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ACT III.....SCENE I.
Before Prospero's Cell.
Enter FERDINAND, bearing a log.
7 There be some sports are painful; but their labour
Hor. sat. 2. lib. ü.
“ The labour we delight in physicks pain.” After “ and,” at the same time must be understood. Mr. Pope, unnecessarily reads-“ But their labour," which has been followed by the subsequent editors.
In like manner in Coriolanus, Act IV. the same change was made by him. “ I am a Roman, and (i. e. and yet) my services are, as you are, against them.” Mr. Pope reads—“I am a Roman, but my services,” &c. Malone.
I prefer Mr. Pope's emendation, which is justified, by the fol. lowing passage in the same speech:
This my mean task would be “ As heavy to me as 'tis odious; but
" The mistress that I serve," &c. It is surely better to change a single word, than to countenance one corruption by another, or suppose that four words, necessary to produce sense, were left to be understood. Steevens.
8 This my mean task would be - ] The metre of this line is defective in the old copy, by the words would be being transferred to the next line. Our author, and his contemporaries, generally use odious, as a trisyllable. Malone. Mr. Malone prints the passage as follows:
This my mean task would be “ As heavy to me, as odious; but " The word odious, as he observes, is sometimes used as a tri. syllable.-Granted; but then it is always with the penult, short, The metre, therefore, as regulated by him, would still be defective.
By the advice of Dr. Farmer, I have supplied the necessary monosyllable'tis; which completes the measure, without the slightest change of sense. Steevens.
As heavy to me, as 'tis odious; but
Enter MIRANDA ; and PROSPERO, at a distance.
Alas, now! pray you, Work not so hard : I would the lightning had Burnt up those logs, that you are enjoin'd to pile ! Pray, set it down, and rest you: when this burns, "Twill weep for having wearied you: My father Is hard at study; pray now, rest yourself; He's safe for these three hours. Fer.
O most dear mistress,
If you'll sit down,
No, precious creature:
should such dishonour undergo, While I sit lazy by.
-I forget :) Perhaps Ferdinand means to say-I forget my task; but that is not surprising, for I am thinking on Miranda, and these sweet thoughts, &c. He may, however mean, that he forgets, or thinks little of the baseness of his employment. Whichsoever be the sense, And, or For, should seem more proper, in the next line, than But. Malone. 1 Most busy-less, when I do it.] The two first folios read:
“ Most busy lest, when I do it." 'Tis true this reading is corrupt; but the corruption is so very little removed from the truth of the text, that I cannot afford to think well of my own sagacity for having discovered it.
It would become me
Poor worm! thou art infected;
You look wearily. Fer. No, noble mistress; 'tis fresh morning with me, When you are by at night.3 I do beseech you, (Chiefly, that I might set it in my prayers,) What is your name? Mira.
Miranda :- -O
father, I have broke your hest* to say so! Fer.
Admir'd Miranda, Indeed, the top of admiration ; worth What's dearest to the world! Full many a lady I have ey'd with best regard; and many a time, The harmony of their tongues hath into bondage Brought my too diligent ear: for several virtues Have I lik'd several women; never any, With so full soul, but some defect in her Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow'd, And put it to the foil: But you, O you, So perfect, and so peerless, are created Of every creature's best.5
2 And yours against.] The old copy reads:
« And yours it is against.” By the advice of Dr. Farmer, I have omitted the words, in Italicks, as they are needless to the sense of the passage, and would have rendered the hemistich too long to join with its successor, in making a regular verse. Steevens.
e'tis fresh morning with me,
“ Tu mihi curarum requies, tu nocte vel atrâ
Tibul. Lib. iv. El. xiii. Malone. hest —] For behest ; i. e. command. So before, Act I. sc. ï:
“ Refusing her grand hests Steevens. of every creature's best.] Alluding to the picture of Venus by Apelles. Johnson.
Had Shakspeare availed himself of this elegant circumstance, he would scarcely have said, “ of every creature's best,” because such a phrase includes the component parts of the brute creation.
I do not know
I am, in
my condition, A prince, Miranda: I do think, a king; (I would, not so!) and would no more endure This wooden slavery, than I would suffer? The flesh-fly blow my mouth. 8—Hear my soul speak;
Had he been thinking on the judicious selection, made by the Grecian Artist, he would rather have expressed his meaning by “every woman's,” or “every beauty's best.” Perhaps, he had only in his thoughts, a fable, related by Sir Philip Sidney, in the third book of his Arcadia. The beasts obtained permission from Jupiter to make themselves a King; and accordingly created one of every creature's best :
“ Full glad they were, and tooke the naked sprite,
“ Which straight the earth yclothed in his clay:
Nightingale voice, entising songs to say, &c. &c. “ Thus man was made; thus man their lord became." In the 1st book of the Arcadia, a similar praise is also bestowed, by a lover on his mistress:
“ She is her selfe of best things the collection.” Steevens. 6 Therein forget.] The old copy, in contempt of metre, reads _" I therein do forget.” Steevens.
than I would suffer, &c.] The old copy reads—Than to suffer. The emendation is Mr. Pope's. Steevens.
The reading of the old copy is right, however ungrammatical. So, in All’s well that ends well: “ No more of this, Helena, go to, no more; lest it be rather thought you affect a sorrow, than to have." Malone.
The defective metre shows that some corruption had happened in the present instance. I receive no deviations from established grammar, on the single authority of the folio. Steevens.
8 The flesh-fly blow my mouth.] Mr. Malone observes, that to blow, in this instance, signifies to “swell and inflame.” But I
The very instant that I saw you, did
I am a fool,
Wherefore weep you?
believe he is mistaken. To blow, as it stands in the text, means the act of a fly, by which she lodges eggs in flesh. So, in Chapman's version of the Iliad:
I much fear, lest with the blows of flies
of what else i' the world,] i. e. of aught else; of whatsoever else there is in the world. I once thought we should read -aught else. But the old copy is right. So, in King Henry VI. P. III:
“ With promise of his sister, and what else,
“To strengthen and support king Edward's place.” Malone. 1 I am a fool,
To weep at what I am glad of.] This is one of those touches of nature, that distinguish Shakspeare from all other writers. It was necessary, in support of the character of Miranda, to make her appear unconscious that excess of sorrow and excess of joy find alike their relief from tears; and, as this is the first time, that consummate pleasure had made any near approaches to her heart, she calls such a seeming contradictory expression of it, folly. The same thought occurs in Romeo and Juliet :
“ Back, foolish tears, back, to your native spring!
it seeks - ] i. e. my affection seeks. Malone.