Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

know, but to get by heart, that is, to acquire a knowledge of in the most complete manner possible. And to con hy rote is to commit to memory by an operation of mind similar to the turning of a wheel (rota), or by frequent repetition. Rote is the same word with routine.

It is more difficult to explain the expression to con thanks, which is of frequent occurrence in our old writers and is several times used by Shakespeare. Nares explains it as meaning to study expressions of gratitude. But it really seems, in most instances at least, to signify no more than to give or return thanks. See a note on Gammer Gurton's Needle in Collier's edition of Dodsley's Old Plays, II. 30. Con in the present passage may perhaps mean to utter or repeat; such a sense might come not unnaturally out of the common use of the word in the sense of to get by heart. The case would be somewhat like that of the two senses assigned to the same word in the expressions "to construct a sentence” and “to construe a sentence.” It is remarkable that in German also they say Dank wissen (literally to know thanks) for to give thanks.

Our common know is not from any of the Original English verbs above enumerated, but is the modernized form of cnawan, which may or may not be related to all or to some of them.

Corresponding to cennan and connan, it may finally be added, we have the modern German kennen, to know, and können, to be able or to know. But, whatever may be the case with the German König (a king), it is impossible to admit that our English king, the representative of the ancient cyng, cyncg, or cyning, can have anything to do with either cennan or connan. It is apparently of quite another family, that of which the head is cyn, nation, offspring, whence our present kin, and kindred, and kind (both the substantive and the adjective). 560. Dearer than Plutus' mine.

Dear must here be

understood, not in the derived sense of beloved, but in its literal sense of precious or of value. Vid. 349. It is Pluto's mine” in all the Folios, and also in Rowe; nor does it appear that the mistake is corrected by Mr Collier's M$. annotator, although it is, of course, in Mr Collier's regulated text.

560. If that thou beest a Roman.-Our modern substantive verb, as it is called, is made up of fragments of several verbs, of which, at the least, am, was, and be are distinguishable, even if we hold is, as well as are and art, to belong to the same root with am (upon this point see Latham's Eng. Lang. 3rd edit. 346). In the original form of the language we have com (sometimes am), waes (with waere and waeron, and wesan, and gewesen), beo (with bíst or býst, beódh, beón, etc.), eart (or eardh), is (or ys); and also , seo, sig, synd, and syndon (related to the Latin sum, sunt, sim, sis, etc.), of which forms there is no trace in our existing English. On the other hand, there is no representative in the written English of the times before the Conquest of our modern plural are. Beest, which we have here, is not to be confounded with the subjunctive be; it is bíst, býst, the 2nd pers. sing. pres. indic. of beón, to be. It is now obsolete, but is also used by Milton in a famous passage :

“ If thou beest he; but oh how fallen ! how changed," etc. P. L. 1. 84.

561. Dishonour shall be humour.Vid. 205.-Any indignity you offer shall be regarded as a mere caprice of the moment. Humour here probably means nearly the same thing as in Cassius's “ that rash humour which

my mother gave me” in 568. The word had scarcely acquired in Shakespeare's age the sense in which it is now commonly used as a name for a certain mental faculty or. quality ; though its companion wit had already, as we have seen, come to be so employed. Vid. 436. But what if the true reading should be " dishonour shall be honour?"

561. O Cassius, you are yoked with a lamb.-Pope prints,

on conjecture, “ with a man ;” and “a lamb," at any rate, can hardly be right.

562. Blood ill-tempered. We have now lost the power of characterizing the blood as ill-tempered (exceptin imitatation of the antique), although we might perhaps speak of it as ill-attempered. The epithet ill-tempered, now only applied to the sentient individual, and with reference rather to the actual habit of the mind or nature than to that of which it is supposed to be the result, was formerly employed, in accordance with its proper etymological import, to characterize anything the various component ingredients of which were not so mixed as duly to qualify each other.

568. Have not you love enough to bear with me ?—This is the reading of all the old copies, and is that adopted by Mr Knight. Both the Variorum text, which is generally followed, and also Mr Collier in his regulated text give Have you

not." 569. Yes, Cassius; and from henceforth.--All the irregularity that we have in this line is the slight and common one of a superfluous short syllable (the ius of Cassius). Steevens, in his dislike to even this much of freedom of versification, and his precise grammatical spirit, would strike out the from, as redundant in respect both of the sense and of the measure.

569. He'll think your mother chides.—To chide is from the ancient cid or cyd, signifying strife or contention. It is now scarcely in use except as an active verb with the sense of to reprove with sharpness; but it was formerly used also absolutely or intransitively, as here, for to employ chiding or angry expressions. Shakespeare has both to chide and to chide at.

Instead of the stage direction Noise within,the original edition has “ Enter a Poet.

570. Poet (within). - The within is inserted here and before the next two speeches by the modern editors.-

[ocr errors]

us

[ocr errors]

The present incident (as well as the hint of the preceding great scene) is taken from Plutarch’s life of Brutus. The intruder, however, is not a Poet in Plutarch, but one Marcus Favonius, who affected to be a follower of Cato, and to pass for a Cynic philosopher. And it will be observed that he is called a Cynic in the dialogue. There was probably no other authority than the Prompter's book for designating him a Poet.

571. Lucil. [within]. You shall not come to them.-In the Variorum and the other modern editions, although they commonly make no distinction between the abbreviation for Lucilius and that for Lucius, this speech must be understood to be assigned to Lucius, whose presence alone is noted by them in the heading of the scene.

But
in the old text the speaker is distinctly marked Lucil.
This is a conclusive confirmation, if any were wanting, of
the restoration in 521. How is it that the modern editors
have one and all of them omitted to acknowledge the uni-
versal deviation here from the authority which they all
profess to follow ? Not even Jennens notices it.
574. For I have seen more years,

I'm
'm

sure,
Plutarch makes Favonius exclaim, in the words of Nestor
in the First Book of the Iliad :-

'Αλλά πίθεσθ' άμφω δε νεωτέρω έστόν έμείοwhich North translates,

“My Lords, I pray you hearken both to me;

For I have seen more years than such ye three."
But this last line can hardly be correctly printed. --The
Poet's quotation, it may be noted, is almost a repetition
of what Antony has said to Octavius in 496.

575. Ha, ha; how vilely doth this Cynic rhyme !--The form of the word in all the Folios is vildely, or vildly; and that is the form which it generally, if not always, has in Shakespeare. The modern editors, however, have universally substituted the form now in use, as with then

than ye.

(for than), and (for an), and other words similarly circumstanced.

578. I'll know his humour when he knows his time. In this line we have what the rule as commonly laid down would make to be necessarily a short or unaccented syllable carrying a strong emphasis no fewer than four times: -I'll-his-he-his.

578. With these jigging fools.—“ That is," Malone notes," with these silly poets. A jig signified, in our author's time, a metrical composition, as well as a dance." Capell had proposed jingling.

578. Companion, hence !-- The term companion was formerly used contemptuously, in the same way in which we still use its synonyme fellow. The notion originally involved in companionship, or accompaniment, would appear to have been rather that of inferiority than of equality. A companion (or comes) was an attendant. The Comites of the imperial court, whence our modern Counts or Earls, and other nobility, were certainly not regarded as being the equals of the Emperor, any more than a Companion to a lady is now looked upon as the equal of her mistress. We have our modern fellow from the ancient native felaw; companion (with company) immediately from the French compagnon and the Italian compagno, which have been variously deduced from com-panis, com-paganus, combino (Low Latin, from binus), com-benno (one of two or more riders in the same benna, or cart), etc. See Menage, Dic. Etym. de la Langue Franç. But, after all, Dr Webster may be right in what he says under the word Company :-“From cum and pannus, cloth, Teutonic fahne, or vaan, a flag. The word denotes a band or number of men under one flag or standard. What decides this question is, the Spanish mode of writing the word with n tilde, titled n, compañia, for this is the manner of writing paño, cloth ; whereas panis, bread, is written pan. The orthography of the word in the other

« ПредишнаНапред »