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Piercing the night's dull ear; and from the tents,
The country cocks do crow, the clocks do toll:
Sit patiently, and inly ruminate
The morning's danger; (8) and their gefture fad,
(8) And their gefture, &c.] The prefent paffage has perplexed the commentators, and feems not to have been at all understood by them: Theobald has left it as it ftands, without troubling himfelf about it. Warburton and Sir Thomas Hanmer have both misunderstood, and both altered it, differently. Their mistakes have arifen from imagining the participle invefting was to be connected with gefture fad in the foregoing line, whereas it is put abfolute, and to be conftrued lank-lean cheeks, and war-worn coats investing; there is no difficulty in the word applied to coats, as the immediate fenfe of the word is cloathing: Shakespear ules investments for cloaths in the foregoing play, A. 4 S. 2.
Whose white investments figure innocence.
The difficulty is in the word applied to lank-lean cheeks; it muft there be taken metaphorically: we know how vague our author is in his use of metaphors, and we know how often he uses one verb or participle to two nouns of a different sense, as here. But indeed the metaphor is not unusual, we say often the face is cloath'd with fmiles: thus to me this difficult paffage appears in a very clear light, which I could have wifh'd Mr. Edwards, who fo well understands our author had explained to us: he feems to look upon it as defperate. See Can. of criticism, p. 72.
A very ingenious gentleman obferved to me, upon my asking his opinion of the paffage, that invefting, by the common acceptation, fignifies befieging, or rather taking possession of all the avenues to a place and this arifes from the civil and feudal cuftoms of C 3
(Investing lank-lean cheeks, and war worn-coats,)
Walking from watch to watch, from tent to tent,
Upon his royal face there is no note,
How dread an army hath enrounded him;
giving poffeffion by a robe or vestment: He then obferved, that Shakespear ufes the word in a fimple sense: an investment with him being the matching of cloaths: and cloaths that are welk match'd or fuited, are called a fute or fuit of cloaths.
And their gefture fad
Investing (i. e. fuiting or matching with) lank-lean cheeks &c; He feems to have fallen into the same mistake with the other commentators in regard to the conftruction. All I would obferve from his judicious remark is, that inveling, in the metaphorical fenfe, if it fatisfies not the reader in the fimple one, will explain the paflage very well: lank-lean cheeks and war-worn coats taking poffeffion of them, &c. but I think the first fenfe the true one.
I cannot but approve Sir Thomas Hanmer's criticism of presented into prefenteth which I have admitted into the text, as the reader may plainly fee, the chorus fpeaks of the time prefent: they fit, they ruminate, and fo on. To make the line more clear, I have printed it in a parenthefis, and, I hope, fhall be excufed for my endeavour to explain fo difficult a paffage, as I would have every line, in our author, if poffible, fet right, and, by all means, prefer the old and general readings, to any wanton conjectures of mifapprehending criticism.
Prefenteth. Ox. edit. vulg. prefented.
His lib'ral eyes doth give to ev'ry one,
Thawing cold fear,
SCENE V. The Miferies of Royalty.
(9) O hard condition, and twin-born with greatness,
And what art thou, thou idol ceremony?
(10) What is the foul of adoration ?
Art thou aught elfe but place, degree, and form,
(9) 0, &c.] See A. 4. S. 10, of the foregoing play.
(10) What, &c.] What is thy foul of adoration--- is the common reading: there wants but the alteration of thy into the, as in the text, and all is well: the meaning is as well explained by Mr. Upton--what is the foul, i. e. the real worth, what substantial good is there in adoration or ceremony? What are the rents? What are the comings in, Oh ceremony! fhew me but thy worth, tell me what is the foul, the very utmost value, of adoration ?--- "ShakeSpear ufes the word foul in this fense very often;--in this play, he says, There is fome foul of goodness in things evil;
i. e. fome real or fubftantial good.
In his midfummer night's dream
But you must join in fouls to mock me too; e. unite together heartily, and in earnest.
And in Measure for measure;
We have with special foul
Elected him, &c.
i. e. particularly and specially speciamente. The alterations foifted into the texts in the feveral places, are too ridiculous to need mentioning: Upton's Obfervations, P.406.z
Creating awe and fear in other men?
Wherein thou art lefs happy, being fear'd,
Than they in fearing.
What drink'st thou of, instead of homage fweet,
Will it give place to flexure and low bending?
I am a king, that find thee, and I know,
Can fleep fo foundly as the wretched flave;
But, like, &c.] The poet in this most beautiful paffage is compar ing the laborious have to the lacquey or footman of Phoebus: "He never beholds night, fays the poet, but like a lacquey obliged ever to attend and follow his mafter, fweats from rife to fet, in the eye of Phoebus, bis mafter, fleeps all night, where be (Phoebus) fleeps, in Elyfium, and the next day, after dawn, rifes to his bufinefs, and helps his mafter, Hyperion, to his horfe; in whofe fight he again fweats from rife to fet as before, and thus follows the ever-running year &c." Nothing can be more exquifite, and more nobly befpeak the hand of Shakespear. Mr. Seward's alteration is quite unneceffary; for this manner of expression is entirely
Sweats in the eye of Phoebus; and all night
SCENE VII. A Defcription of the miferable
Yon island carrions, defperate of their bones,
With torch-ftaves in their hands: and their poor jades
agreeable to our author. That gentleman, in his preface, brings the following paffage from Philafter, A. 4. as worthy to be placed in competition with that of Shakespear, and where the hands, he says, are fcarcely to be diftinguished, except from one fingle expreffion of Shakespear.. A prince depriv'd of his throne and betray'd as he thought in love, thus mourns his melancholy state. See Beaumont and Fletcher's works, Vol. 1. preface, p. 24.
Oh that 1 had been nourish'd in these woods,