Imatges de pÓgina

No, not so much perdition as an hair,
Betid to any creature in the vessel'

Which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st sink.
Sit down;

For thou must now know further.

MIRA. You have often Begun to tell me what I am; but stopp'd And left me to a bootless inquisition; Concluding, Stay, not yet.

PRO. The hour's now come; The very minute bids thee ope thine ear; Obey, and be attentive. Can'st thou remember A time before we came unto this cell?

I do not think thou can'st; for then thou wast not Out three years old 8.

[ocr errors]


Certainly, sir, I can.


PRO. By what? by any other house, or person Of any thing the image tell me, that Hath kept with thy remembrance.


'Tis far off; And rather like a dream than an assurance That my remembrance warrants: Had I not Four or five women once, that tended me ? PRO. Thou had'st, and more, Miranda: But how is it,

cludes it, entirely changes its construction, because another, more forcible, occurs. As this change frequently happens in conversation, it may be suffered to pass uncensured in the language of the stage. STEEVENS.


not so much perdition as an HAIR,

Betid to any creature in the vessel-] Had Shakspeare in his mind St. Paul's hortatory speech to the ship's company, where he assures them that, though they were to suffer shipwreck,


not an hair should fall from the head of any of them? Acts, xxvii. 34. Ariel afterwards says, "Not a hair perish'd."


[ocr errors]


OUT three years old.] i. e. Quite three years old, three years old full-out, complete.

So, in the 4th Act: "And be a boy right out." STEEVENS..

That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou else
In the dark backward and abysm of time?
If thou remember'st aught, ere thou cam'st here,
How thou cam'st here, thou may'st.


But that I do not. PRO. Twelve years since, Miranda, twelve years since 1

Thy father was the duke of Milan, and

A prince of power.

Sir, are not you my father? PRO. Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and She said thou wast my daughter; and thy father Was duke of Milan; and his only heir

A princess ;-no worse issued 2.


O, the heavens ! What foul play had we, that we came from thence? Or blessed was't, we did?

PRO. Both, both, my girl: By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heav'd thence; But blessedly holp hither.


ABYSM of time?] i. e. Abyss. This method of spelling the word is common to other ancient writers. They took it from the French abysme, now written abime. So, in Heywood's Brazen Age, 1613:

"And chase him from the deep abysms below."


I Twelve YEARS since, Miranda, twelve YEARS since,] Years, in the first instance, is used as a dissyllable, in the second as a monosyllable. But this is not a licence peculiar to the prosody of Shakspeare. In the second book of Sidney's Arcadia are the following lines, exhibiting the same word with a similar prosodiacal variation :

"And shall she die? shall cruel fier spill
"Those beames that set so many hearts on fire?”


2 A princess;-no worse ISSUED.] The old copy_reads"And princess." For the trivial change in the text I am answerable. Issued is descended. So, in Greene's Card of Fancy, 1608:

"For I am by birth a gentleman, and issued of such parents," &c. STEEVENS.


O, my heart bleeds To think o' the teen' that I have turn'd you to, Which is from my remembrance! Please you,


PRO. My brother, and thy uncle, call'd Antonio,

I pray thee, mark me,-that a brother should
Be so perfidious!—he whom, next thyself,
Of all the world I lov'd, and to him put
The manage of my state; as, at that time,
Through all the signiories it was the first,
And Prospero the prime duke; being so reputed
In dignity, and, for the liberal arts,
Without a parallel; those being all my study,
The government I cast upon my brother,
And to my state grew stranger, being transported,
And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncle-
Dost thou attend me?


Sir, most heedfully. PRO. Being once perfected how to grant suits, How to deny them; whom to advance, and whom * To trash for over-topping; new created



teen] Is sorrow, grief, trouble. So, in Romeo and

to my teen be it spoken." STEEVENS.

4 — WHOM to advance, and WHOM-] The old copy has who in both places. Corrected by the editor of the second folio.

MALONE. 5 To trash for over-topping;] To trash, as Dr. Warburton observes, is to cut away the superfluities. This word I have met with in books containing directions for gardeners, published in the time of Queen Elizabeth.


[ocr errors]

The present explanation may be countenanced by the following passage in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, b. x. ch. 57:

"Who suffreth none by might, by wealth or blood to overtopp,

"Himself gives all preferment, and whom listeth him doth lop."

Again, in our author's K. Richard II. :

The creatures that were mine; I say, or chang'd them,


Or else new form'd them: having both the key
Of officer and office, set all hearts' i' th' state,

"Go thou, and, like an executioner,

“ Cut off the heads of too-fast-growing sprays
"That look too lofty in our commonwealth."

Mr. Warton's note, however, on "trash for his quick hunting," in the second act of Othello, leaves my interpretation of this passage somewhat disputable.

Mr. M. Mason observes, that "to trash for overtopping,' may mean to lop them, because they did overtop, or in order to prevent them from overtopping." So Lucetta, in the second scene of the Two Gentlemen of Verona, says:

"I was taken up for laying them down,

"Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold." That is, lest they should catch cold. See the notes on this passage. In another place (a note on Othello) Mr. M. Mason observes, that Shakspeare had probably in view, when he wrote the passage before us, 66 the manner in which Tarquin conveyed to Sextus his advice to destroy the principal citizens of Gabii, by striking off, in the presence of his messengers, the heads of all the tallest poppies, as he walked with them in his garden. STEEVENS.


I think this phrase means to correct for too much haughtiness or overbearing." It is used by sportsmen in the North when they correct a dog for misbehaviour in pursuing the game. This explanation is warranted by the following passage in Othello, Act II. Sc. I.:

"If this poor trash of Venice, whom I trash
"For his quick hunting."

It was not till after I had made this remark, that I saw Mr. Warton's note on the above lines in Othello, which corroborates it.


A trash is a term still in use among hunters, to denote a piece of leather, couples, or any other weight fastened round the neck of a dog, when his speed is superior to the rest of the pack; i. e. when he over-tops them, when he hunts too quick. C.



See Othello, vol. ix. p. 315, n. 9. both the KEY - This is meant of a key for tuning the harpsichord, spinnet, or virginal; we call it now a tuning hammer. SIR J. HAWKINS. 7 Of officer and office, set all hearts-] The old copy reads"all hearts i' th' state," but redundantly in regard to metre, and unnecessarily respecting sense; for what hearts, except such as were i' th' state, could Alonso incline to his purposes?

[ocr errors]

To what tune pleas'd his ear; that now he was
The ivy, which had hid my princely trunk,
And suck'd my verdure out on't .-Thou attend'st



MIRA. O good sir, I do. PRO. I pray thee, mark meo. I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated' To closeness, and the bettering of my mind With that, which, but by being so retir'd, O'er-priz'd all popular rate, in my false brother Awak'd an evil nature and my trust, Like a good parent 2, did beget of him A falsehood, in its contrary as great

As my trust was; which had, indeed, no limit, A confidence sans bound. He being thus lorded, Not only with what my revenue yielded,

But what my power might else exact,—like one,
Who having, unto truth, by telling of it,
Made such a sinner of his memory,

To credit his own lie3,-he did believe

I have followed the advice of Mr. Ritson, who judiciously proposes to omit the words now ejected from the text.


And suck'd my VERDURE out on't.] So, in Arthur Hall's translation of the first book of Homer, 1581, where Achilles swears by his sceptre :


Who having lost the sapp of wood, eft greenenesse cannot drawe." STEEVENS.

9 I

pray thee, mark me.] In the old copy, these words are the beginning of Prospero's next speech; but, for the restoration of metre, I have changed their place. STEEVENS.

Mr. Steevens placed these words at the close of Prospero's preceding speech. BOSWELL.


I thus neglecting worldly ends, all DEDICATE ] The old copy has-dedicated; but we should read, as in Mr. Steevens's text, dedicate. Thus, in Measure for Measure :


Prayers from fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate "To nothing temporal." RITSON.

2 Like a good PARENT, &c.] Alluding to the observation, that a father above the common rate of men has commonly a son below it. Heroum filii noxæ. JOHNSON.

« AnteriorContinua »