« AnkstesnisTęsti »
I've gone all night-'faith, I'll lie down and fleep.
These flow'rs are like the pleasures of the world;
ACT V. SCENE II.
(23) No blame be to you, Sir, for all was loft, But that the heavens fought: the king himself,
(22) A drop of pity:] So Othello fays,
I fhou'd have found in fome place of my foul
Mr. Theobald obferves, tho' this expreffion is very pathetic in both places of our author, it brings to my mind a very humorous paffage in the Arcarnenfes of Ariftophanes. An Athenian ruftic, in time of war, is robbed of a yoke of oxen by the Baotians: he has almost cry'd his eyes out for the lofs of his cattle, and comes to beg for a drop of peace in a quill, to anoint his eyes with.'
-Συδ' αλλα μοι, &c.
One drop of peace at least, I pray you, pour
(23) No blame.] This defcription is truly claffical, and deferves to be placed in competition with the finest in Homer and Virgil,
Of his wings deftitute, the army broken,
(24) I, in mine own woe charm'd, Could not find death, where I did hear him groan;
both of whom abound with numberless paffages of the like nature the learned reader will want no direction to find them out; however fuch as are not fo well acquainted with the ancients, may be agreeably amufed by turning to the 12th Iliad, and 122d line, and the latter end of the 11th book of the Æneid. In Lucan too, he will meet with fome fine defcriptions of routs and flaughters: in the 7th book of his Pharfalla, he has something very like Shakespear's;
The poet fays;
The victors murder, and the vanquifh'd bleed;
But perhaps, no poet, ancient or modern, can equal our blind bard on this fubject; his battle of the angels, their rout and headlong expulfion from heaven are too well known and admired to need particular remarking here.
(24) I-charm'd, &c.] Alluding to the common fuperftition of charms being powerful enough to keep men unhurt in battle. It was derived from our Saxon ancestors, and fo is common to us with the Germans, who are above all other people given to this fuperftition, which made Erafmus, where, in his Morice Encomium, he gives to each nation his proper characteristic, fay, the Germais pleafe themselves with the ftrength of their bodies, and their knowledge of magic.' And Prior, in his Alma;
Nor feel him where he ftruck. This ugly monster,
North-Britons hence have fecond fight,
Aubrey, in the ft Scene, and 5th Act of the Bloody Brother,fpeaking of death, fays;
Am I afraid of death, of dying nobly?
Of dying in mine innocence uprightly?
Have I met death in all his forms and fears,
Now on the points of fwords, now pitch'd on lances.
In fires, in ftorms of arrows, battles, breaches,
Mr. Pope (fays Steevens) fuppofed the ftory of this play to have been borrow'd from a novel of Boccace; but he was mistaken, as an imitation of it is found in an old story-book entitled, Weftward for Smelts. This imitation differs in as many particulars from the Italian novelift, as from Shakespear, though they concur in the more confiderable parts of the fable. It was published in a quarte pamphlet 1603. This is the only copy of it which I have hitherto feen.
There is a late entry of it in the books of the Stationers' Company, Jan. 1619, where it is faid to have been written by Kitt of Kingston
ACT I. SCENE I.
N the most high and (1) palmy state of Rome,
(1) Palmy] i e. Victorious- -to gibber, is to chatter or make a gnashing with the teeth Difafter, (fays Skinner, and as its derivation plainly speaks) fignifies malignum fidus, an evil far; and by the astrologifts it was used for an evil or unlucky conjunction of flars; the great repute of that art, and the influence the ftars were fuppofed to have on man's life, gave it the fignification we now use it in. Shakespear ufes it in its primary fenfe. The learned reader will eafily recollect the accounts given by the biflorians, of the prodigies preceding the death of Julius Cæfar: our author feems neither to have been unacquainted with that fine digreffion in Virgil's first Georgic concerning them, nor the account of them in Ovid, which 'tis probable he might have imitated from Virgil: I shall beg leave to fubjoin them both.
He firft the fate of Cæfar did foretel,
Stars fhone with trains of fire, dews of blood fell,
Earth, air and feas with prodigies were fign'd,
And holy fweat from brazen idols fell.
Such peals of thunder never pour'd from high,
Nor forky lightnings flash'd from fuch a fullen sky.
Garth's Ovid, B. 15. p. 354.
Among the clouds, were heard the dire alarms
And the moon's orb was ftain'd with fpots of red: