck they had never ceased to flow:
Myself am Naples,
“ The king my father wreck’d.” However, as our author sometimes forgot to compare the different parts of his play, I have made no change. Malone.
By the word-again, I suppose the Prince means only to de. scribe the repetition of his sorrows. Besides, it appears from Mi. randa's description of the storm, that the ship had been swallowed by the waves, and, consequently, could no longer be an object of sight. Steevens.
This musick crept by me upon the waters;5
Of his bones are coral made;
Nothing of him, that doth fade,
5 This musick crept by me upon the waters ;] So, in Milton's Masque:
a soft and solemn breathing sound
“ And stole upon the air.” Steevens. 6 Full fathom five thy father lies ; &c.] Ariel's lays, (which have been condemned by Gildon as trifling, and defended not very successfully by Dr. Warburton,) however seasonable and efficacious, must be allowed to be of no supernatural dignity or elegance; they express nothing great, nor reveal any thing above mortal discovery.
The reason for which Ariel is introduced thus trifling is, that he and his companions are evidently of the fairy kind, an order of beings, to which tradition has always ascribed a sort of diminutive agency, powerful but ludicrous, a humorous and frolick controlment of nature, well expressed by the songs of Ariel. Fohnson.
The songs in this play, Dr. Wilson, who reset and published two of them, tells us, in his Court Ayres, or Ballads, published at Oxford, 1660, that “ Full fathom five,” and “Where the bee sucks," had been first set by Robert Johnson, a composer, contemporary with Shakspeare. Burney. 7 Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change — ] The meaning is-Every thing about him, that is liable to alteration, is changed. Steevens. 8 But doth suffer a sea-change-] So, in Milton's Masque :
“ And underwent a quick immortal change.” Steevens. 9 So, in The Golden Garland of Princely Delight, &c. 13th edi. tion, 1690: Corydon's doleful knell to the tune of Ding, dong.”
“ I must go seek a new love,
Fer. The ditty does remember my drown'd father :-
Pro. The fringed curtains? of thine eye advance
What is't? a spirit?
Pro. No, wench; it eats and sleeps, and hath such senses
I might call him
[Aside. As my soul prompts it:-Spirit, fine spirit! I'll free thee Within two days, for this.
Fer. I kneelsj soms.c632 Most sure, the goddess
The same burden to a song occurs in The Merchant of Venice, Act III. sc. ii. Steevens.
1 That the earth owes :) To owe, in this place, as well as many others, signifies to own. So, in Othello:
that sweet sleep “ Which thou ow'dst yesterday.” Again, in the Tempest:
thou dost here usurp 6. The name thou ow'st not." To use the word in this sense, is not peculiar to Shakspeare. I meet with it in Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggar's Bush:
“ If now the beard be such, what is the prince
“ That owes the beard ?” Steevens. 2 The fringed curtains, &c.] A similar expression occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609:
her eyelids “ Begin to part their fringes of bright gold.” Again, in Sydney's Arcadia, Lib. I: “Sometimes my eyes would lay themselves open-or cast my lids, as curtains, over the image of beauty her presence had painted in them.” Steevens.
3 It goes on,] The old copy reads-" It goes on, I see," &c. But as the words I see, are useless, and an incumbrance to the metre, I have omitted them. Steevens. (1") [ollersie above] Sid. ms."2632 ; cukence it appears
chat the music antinued white fer was soliloquiging
On whom these airs attend !--Vouchsafe, my prayer
No wonder, sir;
Per. I llisingSø,us. My language! heavens !
4 Most sure, &c.] It seems that Shakspeare, in The Tempest, hath been suspected of translating some expressions of Virgil; witness the O Dea certè. I presume we are here directed to the passage, where Ferdinand says of Miranda, after hearing the songs of Ariel :
Most sure, the goddess,
On whom these airs attend ! And so, very small Latin is sufficient for this formidable translation, that, if it be thought any honour to our poet, I am loth to deprive him of it; but his honour is not built on such a sandy foundation. Let us turn to a real translator, and examine whe. ther the idea might not be fully comprehended by an English reader, supposing it necessarily borrowed from Virgil. Hexameters in our language are almost forgotten; we will quote, therefore, this time, from Stanyhurst:
“ O to thee, fayre virgin, what terme may rightly be fitted ? “ Thy tongue, thy visage no mortal frayltie resembleth.
No doubt, a goddesse !" Edit. 1583. Farmer.
certainly a maid.) Nothing could be more prettily ima. gined, to illustrate the singularity of her character, than this pleasant mistake. She had been bred up in the rough and plaindealing documents of moral philosophy, which teaches us the knowledge of ourselves ; and was an utter stranger to the flattery invented by vicious and designing men to corrupt the other sex. So that it could not enter into her imagination, that complaisance, and a desire of appearing amiable, qualities of humanity which she had been instructed, in her moral lessons, to cultivate, could ever degenerate into such excess, as that any one should be willing to have his fellow-creature believe that he thought her a goddess, or an immortal. Warburton.
Dr. Warburton has here found a beauty, which I think the author never intended. Ferdinand asks her, not whether she was a created being, a question, which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dia. logue, which Prospero's interruption produces, he goes on pur. suing his former question :
0, if a virgin,
I am the best of them, that speak this speech,
How! the best?
Fer. A single thing, as I am now, that wonders
Alack, for mercy!
Pro. Itside 1 Sci ubi supr. The duke of Milan, And his more braver daughter, could control thee,? If now 'twere fit to do't:-At the first sight [Aside. They have chang'd eyes :-Delicate Ariel, I'll set thee free for this! -A word, good sir; I fear, you have done yourself some wrong:8
O, if a virgin,
Soft, sir; one word more.-
6 And his brave son, being twain.] . This is a slight forgetful. ness. Nobody was lost in the wreck, yet we find no such cha. racter, as the son of the duke of Milan. Theobald.
control thee,] Confute thee, unanswerably contradict thee. Johnson.
8 I fear you have done yourself some wrong:] i. e. I fear, that in asserting yourself to be king of Naples, you have uttered a false. hood, which is below your character, and, consequently, injuri. ous to your honour. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor-—This is not well, master Ford, this wrongs you." Steevens.