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we read statua) if even be a monosyllable, which he says it usually is in Shakespeare. He thinks that it would be all right with the prosody if even could be taken as a dissyllable!
426. Which all the while ran blood. This is almost in the words of North’s Plutarch :-“ Against the very base whereon Pompey's statue stood, which ran all a gore of blood.” Gore is an Original English word meaning any. thing muddy, possibly connected with the German gähren, to ferment, and other German words.
426. Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.-Surely this can mean' nothing more than that treason triumphed, -put forth, as it were, its flowers,-shot up into vigorous efflorescence,-over us. Yet the only interpretation the Variorum commentators supply is that of Steevens, who says that flourishes means flourishes its sword, and quotes from Romeo and Juliet, i. 1, the line, " And flourishes his blade in spite of me, as if that would prove that to flourish used absolutely meant or could mean to flourish a sword.
4:26. The dint of pity.-Dint seems to be the same word with dent, or indentation, that is, the impression made as by a tooth. It is commonly dent in the old writers.
426. These are gracious drops.-Falling, the thought seems to be, like the bountiful and refreshing rain from heaven.
426. Marred, as you see, with traitors.—Did. 363.
432. We will be revenged, etc.—This speech is printed in the First Folio as if it were verse, thus :
“We will be revenged: revenge;
Let not a traitor live." 433. Stay, countrymen.—To this speech Mr Collier's MS. annotator appends the stage direction, “ They are
436. What private griefs they have.-Vid. 129.–Griefs with Shakespeare involves the notion rather of to aggrieve than that expressed by to grieve. So again in 519 : “Speak your griefs softly;" and “Enlarge your griefs.” 436. That gave me public leave to speak of him.-
The Second Folio has “That give me.” Mr Collier restores gave.
436. For I have neither wit, etc.—This is the reading of the Second Folio. ' The First has writ, which Malone actually adopts and defends! Here is a most animated and admirable enumeration of the various powers, faculties, and arts by which a great orator is enabled" to stir men's blood,” beginning, naturally, with that gift of imagination and invention which is at once the highest of them all and the fountain of most of the others; and this editor, rather than admit the probability of the misprint of a single letter in a volume swarming with undeniable typographical errata, would make Antony substitute the ridiculous remark that the first requisite for his purpose, and that in which he was chiefly deficient, was what he calls a writ, meaning a written speech! Is it possible that such a critic can have had the smallest feeling of anything in Shakespeare above the level of the merest
Wit,” he goes on to tell us, “in our author's time had not its present signification, but meant understanding." The fact is, that there are numerous passages in Shakespeare in which the word has exactly its present signification. “Sir Thurio,” says Valentine to Silvia, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona (ii. 4), "borrows his wit from your ladyship's looks, and spends what he borrows, kindly, in your company.” “Sir," replies Thurio, "if you spend word for word with me, I shall make
wit bankrupt.” So in Much Ado About Nothing, i. 1,“ There is a kind of merry war," says Leonato, speaking of his niece Beatrice, “ betwixt Signior Benedick and her: they never meet but there is a skirmish of wit between them.”
Or, to go no further, how would Malone, or those who think with him (if there be any), explain the conversation about Benedick's wit in the First Scene of the Fifth Act of the last-mentioned Play without taking the word as there used in the sense which it now ordinarily bears ? In the passage before us, to be sure, its meaning is more comprehensive, corresponding nearly to what it still conveys in the expression “the wit of man.”
We have the same natural conjunction of terms that we have here in Measure for Measure, v. 1, where the Duke addresses the discomfited Angelo :
“Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence,
That yet can do thee office ?" 436. And bid them speak for me.—The them here, emphatic and yet occupying a place in the verse in which it is commonly laid down that only a short or unaccented syllable can properly stand, is in precisely the same predicament with the him of “When the noble Cæsar saw him stab” of 426. Vid. 537. 444. To
several Several is connected with the verb sever, which is from the Latin separo, through the French sevrer (though that language has also séparer, as we too have separate). “Every several man" is every man by himself or in his individual capacity. The phrase may be illustrated by the legal distinction between estates in severalty and in joint-tenancy or in common. So in 449 we have “common pleasures." “These properties of arts or policy, and dissimulation or closeness,” says Bacon, in his 6th Essay, “are, indeed, habits and faculties several, and to be distinguished.”
449. He hath left them you.--The emphasis is on you.
450. And with the brands fire the traitors' houses.This is the reading of the First Folio : the Second has "all the traitors' houses," which may be right; for the prolongation of fire into a dissyllable, though it will give us the requisite number of syllables (which satisfies both
Malone and Steevens), will not make a very musical verse. Yet the harshness and dissonance produced by the irregular fall of the accent, in addition to the diæresis, in the case of the word fire, may be thought to add to the force and expressiveness of the line. Mr Collier omits the “ all."
454. Take thou what course thou wilt!-How now, fellow ?-It is impossible not to suspect that Shakespeare must have written “ Take now what course thou wilt.” The emphatic pronoun, or even a pronoun at all, is unaccountable here. The abruptness, or unexpectedness, of the appearance of the Servant is vividly expressed by the unusual construction of this verse, in which we have an example of the extreme licence, or deviation from the normal form, consisting in the reversal of the regular accentuation in the last foot. Thus we have in Milton, Paradise Lost, x. 840,
“Beyond all past example and future;' and again, xi. 683,
“To whom thus Michael : These are the product.” At least, future, which is common in his verse,
everywhere else the accent on the first syllable. Product occurs nowhere else in Milton, and nowhere in Shakespeare.—The stage directions before and after this speech are in the original edition; — "Exit Plebeians," and “ Enter Servant."
458. He comes upon a wish.—Coincidently with, as it were upon the back of, my wish for him. Vid. 589.
459. I heard them say. In all the old copies it is “I heard him
say; » which Jennens explains thus :evidently refers to Octavius, who, as he was coming into Rome, had seen Brutus and Cassius riding like madmen through the gates, and had related the same in the presence of the servant.” The conjectural emendation of them, however, which appears to have been first proposed by Capell had been long generally received, and is con
firmed by the authority of Mr Collier's manuscript annotator.
459. Are rid like madmen.-Vid. 374.
460. Belike they had some notice of the people.— This now obsolete word belike (probably) is commonly held to be a compound of by and like. But it may perhaps be rather the ancient gelice (in like manner), with a slight change of meaning. Vid. 390.-"Some notice of the people” is some notice respecting the people.
SCENE III.--The same.
Enter CINNA the Poet.
And things unlikely charge my fantasy :
4 Cit. Ay, and wisely. 469. 3 Cit. Ay, and truly, you were best. 470. Cin. What is my name? Whither am I going? Where do I
dwell ? Am I a married man, or a bachelor? Then to answer every man directly and briefly, wisely and truly. Wisely, I say, I am a
Cin. Directly, I am going to Cæsar's funeral.