Графични страници
PDF файл

27.] The prosody of the line is the same that has been noted in 425, 435, and 536.

614. I have as much of this in art as you, etc. In art Malone interprets to mean "in theory." It rather signifies by acquired knowledge, or learning, as distinguished from natural disposition. The passage is one of the many in our old poets, more especially Shakespeare and Spenser, running upon the relation between nature and art.

615. Well, to our work alive. -This must mean, apparently, let us proceed to our living business, to that which concerns the living, not the dead. The commentators say nothing, though the expression is certainly one that needs explanation.

618. This it is. "The overflow of the metre,” Steevens observes, "and the disagreeable clash of it is with 'Tis at the beginning of the next line, are almost proofs that our author only wrote, with a common ellipsis, This." He may be right. The expression "This it is" sounds awkward otherwise, as well as prosodically; and the superfluous, or rather encumbering it is would be accounted for by supposing the commencement of the following line to have been first so written and then altered to 'Tis.

[ocr errors]

619. Good reasons must, of force. - We scarcely now say of force (for of necessity, or necessarily); although perforce continues to be sometimes still employed in poetry. It may even be doubted if this be Milton's meaning in

our conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less

Than such could have o'erpowered such force as ours).
P. L. i. 145.

619. The enemy, marching along by them.This line, with the two weak syllables in the last

[ocr errors]

places of two successive feet (the second and third) might seem at first to be of the same kind with the one noted in 600. But the important distinction is, that the first of the two weak syllables here, the -y of nemy, would in any circumstances be entitled to occupy the place it does in our heroic verse, in virtue of the principle that in English prosody every syllable of a polysyllabic word acquires the privilege or character of a strong syllable when it is as far removed from the accented syllable of the word as the nature of the verse requires. See Prolegomena, Sect. vi. The dissonance here, accordingly, is very slight in comparison with what we have in 600.-For "Along by them" see 200.

619. By them shall make a fuller number up.For this use of shall see the note on Cæsar should be a beast in 238. The "along by them" followed by the "by them" is an artifice of expression, which may be compared with the "by Cæsar and by you” of 344.

619. Come on refreshed, new-hearted, and encouraged. "New-hearted" is the correction of Mr. Collier's MS. annotator; the old reading is newadded, which is not English or sense, and the only meaning that can be forced out of which, besides, gives us merely a repetition of what has been already said in the preceding line, a repetition which is not only unnecessary, but would be introduced in the most unnatural way and place possible; whereas new-hearted is the very sort of word that one would expect to find where it stands, in association with refreshed and encouraged. [Staunton and White have "new-added;" Hudson, "new-aided," which was independently suggested by Dyce and Singer,

[ocr errors]

and which, if any change is made, seems the most plausible one.]

619. From which advantage shall we cut him off. - Shakespeare perhaps wrote we shall.

621. Under your pardon. - See 357.

621. We, at the height, etc.-Being at the height, are in consequence ready to decline as the tide begins to recede as soon as it has attained the point of full flood.

621. Omitted. The full resolution will be which tide being omitted to be taken at the flood. 622. Then, with your will, etc. In the original edition "We'll along" is made part of the first line. Mr. Collier prints, it does not appear on what, or whether on any, authority, "We will along," as had been done on conjecture by Rowe, Pope, and others. [So Hudson and White. Dyce has "We'll."] The "We'll along" gives us merely the very common slight irregularity of a single superabundant syllable."With your will" is equivalent to With your consent; "We'll along" to We will onward. But the passage is probably corrupt.

623. The deep of night is crept.- See 373. 623. Which we will niggard.-Niggard is common both as a substantive and as an adjective; but this is probably the only passage in the language in which it is employed as a verb. Its obvious meaning is, as Johnson gives it in his Dictionary, "to stint, to supply sparingly." [See on fathered, 213.]

623. There is no more to say. — There is no more for us to say. So, "I have work to do," " He has a house to let," etc. In Ireland it is thought more correct to announce a house as to be let; but that would rather mean that it is going to be let. [Compare Marsh, Lectures, First Series, p. 652.]

[ocr errors]

624. Early to-morrow will we rise, and hence.— It might almost be said that the adverb hence is here turned into a verb; it is construed exactly as rise is: "Will we rise," "will we hence." So, both with hence and home, in the opening line of the Play :



Hence! home, you idle creatures.

625. Lucius, my gown, etc. The best way of treating the commencement of this speech of Brutus is to regard the words addressed to Lucius as one hemistich and "Farewell, good Messala" as another. There are, in fact, two speeches. It is the same case that we have in 505. — In the old editions the stage directions are, after 624, “Enter Lucius," and then, agai after 626, "Enter Lucius with the gown." After 631 there is merely "Exeunt."

633. Poor knave, I blame thee not; thou art o'erwatched. For knave see 646.- O'erwatched, or overwatched, is used in this sense, of worn out with watching, by other old writers as well as by Shakespeare, however irreconcilable such an application of it may be with the meaning of the verb to watch. We have it again in Lear, ii. 2:

[ocr errors]

All weary and o'erwatched,

Take vantage, heavy eyes, not to behold
This shameful lodging.

633. Some other of my men. -By some other

we should now mean some of a different sort. For some more we say some others. But, although other thus used as a substantive, with the plural of the ordinary form, is older than the time of Shakespeare, I do not recollect that he anywhere has others. Nor does it occur, I believe, even in Clarendon. On the other hand, it is frequent in Milton. [See 78.]

634. Varro and Claudius! In the old copies it

[ocr errors]

is "Varrus and Claudio," both in the speech and in the stage direction that follows.

636. I pray you, Sirs.- Common as the word Sir still is, we have nearly lost the form Sirs. It survives, however, in the Scottish dialect, with the pronunciation of Sirce, as the usual address to a number of persons, much as Masters was formerly in English [see 401, 407], only that it is applied to women as well as to men. [Compare Acts vii. 26, xiv. 15, xvi. 30, etc. Mrs. Clarke does not give Sirs, but it occurs in Titus Andronicus, iii. I.; I Henry IV., ii. 2 and 4, etc.]

638. Servants lie down. modern.

This stage direction is

640. Canst thou hold up, etc.— This and the next line are given in the Second Folio in the following blundering fashion, the result, no doubt, of an accidental displacement of the types:

Canst thou hold up thy instrument a straine or two.
And touch thy heavy eyes a-while.

The transposition is corrected by Mr. Collier's MS.


644. I know young bloods look. See 56. 646. It was well done. So in the old copies; but the Variorum edition has "It is," in which it has been followed by other modern editors, though not by either Mr. Knight or Mr. Collier. [Dyce and White have "was;" Hudson has "is."]

Compare Spenser,

646. [Thy leaden mace.

F. 2. i. 4. 44:

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But whenas Morpheus had with leaden mace
Arrested all that courtly company, —]

646. Gentle knave, good night. - Knave, from the Saxon cnafa, or cnapa, having meant originally only a boy, and meaning now only a rogue, was in

« ПредишнаНапред »