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ORL. I thank ye; and be bless'd for your good
DUKE S. Thou seest, we are not all alone unhappy:
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
All the world's a stage', And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances;
6 Wherein we play IN.] Thus the old copy. Mr. Pope more correctly reads"Wherein we play."
I believe, with Mr. Pope, that we should only read"Wherein we play."
and add a word at the beginning of the next speech, to complete the measure; viz.
Why, all the world's a stage.
Thus, in Hamlet:
"Hor. So Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go to't.
"Ham. Why, man, they did make love to their employment." Again, in Measure for Measure:
Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once." Again, ibid.:
Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done." In twenty other instances we find the same adverb introductorily used. STEEVENS.
For a defence of the phraseology objected to by Mr. Pope and Mr. Steevens, see Romeo and Juliet, p. 70, n. 7. MALONE.
All the world's a stage, &c.] This observation occurs in one of the fragments of Petronius: "Non duco contentionis funem, dum constet inter nos, quod fere totus mundus exerceat histrioniam." STEEVENS.
This observation had been made in an English drama before the time of Shakspeare. See Damon and Pythias, 1582: "Pythagoras said, that this world was like a stage, "Whereon many play their parts."
In The Legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, 1597, we find these lines :
"Whose life a sad continual tragedie,
"Himself the actor, in the world, the stage,
"While as the acts are measur'd by his age." MALONE.
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
8 His acts being seven AGES.] On account of the length of the notes on this passage, I have thrown them to the end of the play.
BOSWELL. 9 AND then,] And, which is wanting in the old copy, was supplied, for the sake of metre, by Mr. Pope. STEEVENS.
1 Sighing like furnace,] So, in Cymbeline: " he furnaceth the thick sighs from him." MALONE.
Full of strange oaths, and BEARDED like the pard,] So, in Cythia's Revels, by Ben Jonson :
"Your soldiers face-the grace of this face consisteth much in a beard." STEEVENS.
Beards of different cut were appropriated in our author's time to different characters and professions. The soldier had one fashion, the judge another, the bishop different from both, &c. See a note on King Henry V. Act III. Sc. VI.: “ And what a beard of the general's cut," &c. MALONE.
3 - SUDDEN and quick -] Lest it should be supposed that these epithets are synonymous, it is necessary to be observed that one of the ancient senses of sudden, is violent. Thus, in Macbeth:
grant him sudden,
4 Full of wise saws and MODERN instances,] It is remarkable that Shakspeare uses modern in the double sense that the Greeks used xawos, both for recens and absurdus. WARBURTON.
And so he plays his part: The sixth age shifts
I am in doubt whether modern is in this place used for absurd: the meaning seems to be, that the justice is full of old sayings and late examples. JOHNSON.
Modern means trite, common. So, in King John : "And scorns a modern invocation."
Again, in this play, Act IV. Sc. I.: "— betray themselves to modern censure." STEEVENS.
Again, in All's Well that Ends Well, Act II. Sc. III.: " make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless."
The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd PANTALOON;] There is a greater beauty than appears at first sight in this image. He is here comparing human life to a stage play of seven Acts (which is no unusual division before our author's time). The sixth he calls the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, alluding to that general character in the Italian comedy, called Il Pantalóne; who is a thin emaciated old man in slippers; and well designed, in that epithet, because Pantalóne is the only character that acts in slippers.
In The Travels of the Three English Brothers, a comedy, 1606, [as Mr. Capell has remarked,] an Italian Harlequin is introduced, who offers to perform a play at a Lord's house, in which, among other characters, he mentions "a jealous coxcomb, and an old Pantaloune." But this is seven years later than the date of the play before us: nor do I know from whence our author could learn the circumstance mentioned by Dr. Warburton, that "Pantalóne is the only character in the Italian comedy that acts in slippers." In Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598, the word is not found. In The Taming of a Shrew, one of the characters, if I remember right, is called "an old Pantaloon," but there is no farther description of him.
Nashe, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Devil, 1592, commending the English Theatres, says, "our stage is more stately furnished,-not consisting, like theirs, of a Pantaloun, a whore, and a Zanie," &c. but he does not describe the dress of the Pantaloon. MALONE.
6 - the lean and slipper'd PANTALOON,
With SPECTACLES on nose,] So, in The Plotte of the Deade Man's Fortune: [See vol. iii.] "Enter the panteloun and pescode with spectakles." STEEVENS.
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Re-enter ORLANDO, with ADAM.
DUKE S. Welcome: Set down your venerable burden 7,
And let him feed.
I scarce can speak to thank you for myself.
I thank you most for him.
As yet, to question you about your fortunes :-
Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
As man's ingratitude;
7-Set down your venerable burden,] Is it not likely that Shakspeare had in his mind this line of the Metamorphoses? xiii. 125:
Fert humeris, venerabile onus, Cythereius heros.
A. Golding, p. 169, b. edit. 1587, translates it thus: upon his backe
"His aged father and his gods, an honorable packe."
8 Thou art not so UNKIND, &c.] That is, thy action is not so contrary to thy kind, or to human nature, as the ingratitude of man. So, in our author's Venus and Adonis, 1593:
Thy tooth is not so keen,
"O had thy mother borne so bad a mind,
9 Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,] This song is designed to suit the Duke's exiled condition, who had been ruined by ungrateful flatterers. Now the winter wind, the song says, is to be preferred to man's ingratitude. But why? Because it is not seen, But this was not only an aggravation of the injury, as it was done in secret, not seen, but was the very circumstance that made the keenness of the ingratitude of his faithless courtiers. Without doubt, Shakspeare wrote the line thus:
"Because thou art not sheen,"
i. e. smiling, shining, like an ungrateful court-servant, who flatters while he wounds, which was a very good reason for giving the winter wind the preference. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
Spangled star-light sheen."
And several other places.
Chaucer uses it in this sense: "Your blissful sister Lucina the shene." And Fairfax:
"The sacred angel took his target shene,
"And by the Christian champion stood unseen."
The Oxford editor, who had this emendation communicated to him, takes occasion from hence to alter the whole line thus:
"Thou causest not that teen."
But, in his rage of correction, he forgot to leave the reason, which is now wanting-Why the winter wind was to be preferred to man's ingratitude. WARBURTON.
I am afraid that no reader is satisfied with Dr. Warburton's emendation, however vigorously enforced; and it is indeed enforced with more art than truth. Sheen, i. e. smiling, shining. That sheen signifies shining, is easily proved, but when or where did it signify smiling? yet smiling gives the sense necessary in this place. Sir T. Hanmer's change is less uncouth, but too remote from the present text. For my part, I question whether the original line is not lost, and this substituted merely to fill up the measure and the rhyme. Yet even out of this line, by strong agitation may sense be elicited, and sense not unsuitable to the occasion. Thou winter wind, says Amiens, thy rudeness gives the less pain, as thou art not seen, as thou art an enemy that dost not brave us with thy presence, and whose unkindness is therefore not aggravated by insult. JOHNSON.