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O, out of that no hope, What great hope have you! no hope, that way, is, Another way, so high an hope, that even Ambition cannot pierce a wink beyond,5 But doubts discovery there. Will you grant, with me, That Ferdinand is drown'd?
Then, tell me,
proceeded, that at present, the surest canon of criticism is, Preferatur lectio brevior.” P. 149, 150.
Though I once expressed a different opinion, I am now well convinced, that the metre of Shakspeare's plays, had, originally, no other irregularity than was occasioned by an accidental use of hemistichs. When we find the smoothest series of lines among our earliest dramatic writers (who could fairly boast of no other requisites for poetry) are we to expect less polished versification from Shakspeare? Steevens.
a wink beyond,] That this is the utmost extent of the prospect of ambition, the point where the eye can pass no far. ther, and where objects lose their distinctness, so that what is there discovered, is faint, obscure, and doubtful. Johnson.
beyond man's life;] i. e. at a greater distance than the life of man is long enough to reach. Steevens.
she that from Naples Can have no note, &c.] Note (as Mr. Malone observes) is notice, or information.
Shakspeare's great ignorance of geography is not more conspicuous in any instance than in this, where he supposes Tunis and Naples to have been at such an immeasurable distance from each other. He may, however, be countenanced, by Apollonius Rhodius, who says, that both the Rhone and Po meet in one, and discharge themselves into the gulph of Venice ; and by Æschylus, who has placed the river Eridanus in Spain. Steevens.
she, from whom -] i. e. in coming from whom. The old copy has—she that from, &c. which cannot be right. The compositor's eye probably glanced on a preceding line, “ she that from Naples." The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. She for when cie.cn
Malone whofe account,
nueterin with whose marriage we were fea. swallowed
We were all sea-swallow'd, though some cast again;'
What stuff is this?—How say you?
A space, whose every cubit
And let Sebastian wake -Say, this were death,
Seb. Methinks, I do.
And how does your content
though some cast again;] Cast is here used in the same sense as in Macbeth, Act II. sc. iii: “ -though he took my legs from me, I made a shift to cast him.” Steevens.
1 And, by that, destin'd -] It is a common plea of wickedness to call temptation destiny. Johnson.
The late Dr. Musgrave very reasonably proposed to substitute -destin'd for-destiny. As the construction of the passage is made easier by this slight change, I have adopted it. Steevens.
2 In yours and my discharge.] i. e. depends on what you and I are to perform. Steevens.
- keep in Tunis,] There is in this passage a propriety lost, which a slight alteration will restore:
Sleep in Tunis, “ And let Sebastian wake.!” Johnson. The old reading is sufficiently explicable. Claribel (says he) keep where thou art, and allow Sebastian time to awaken those senses, by the help of which he may perceive the advantage which now presents itself. Steevens.
4 A chough —] Is a bird of the jack-daw kind. So, in Macbeth, Act III. sc. iv:
“ By magot-pies, and choughs, and rooks,” &c. Steevens.
Seb. But, for your conscience
Ant. Ay, sir; where lies that? if it were a kybe, 'Twould put me to my slipper; But I feel not This deity in my bosom: twenty consciences, That stand 'twixt me and Milan, candied be they, And melt, ere they molest!5 Here lies your brother, No better than the earth he lies upon, If he were that, which now he's like; whom I, With this obedient steel, three inches of it, Can lay to bed for ever:? whiles you, doing thus,
5 And melt, ere they molest !] I had rather read
Would melt, ere they molest. i. e. Twenty consciences, such as stand between me and my hopes, though they were congealed, would melt before they could molest me, or prevent the execution of my purposes. Johnson.
Let twenty consciences be first congealed, and then dissolved, ere they molest me, or prevent me from executing my purposes.
Malone. If the interpretation of Johnson and Malone is just, and is certainly as intelligible as or ; but I can see no reasonable meaning in this interpretation. It amounts to nothing more, as thus interpreted, than My conscience must melt and become softer than it is, before it molests me; which is an insipidity unworthy of the Poet. I would read " Candy'd be they, or melt;" and the expression then has spirit and propriety. Had I twenty consciences, says An. tonio, they might be hot or cold for me; they should not give me the smallest trouble.- Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786. Steevens. 6 No better than the earth he lies upon,] So, in Julius Cæsar:
at Pompey's basis lies along,
With this obedient steel, three inches of it,
“ If he were that which now he's like, that's dead ;
“ Can lay to bed,” &c. The words that's dead” (as Dr. Farmer observes to me) are evidently a gloss, or marginal note, which had found its way into the text. Such a supplement is useless to the speaker's meaning, and one of the verses becomes redundant by its insertion.
To the perpetual wink for aye might put
befits the hour.
Thy case, dear friend,
O, but one word.
[They converse apart. I came henn] Music. Re-enter ARIEL, invisible.
Ari. My master through his art foresees the danger That these, his friends, are in; and sends me forth, (For else his project dies,) to keep them living. 2
[Sings in Gonzalo's ear.
- for aye - ] i. e. for ever. So, in K. Lear:
I am come “ To bid my king and master aye good night.” Steevens. 9 This ancient morsel,] For morsel, Dr. Warburton readsancient moral, very elegantly and judiciously; yet I know not whether the author might not write morsel, as we say a piece of a man. Johnson. So, in Measure for Measure:
“ How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress ?” Steevens.
Fohnson. So, in Macbeth, Act I. sc. ii:
“ If good, why do I yield to that suggestion
“ Whose horrid image,” &c. Steevens. They'll take suggestion, as a cat laps milk;] That is, will adopt, and bear witness to, any tale you shall invent; you may suborn them as evidences to clear you from all suspicion of having mur. thered the king. A similar signification occurs in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
• Love bad me swear, and love bids me forswear:
to keep them living.] By them, as the text now stands, Gonzalo and Alonso must be understood. Dr. Johnson objects
While you here do snoring lie,
His time doth take :
very justly to this passage. “ As it stands, says he, at present, the sense is this. He sees your danger, and will therefore save them.” He therefore would read_" That these his friends are in.” The confusion has, I think, arisen from the omission of a single letter. Our author, I believe, wrote
and sends me forth, “ For else his projects dies, to keep them living." i. e. he bas sent me forth, to keep his projects alive, which else would be destroyed, by the murder of his friend, Gonzalo.--The opposition between the life and death of a project appears to me much in Shakspeare's manner. So, in Much Ado about Nothing : “What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage ?"-The plural noun joined to a verb in the singular number, is to be met with in almost every page of the first folio. So, to confine myself to the play before us, edit. 1623:
My old bones akes." Again, ibid:
At this hour “ Lies at my mercy
my enemies." Again, ibid:
“ His tears runs down his beard-." Again :
“ What cares these roarers for the name of king." It was the common language of the time; and ought to be corrected, as, indeed, it generally has been in the modern editions of our author, by changing the number of the verb. Thus, in the present instance we should read-For else his projects die, &c. Malone.
I have received Dr. Johnson's amendment. Ariel, finding that Prospero was equally solicitous for the preservation of Alonso and Gonzalo, very naturally styles them both his friends, without adverting to the guilt of the former. Toward the success of Prospero's design, their lives were alike necessary.
Mr. Henley says, that “ By them are meant Sebastian and Antonio. The project of Prospero, which depended upon Ariel's keeping them alive, may be seen, Act III.”
The song of Ariel, however, sufficiently points out which were the immediate objects of his protection. He cannot be supposed to have any reference to what happens in the last scene of the next Act. Steevens.