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From Milan, did supplant good Prospero;
Shapes again, and dance with mops and mowes, 8 and carry out the table.
Pro. [ Aside.] Bravely the figure of this harpy hast thou Perform’d, my Ariel; a grace it had, devouring: Of my instruction hast thou nothing 'bated, In what thou hadst to say: so, with good life,
6 clear life ---] Pure, blameless, innocent. Johnson. So, in Timon: *
- roots you clear heavens.” Steevens. 7
is nothing, but heart's sorrow, And a clear life ensuing.) The meaning, which is somewhat obscured by the expression, is—a miserable fate, which nothing but contrition and amendment of life can avert.
Steevens. The old copy, by a manifest error of the press, reads-with mocks. So afterwards: “ will be here with mop and mowe.”
Malone. To mock and to mowe, seem to have had a meaning somewhat similar; i. e. to insult, by making mouths, or wry faces. Steevens.
with good life,] With good life may mean, with exact presentation of their several characters, with observation strange of their particular and distinct parts. So we say, he acted to the life. Fohnson. Thus in the 6th Canto of the Barons' Wars, by Drayton:
“ Done for the last with such exceeding life,
“ As art therein with nature seem'd at strife.” Again, in our author's King Henry VIII. Act I. sc. i:
the tract of every thing
And observation strange, my meaner ministers
Gon. I'the name of something holy, sir, why stand you
O, it is monstrous! monstrous ! Methought, the billows spoke, and told me of it; The winds did sing it to me; and the thunder, That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounc'd The name of Prosper; it did bass my trespass.2
Good life, however, in Twelfth Night, seems to be used for innocent jollity, as we now say a bon vivant: “ Would you (says the Clown) have a love song, or a song of good life?” Sir Toby answers, • A love song, a love
"_“ Ăy, ay, (replies Sir Andrew,) I care not for good life.” It is plain, from the character of the last speaker, that he was meant to mistake the sense in which good life is used by the Clorun. It may, therefore, in the present instance, mean, honest alacrity, or cheerfulness.
Life seems to be used in the chorus to the fifth act of K. Henry V. with some meaning like that wanted to explain the approbation of Prospero:
“ Which cannot in their huge and proper life
“ Be here presented.” The same phrase occurs yet more appositely in Chapman's translation of Homer's Hymn to Apollo :
“ And these are acted with such exquisite life,
“ Are turn'd immortals.” Steevens. To do any thing with good life, is still a provincial expression in the west of England, and signifies, to do it with the full bent and energy of mind:-" And observation strange,” is with such minute attention to the orders given, as to excite admiration. Henley.
1 Their several kinds have done :) i. e. have discharged the several functions, allotted their different natures. Thus, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act V. sc. ii. the Clown says—". You must think this, look you, that the worm will do his kind.” Steevens.
bass my trespass.] The deep pipe told it me in a rough bass sound. Fohnson. So, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II. c. 12:
the rolling sea resounding soft, “ In his big base them fitly answered.” Steevens.
Therefore my son i' the ooze is bedded; and
But one fiend at a time, I'll fight their legions o’er. Ant.
I'll be thy second.
[Exeunt SEB, and Ant. Gon. All three of them are desperate; their great guilt, Like poison given* to work a great time after, Now 'gins to bite the spirits :-I do beseech you That are of suppler joints, follow them swiftly, And hinder them from what this ecstacy5 May now provoke them to. Adr.
Follow, I pray you.
Again, in Davis's Microcosinos, 1605, p. 32:
“ The singing bullets made his soul rejoice
“ He seemed as ravisht with an heavenly noise.” Reed. 3 And with him there lie mudded.
But one fiend -] As these hemístichs, taken together, exceed the proportion of a verse, I cannot help regarding the words —with him, and but, as playhouse interpolations.
The Tempest was evidently one of the last works of Shakspeare; and it is therefore natural to suppose, the metre of it must have been exact and regular. Dr. Farmer concurs with me in this supposition. Steevens.
4 Like poison given, &c.] The natives of Africa have been supposed to be possessed of the secret, how to temper poisons with such art as not to operate till several years after they were administered. Their drugs were then as certain in their effect, as subtle in their preparation. So, in the celebrated libel called Leicester's Commonwealth : “ I heard him once myselfe in publique act at Oxford, and that in presence of my lord of Leicester, maintain that poyson might be so tempered and given, as it should not appear presently, and yet should kill the party afterwards at what time should be appointed.” Steevens.
- this ecstacy - ) Ecstacy meant not anciently, as at present, rapturous pleasure, but alienation of mind. So, in Hamlet, Act III. sc. iv:
“ Nor sense to ecstacy was e'er so thralld." Mr. Locke has not inelegantly styled it dreaming with our eyes open.
ACT IV .....SCENE I.
Before Prospero's Cell.
Enter PROSPERO, FERDINAND, and MIRANDA.
Your compensation makes amends; for I
Or that for which I live; whom once again
a thread of mine own life,] The old copy reads—third. The word thread was formerly so spelt, as appears from the following passage:
“ Long maist thou live, and when the sisters shall decree
“ Then let him die,” &c.
“ A third of mine own life” is a fibre or a part of my own life. Prospero considers himself as the stock or parent-tree, and his daughter as a fibre or portion of himself, and for whose benefit he himself lives. In this sense, the word is used in Markham's English Husbandman, edit. 1635, p. 146: “ Cut off all the maine rootes, within half a foot of the tree, only the small thriddes or twist rootes you shall not cut at all.” Again, ibid: “ Every branch and thrid of the root.” This is evidently the same word as thread, which is likewise spelt thrid by Lord Bacon. Tollet.
So, in Lingua, &c. 1607 ; and I could furnish many more instances:
“ For as a subtle spider closely sitting
“ She feels it instantly.”.
one of worldly shame's children, of his countenance, and THREDE of his body.” Steevens.
Again, in Tancred and Gismund, a tragedy, 1592, Tancred, speaking of his intention to kill his daughter, says:
“ Against all law of kinde, to shred in twaine
“ The golden threede that doth us both maintain." Malone. 7-strangely stood the test:] Strangely is used by way of commendation, merveilleusement, to a wonder; the same is the sense in the foregoing scene. Johnson.
all the printed folios give a third" of any
I ratify this my rich gift. O Ferdinand,
I do believe it,
Pro. Then, as my gift, and thine own acquisitions Worthily purchas'd, take my daughter: But If thou dost break her virgin knot, 9 before All sanctimonious ceremonies may With full and holy rite be minister'd, No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall To make this contract grow; but barren hate, Sour-ey'd disdain, and discord, shall bestrew The union of your bed, with weeds so loathly, That you
shall hate it both: therefore, take heed, As Hymen's lamps shall light you. Fer.
As I hope For quiet days, fair issue, and long life, With such love as 'tis now; the murkiest den, The most opportune place, the strong'st suggestion Our worser Genius can, shall never melt Mine honour into lust; to take away The edge of that day's celebration, When I shall think, or Phæbus' steeds are founder'd, Or night kept chain'd below.2
i. e. in the last scene of the preceding act:
with good life, “ And observation strange —.” Steevens. & Then, as my gift, and thine own acquisition —] My guest, first folio. Rowe first read-gift. Fohnson. A similar thought occurs in Antony and Cleopatra:
I send him “ The greatness he has got.” Steevens. 9 - her virgin knot - ] The same expression occurs in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609:
“ Untide I still my virgin knot will keepe.” Steevens. 1 No sweet aspersion - ] Aspersion is here used in its primitive sense of sprinkling. At present, it is expressive only of calumny and detraction. Steevens. 2 When I shall think, or Phæbus' steeds are founder'd,
Or night kept chain'd below.] A similar train of ideas occur in the 23d Book of Homer's Odyssey, thus translated by Chapman :