Графични страници
PDF файл

them.” Or, to go no farther, 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.”

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 Brutus saw him stab ” of 426. Vid. 537.

444. To every several man.-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 jointtenancy or in common. So in 449 we have “common pleasures.”

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.—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. 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.This conjectural emendation appears to be Capel's. In all the old copies it is “I heard him say;" which Jennens explains thus :Him 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.” Mr. Collier, however, prints them. It would be satisfactory to know if he has the authority of his 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 Anglo-Saxon gelice (in like manner), with a slight change of meaning. Vid. 390.

-"? Some notice of the people” is some notice respecting the people.

461. And things unlikely charge my fantasy.--Instead of unlikely the old text has unluckily. Unlikely, which appears for the first time in Mr. Collier's one volume edition, may be presumed to be the restoration of his MS. annotator. Here, then, is another of those remarkable corrections, which at once, and in the most satisfactory manner, turns nonsense into sense, and which yet in the Notes and Emendations is strangely passed over without a word of notice!

461. I have no will, etc.Very well illustrated by Steevens in a quotation from The Merchant of Venice, ii. 5, where Shylock says :

“I have no mind of feasting forth to night :

But I will go.” The only stage direction here in the original edition is before this speech :-“ Enter Cinna the Poet, and after him the Plebeians.

469. Ay, and truly, you were best. This is strictly equivalent to “You would be best,” and might perhaps be more easily resolved than the more common idiom, “ You had best.” But all languages have phraseologies coming under the same head with this, which are not to be explained upon strictly logical principles. Witness the various applications of the Greek čxel, the French il y a, etc.

470. Wisely, I say, I am a bachelor.Cinna's meaning evidently is, Wisely I am a bachelor. But that is not conveyed by the way in which the passage has hitherto been always pointed—“ Wisely I say."

471. You'll bear me a bang for that.—You'll get a bang for that (from some one). The me goes for nothing. Vid. 89 and 205.

483. Çin. I am not, etc.—This speech was carelessly

omitted in the generality of the modern texts, including that of the standard edition of Malone and Boswell, till restored by Mr. Knight. It is given, however, in Jennens's collation (1774), and he does not note its omission by any preceding editor.

484. Turn him going.Turn him off; let him go. So in Sir Thomas Urquhart's translation of Rabelais, B. i. ch. 35; “ Avoid hence, and get thee going.” This story of Cinna is told by Plutarch in his Life of Cæsar. He says, the people, falling upon him in their rage, slew him outright in the market-place.

The stage direction with which the Act terminates in the original edition is, Exeunt all the Plebeians.

g upon

in the stageht in the

ACT FOURTH. The Same. A Room in Antony's House. The original heading is only, Enter Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus.The Same, meaning at Rome, was supplied by Rowe. It is evident (especially from 492 and 493) that the scene is placed at Rome, although in point of fact the triumvirs held their meeting in a small island in the river Rhenus (now the Reno) near Bononia (Bologna), where, Plutarch says, they remained three days together.

486. These many.-An archaic form for so many, this number.

486. Their names are pricked.-Vid. 352.

490. Who is your sister's son, Mark Antony.This is a mistake. The person meant is Lucius Cæsar, who was Mark Antony's uncle, the brother of his mother.. 491. Look, with a spot I damn him.-Note him as condemned, by a mark or stigma (called pricking his name in 486, and pricking him down in 489, and pricking him in 495).

491. Fetch the will hither, and we shall determine. - This is the reading of all the old copies, and is properly retained by Mr. Knight. In the Variorum edition we have (and without warning) will substituted for shall; and this alteration Mr. Collier also adopts. Is it one of the corrections of his manuscript annotator?

494. This is a slight unmeritable man.—So after• wards in 535, “ Away, slight man!” said by Brutus, in momentary anger, to Cassius. Vid. 522.- Unmeritable should mean incapable of deserving.

494. Meet to be sent on èrrands.- Errand is an A. Saxon word, ærend (perhaps from ær, or ar, before, whence also ere and early). It has no connexion with errant, wandering (from the Latin erro, whence also err, and error, and erroneous).

496. To groan and sweat under the business.Business is commonly only a dissyllable with Shakespeare; and it may be no more here upon the principle explained in the note on “She dreamt to night she saw my statue” in 246.

496. Either led or driven, etc.—The three last Folios, and also Rowe, have“ print the way.” The we of this line, and the our and the we of the next, are all emphatic. There is the common irregularity of a single short superfluous syllable (the er of either).

496. And graze in commons. This is the reading of all the old copies. Mr. Collier prints on for in.

498. Store of provender.-Provender, which John

« ПредишнаНапред »