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Would I not have; but nature should bring forth,
Seb. No marrying 'mong his subjects?
Gon. I would with such perfection govern, sir,
'Save his majesty!
And, do you mark me, sir?
Gon. I do well believe your highness; and did it to minister occasion to these gentlemen, who are of such sensible and nimble lungs, that they always use to laugh at nothing.
Ant. 'Twas you we laugh’d at.
Gon. Who, in this kind of merry fooling, am nothing to you: so you may continue, and laugh at nothing still.
Ant. What a blow was there given?
all foizon,] Foison, or foizon, signifies plenty, ubertas ; not moisture, or juice of grass, as Mr. Pope says. Edwards. So, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, B. XIII. ch. 78:
“ Union, in breese, is foysonous, and discorde works decay." Mr. Pope, however, is not entirely mistaken, as foison, or fizon, sometimes bears the meaning which he has affixed to it. See Ray's Collection of South and East Country words. Steevens.
nature should bring forth,
Ño feed my innocent people.] “ And if, notwithstanding, in
To excel the golden age.] So Montaigne, ubi supra: seemeth, that what in those (newly discovered] nations we see by experience, doth not only exceed all the pictures, wherewith licentious poesie hath proudly imbellished the GOLDEN AGE, and all her quaint inventions to fain a happy condition of man, but also the conception and desire of philosophy.” Malone.
8 — of brave mettle ;] The old copy has—metal. The two words are frequently confounded in the first folio. The epithet,
lift the moon out of her sphere, if she would continue in
zbove; mviible; ins. 1632
Gon. No, I warrant you; I will not adventure my dis-
[All sleep but ALON. SEB. and ANT.
Please you, sir,
We two, my lord,
Thank you : Wond'rous heavy.
[Alon. sleeps. Exit Arr. Selleer' Seb. What a strange drowsiness possesses them? Ant. It is the quality o' the climate.
Nor I; my spirits are nimble.
brave, shews clearly, that the word now placed in the text was intended by our author. Malone.
9 Enter Ariel, &c. playing solemn music.] This stage-direction does not mean to tell us that Ariel himself was the fidicen; but that solemn music attended his appearance, was an accompani. ment to his entry. Steevens.
driel is emagmed at remaining in the air during the whole of the follosong plot. The Exit triel must be shuck ent
What, art thou waking?
I do; and, surely,
Thou dost snore distinctly; There's meaning in thy snores.
Ant. I am more serious, than my custom: you
Well; I am standing water.
Do so: to ebb,
1 I am more serious than my custom: you Must be so too, if heed me; which to do,
Trebles thee o'er.] This passage is represented to me as an obscure one. The meaning of it seems to be-You must put on more than your usual seriousness, if you are disposed to pay a proper attention to my proposal; which attention, if you bestow, it will, in the end, make you thrice what you are. Sebastian is already brother to the throne; but, being made a king, by Antonio's contrivance, would be (according to our author's idea of greatness) thrice the man he was before. In this sense, he would be trebled o’er. So, in Pericles, 1609:
the master calls, 5 And trebles the confusion.” Again, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, 1634:
thirds his own worth.” Steevens. Again, in the Merchant of Venice:
Yet, for you,
Whiles thus you mock it! how, in stripping it,
Most often do so near the bottom run,
Prythee, say on;
Thus, sir: Although this lord of weak remembrance, 3 this (Who shall be of as little memory, When he is earth’d,) hath here almost persuaded (For he's a spirit of persuasion only,) 'The king, his son's alive; 'tis as impossible That he's undrown'd, as he, that sleeps here, swims. *
Magazine for Nov. 1786, offers the following illustration of this obscure passage: “ Sebastian introduces the simile of water. It is taken up by Antonio, who says, he will teach his stagnant water to flow. - It has already learned to ebb,' says Sebastian. To which Antonio replies, “0, if you but knew how much, even that metaphor, which you use in jest, encourages to the design which I hint at; how, in stripping the words of their common meaning, and using them figuratively, you adapt them to your own situation!” Steevens.
- this lord of weak remembrance,] This lord, who, being now in his dotage, has outlived his faculty of remembering; and who, once laid in the ground, shall be as little remembered him. self, as he can now remember other things. Johnson.
hath here almost persuaded,
As he, that sleeps here, swims.] Of this entangled sentence I can draw no sense from the present reading, and therefore imagine that the author gave it thus :
For he, a spirit of persuasion, only
Professes to persuade the king, his son's alive ; Of which the meaning may be either, that he alone, who is a spirit of persuasion, professes to persuale the king; or that, He only professes to persuade, that is, without being so persuaded himself, he makes a show of persuading the king. Johnson.
The meaning may be-He is a mere rhetorician, one who professes the art of persuasion, and nothing else; i. e. he professes to persuade another to believe that, of which he himself is not convinced; he is content to be plausible, and has no further aim. So, (as Mr. Malone observes,) in Troilus and Cressida : “ — why he'll answer nobody, he professes not answering.” Steevens.
The obscurity of this passage arises from a misconception of the word he's, which is not an abbreviation of he is, but of he
Seb. I have no hope That he's undrown'd.
has; and partly from the omission of the pronoun who, before
hath here almost persuaded,
“ Professes to persuade, the king his son's alive;"And the meaning is clearly this.-This old lord, though a mere dotard, has almost persuaded the king, that his son is alive; for he is so willing to believe it, that any man who undertakes to persuade him of it, has the powers of persuasion, and succeeds in the attempt.
We find a similar expression in The First Part of Henry IV. When Poins undertakes
to engage the Prince, to make one of the party to Gad's-hill, Falstaff says:
“ Well! may'st thou have the spirit of persuasion, and he the ears of profiting! that what thou speakest may move, and what he hears may be believed!” M. Mason.
The light Mr. M. Mason's conjecture has thrown on this passage, I think, enables me to discover, and remedy the defect in it. I cannot help regarding the words—“ professes to persuade” -as a mere gloss or paraphrase on “ he has a spirit of persuasion." This explanatory sentence, being written in the margin of an actor's part, or playhouse copy, was, afterwards, injudiciously incorporated with our author's text. Read the passage (as it now stands in the text) without these words, and nothing is wanting to its sense or metre.
On the contrary, the insertion of the words I have excluded, by lengthening the parenthesis, obscures the meaning of the speaker, and, at the same time, produces redundancy of mea. sure. Irregularity of metre, ought always to excite suspicions of omission or interpolation. Where somewhat has been omitted, through chance or design, a line is occasionally formed by the junction of hemistichs, previously unfitted to each other. – Such a line will naturally exceed the established proportion of feet; and when marginal observations are crept into the text, they will have just such aukward effects, as I conceive to have been produced, by one of them, in the present instance.
Perhaps (says that excellent scholar and perspicacious cri. tic, Mr. Porson, in his 6th Letter to Archdeacon Travis) you think it an affected and absurd idea, that a marginal note can ever creep into the text: yet, I hope you are not so ignorant as not to know that this has actually happened, not merely in hundreds or thousands, but in millions of places,” &c. &c.
“ From this known propensity of transcribers to turn every thing into the text which they found written in the margin of their MSS. or between the lines, so many interpolations have