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(5) Or had he heard the heav'nly harmony,
ACT III. SCENE II.
A Lady's Tongue cut out.
O, that delightful engine of her thoughts, That blabb'd them with fuch pleafing eloquence, Is torn from forth that pretty hollow cage, Where, like a fweet melodious bird, it fung Sweet various notes, inchanting every ear!
(5) Or, &c.] This puts me in mind of that most excellent paffage in Milton's Comus, where upon the lady's finging, Comus obferves,
Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
How fweetly did they float upon the wings
And chid her barking waves into attention,
A Perfon in Defpair, compar'd to one on a Rock, &c.
For now I stand as one upon a rock,
Tears compar'd to Dew on a Lily.
When I did name her brothers, then fresh tears Stood on her cheeks; as doth the honey-dew Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd.
Reflections on killing a Fly.
Mar. (6) Alas, my lord, I have but kill'd a fly!
(6) Alas.] The mind of Titus is wholly taken up with a reflection on his misfortunes, and his miferics as a parent: His brother Marcus killing a fly, he reprehends him for his cruelty; for, fays he,
Mine eyes are cloy'd with view of tyranny:
And he further reflects upon it, and brings it to himself: "How,, (fays he,) if this poor fly had a father and mother---how ? what would be hang, &c. The Reader muft fee the impropriety; for furely, he would add, "how would they, [the father and the mother,] for the lofs, hang their flender, gilded wings, and buz-lamenting doings in the air?" fo that doubtlefs we fhould read,
How wou'd they hang their flender, gilded wings,
For the fly after being kill'd, could not hang his wings himself, nor buz-lamenting doings; which word, though perhaps not altogether fo expreffive, feems to me the true one; it is frequently 02. ufed
How would they hang their flender, gilded wings,
That with his pretty buzzing melody,
Lo, by thy fide where rape and murder stands;
ufed for an action, a thing done: Mr. Theobald proposes, Lamenting delings.
Though he was confcious of the fimilarity between the word and the epithet; notwithstanding which the Oxford editor gives
Laments and doings.
THIS is one of thofe plays (fays Theobald) which I have always thought, with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledged in the lift of Shakespear's genuine pieces. And, perhaps, I may give a proof to ftrengthen this opinion, that may put the matter out of queftion. Ben Jonson, in the introduction
to his Bartholomew-Fair, which made its first appearance in the year 1614, couples feronymo and Andronicus together in reputation, and fpeaks of them as plays then of twenty-five or thirty years ftanding. Confequently Andronicus muft have been on the itage before Shakespear left Warwickshire, to come and refide in London and I never heard it so much as intimated, that he had turned his genius to ftage-writing before he affociated with the players, and became one of their body. However, that he afterwards introduced it anew on the ftage, with the addition of his own mafterly touches, is inconteftible; and thence, I prefume, grew his title to it. The diction in general, where he has not taken the pains to raife it, is even beneath that of the Three Parts of Henry VI. The ftory, we are to fuppofe merely fictitious. Andronicus is a fur-name of pure Greek derivation. Tamora is neither mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus, nor any body elfe that I can find. Nor had Rome, in the time of her emperors, any wars with the Goths that I know of: not till after the translation of the empire, I mean to Byzantium. And yet the scene of our play is laid at Rome, and Saturnius is elected to the empire at the capitol.
varlet: I'll unarm again.
(1) Why fhould I war without the walls of Troy,
That find fuch cruel battle here within?
Each Trojan, that is master of his heart,
Let him to field: Troilus, alas! hath none.
Volpone. O I am wounded!
Mf. Where, Sir,
Volpone. Not without;
(1) Call, &c.] Mr. Theobald and Mr. Upton both perceived our author's alluffon here to an ode of Anacreon, (or, as the latter fays, "to a thought printed among those poems, which are afcribed to Anacreon.") Ben Jonfon, as well as our author, alludes to it in the following paffage :
Those blows were nothing; I could bear them ever.
Where now he flings about his burning heat,
Volpone, A&t. 2. S. 3