Графични страници
PDF файл

dress the hair. In To redress, meaning to set to rights again that which has gone wrong, to make that which was crooked once more straight, we have the simple etymological or radical import of the word completely preserved. To redress is to re-rectify.

[ocr errors]


The following are some examples of the employment of the word addressed by writers of the latter part of the seventeenth century:- "When Middleton came to the King in Paris, he brought with him a little Scotish vicar, who was known to the King, one Mr Knox. . . . He said he was addressed from Scotland to the Lords in the Tower, who did not then know that Middleton had arrived in safety with the King;" etc.-Clarendon, Hist., Book xiii. Thereupon they [the King's friends in England] sent Harry Seymour, who, being of his Majesty's bedchamber, and having his leave to attend his own affairs in England, they well knew would be believed by the King, and, being addressed only to the Marquis of Ormond and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he might have opportunity to speak with the King privately and undiscovered;" etc. Id., Book xiv. "Though the messengers who were sent were addressed only to the King himself and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer;" etc.— Ibid. "Two gentlemen of Kent came to Windsor the morning after the Prince [of Orange] came thither. They were addressed to me. And they told me;" etc.-Burnet, Own Time, I. 799.


301. You are the first that rears your hand.—In strict grammar, perhaps, it should be either " rears his" or rear your;" but the business of an editor of Shakespeare is not to make for us in all cases perfect grammar, but to give us what his author in all probability wrote. A writer's grammatical irregularities are as much part of his style, and therefore of his mind and of himself, as any other characteristic.

302. Casca. Are we all ready? 303. Cæs. What is

now amiss, etc. There can, I think, be no doubt that Mr Collier's MS. annotator has here again given us the true reading, and a valuable restoration. What Casca could possibly mean by exclaiming "What is now amiss, That Cæsar and his Senate must redress ?" is nearly inconceivable. The question is plainly suitable to Cæsar only, to the person presiding; the proceedings could never have been so opened by any mere member of the Senate. And the absurdity of supposing it to have been spoken by Casca becomes still stronger when we have to consider it as a natural sequence of the "Are we all ready?" which immediately precedes. Even if any one of the conspirators was likely to have made such a display, it was hardly Casca.

304. Most puissant Cæsar.—Puissant, and the substantive form puissance, are, I believe, always dissyllables in Milton; with Shakespeare they generally are so (as here), but not always. Thus in King John, iii. 1, the King says to the Bastard,

"Cousin, go draw our puissance together."

Walker, however, is mistaken in producing the line"Either past, or not arrived to pith and puissance”

(from the Chorus before the Third Act of King Henry the Fifth) as necessarily to be read with the trisyllabic division of the word. It is not even probable that it ought to be so read,—barely possible. In Spenser too we have occasionally this pronunciation:-as in F. Q. v. 2, 7, "For that he is so puissant and strong;" and again in st. 17, "His puissance, ne bear himself upright."

305. These crouchings.-This is the correction (for the couchings of the old printed copies) of Mr Collier's MS. annotator. Surely it does not admit of a doubt.

305. And turn pre-ordinance, etc.-The reading of the old text here is "into the lane of children." Malone actually attempts an explanation of " the lane of children;" he says it may mean "the narrow conceits of children,

which must change as their minds grow more enlarged"! The prostration of the human understanding before what it has got to hold as authority can hardly be conceived to go beyond this. Johnson conjectured that lane might be a misprint for law; and Mr Collier's MS. annotator, it appears, makes the same emendation. The new reading may still be thought not to be perfectly satisfactory; but at least it is not utter nonsense, like the other. In a passage which has evidently suffered some injury, we may perhaps be allowed to suspect that "first decree" should be "fixed decree." The word would be spelled fixt, as it is immediately afterwards in 310.

305. Be not fond, etc.-The sense in which fond is used here (that of foolish) appears to be the original one; so that when tenderness of affection was first called fondness it must have been regarded as a kind of folly. In like manner what was thought of doting upon anything, or any person, may be inferred from the import of the word dotage. In Chaucer a fonne is a fool; and the word fondling can scarcely be said to have yet lost that meaning (though it is omitted by Dr Webster).

305. Such rebel blood, That will be thawed.-Vid. 44. 305. Low-crouched curt'sies.-This is the correction of Mr Collier's MS. annotator: the Folios have "Lowcrooked-curtsies" (with hyphens connecting all the three words). We say to crouch low, but not to crook low. Curt'sies, which we have here, is the same word which appears in the second line of the present speech as courtesies. It is akin to court and courteous, the immediate root being the French cour; which, again, appears to be the Latin curia,-or rather curiata (scil. comitia ?), as is indicated by our English court, and the old form of the French word, which was the same, and also by the Italian corte and the Spanish corte and cortes. Mr Collier prints curtesies. It is curtsies in the Second Folio, as well as in the First.

[ocr errors]

305. Know, Cæsar doth not wrong, etc.-This is the reading of all the old. printed copies, and Mr Collier expressly states that it is left untouched by his MS. corrector. We must take it as meaning, " Cæsar never does what is wrong, or unjust; nor will he be appeased (when he has determined to punish) without sufficient reason being shown." At the same time, it must be confessed both that these two propositions, or affirmations, do not hang very well together, and also that such meaning as they may have is not very clearly or effectively expressed by the words. "Nor without cause will he be satisfied" has an especially suspicious look. That "without cause should mean without sufficient reason being shown why he should be satisfied or induced to relent is only an interpretation to which we are driven for want of a better. Now, all this being so, it is remarkable that there is good evidence that the passage did not originally stand as we now have it. Ben Jonson, in his Discoveries, speaking of Shakespeare, says, "Many times he fell into those things could not escape laughter; as when he said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him, 'Cæsar, thou dost me wrong,' he replied, 'Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause."" And he ridicules the expression again in his Staple of News: Cry you mercy; you never did wrong but with just cause.' We must believe that the words stood originally as Jonson has given them; and he had evidently heard of no alteration of them. Whoever may

[ocr errors]

have attempted to mend them might perhaps have as well let them alone. After all, Cæsar's declaring that he never did wrong but with just cause would differ little from what Bassanio says in The Merchant of Venice, iv. 1 :— . "I beseech you,

Wrest once the law to your authority:

To do a great right do a little wrong."

Shakespeare, however, may have retouched the passage himself on being told of Jonson's ridicule of it, though

perhaps somewhat hastily and with less painstaking than Euripides when he mended or cut out, as he is said to have done in several instances, what had incurred the derisive criticism of Aristophanes.

306. For the repealing, etc.-To repeal (from the French rappeler) is literally to recall, though no longer used in that sense, in which, however, it repeatedly occurs in Shakespeare. Thus in Coriolanus, iv. 1, after the banishment of Marcius, his friend Cominius says to him,

"If the time thrust forth

A cause for thy repeal, we shall not send," etc.

For the probable pronunciation of banished in this and in the preceding speech, see the note on 246.

307. Desiring thee.—We should now say in this sense desiring of thee." To desire, from the Latin desiderium (through the French désir) is the same as to desiderate ; but, like other similar terms, it has in different constructions, or has had in different stages of the language, various meanings according to the measure or degree of intensity in which that which it expresses is conceived to be presented. It may be found in every sense, from such wishing or longing as is the gentlest and quietest of all things (the soft desire of the common herd of our amatory versemongers) to that kind which gives utterance to itself in the most imperative style of command.

307. An immediate freedom of repeal.-A. free unconditional recall. This application of the term freedom is a little peculiar. It is apparently imitated from the expression freedom of a city. As that is otherwise called the municipal franchise, so this is called enfranchisement in the next speech but one.

309. As low as to thy foot.-The Second Folio has "As love."

310. I could be well moved.-I could fitly or properly be moved.

310. If I could pray to move, prayers would move me.—

« ПредишнаНапред »