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ing of this is rendered ambiguous, for want of a full stop after
swear then," as Caliban had just before proposed to swear himself a subject:-how thou escap'dst? should be read, how escap'dst thou? being addressed to Trinculo: to which he immediately replies, Swam ashore, &c.
Line 520. I afeard of him? a very weak monster, &c.] It is to be observed, that Trinculo the speaker is not charged with being afraid: but it was his consciousness that he was so that drew this brag from him. This is nature. WARBURTON.
Line 529. I'll kiss thy foot:for kissing the Pope's pantofle.
-] A sneer upon the papists GREY.
-sea-mells] i. e. Sea-gulls. Much criticism
has been displayed upon this expression: the context of the line, I think, sufficiently indicates the meaning to be a sea fowl.
Line 566. —Get a new man.] Caliban here addresses himself to his old master, Prospero.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 17. 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.
THEOBALD. Line 48. -hest-] For behest; i. e. command. STEEVENS. 60. Of every creature's best.] Alluding to the picture of JOHNSON.
Venus by Appelles.
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 ignorant, 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 an expression of it, folly. STEEVENS.
Line 111. -Here's my hand.] In many parts of the west of England, it is customary to join hands in sealing a bargain. So in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, "Here is my hand for my true "6 constancy." And also, in The Winter's Tale, "Ere I could make "thee open thy white hand, and clap thyself my love; then didst "thou utter, I am your's for ever.”
Line 115. A thousand! thousand!] It is impertinent to be for ever pointing out beauties, which the reader of taste will of course distinguish for himself; and yet I cannot quit this scene without observing, that it is superior in its kind to any of those that pass between Romeo and Juliet; and holds up the most captivating picture of juvenile affection that has been exhibited, even by Shakspeare himself. The prince behaves through the whole with a delicacy suitable to his birth and education; and his unexperienced mistress pours forth her soul without reserve, without descending from the soft elevation of maiden dignity, and apparently derives her confidence from the purity of her intentions. STEEVENS.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 133. I swam, &c.] This play was not published till 1623. Albumazar made its appearance in 1614, and has a passage relative to the escape of a sailor yet more incredible. Perhaps, in both instances, a sneer was meant at the Voyages of Ferdinando Mendez Pinto, or the exaggerated accounts of other lying travellers :
five days I was under water; and at length "Got up and spread myself upon a chest,
"Rowing with arms, and steering with my feet,
"And thus in five days more got land." Act. 3. Sc. 5.
Line 136. Your lieutenant, if you list; he's no standard.] Meaning he is so much intoxicated, as not to be able to stand, We call fruit-trees, that grow without support, standards. STEEVENS.
Line 147. —thou debosh'd fish thou,] I meet with this word, which I suppose to be the same as debauch'd, in Randolph's Jealous Lovers, 1634.
-See your house be stor❜d
"With the deboishest roarers in this city." STEEVENS.
First to possess his books, &c.] So in Milton's Masque:
I would rather have left this subject in the hands of Milton, than expatiated further on it. But if sorcery must be defined and commentated on, I refer our readers to that exquisite modern treat to the amateur of astrology, entitled, The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer, by J. Barrett, quarto, 1802.
-Will you troll the catch,] Ben Jonson uses the word in Every Man in his Humour:
"If he read this with patience, I'll troul ballads." So Milton:
"To dress, to troul the tongue," &c.
Line 258. This is the tune of our catch, play'd by the picture of nobody.] Probably an allusion to a ridiculous, though common sign, of nobody.
afeard?] i. e. Afraid, though this was formerly
used and understood as affrayed. Act 3. Sc. 3.
Line 287. By'r lakin,] i. e. The diminutive only of lady, i. e. ladykin.
Line 298. Our frustrate search- -] i. e. Frustrated.
314. A living drollery.] Shows, called drolleries, were in Shakspeare's time performed by puppets only. From these our modern drolls, exhibited at fairs, &c. took their name. STEEVENS.
Line 325. For, certes,] i. e. Certainly.
333. I cannot too much muse,] i. e. I cannot too much wonder at: thus in Macbeth, "do not muse at me, my most worthy friends."
Line 338. Praise in departing.] i. e. Do not praise your entertainment too soon, lest you should have reason to retract your commendation. It is a proverbial saying. ST EVENS.
-that there were mountaineers, &c.] Whoever has the curiosity to know the particulars relating to these moun
taineers, &c. may consult Maundeville's Travels, printed in 1503, by Wynken de Worde. STEEVENS.
Line 353. Each putter out, &c.] This passage, alluding to a forgotten custom, is very obscure: the putter out must be a traveller, else how could he give this account? the five for one is money to be received by him at his return. Mr. Theobald has well illustrated this passage by a quotation from Jonson. JOHNSON.
The ancient custom was this. In this age of travelling, it was customary for those who engaged in long expeditions to place out a sum of money on condition of receiving great interest for it at their return home. So Puntarvolo (it is Theobald's quotation) in Ben Jonson's Every Man out of his Humour: "I do intend, "this year of jubilee coming on, to travel; and (because I will not altogether go upon expence) I am determined to put forth some five thousand pound, to be paid me five for one, upon "the return of my wife, myself, and my dog, from the Turk's "court in Constantinople." STEEVENS.
Line 369. Enter Ariel like a harpy, &c.] Milton's Paradise Regained, Book 2.
"Both table and provisions vanish'd quite,
"With sound of harpies wings, and talons heard."
At subita horrifico lapsu de montibus adsunt
Harpyia, & magnis quatiunt clangoribus alas
Diripiuntque dapes. Virg. Æn. 3.
Line 372. One dowle that's in my plume:] i. e. Feather, or par
ticle of down.
Line 391. clear life-] Pure, blameless, innocent.
with good life,] This seems a corruption. I know not in what sense life can here be used, unless for alacrity, liveliness, vigour, and in this sense the expression is harsh. With good life may however mean, with exact presentation of their severul characters, with observation strange of their particular and distinct parts. So we say, he acted to the life.
Good life, however, is used by our author in various acceptations; thus, in Twelfth Night, it seems to be used for innocent jollity-a.meaning not here to be applied.
Line 398. Their several kinds have done ;
formed their various functions.
-] i. e. Have per
bass my trespass.] The deep pipe told it me in
a rough bass sound. Line 421. Like poison given, &c.] The natives of Africa have been supposed to be possessed of the secret how to temper poisons with such art as not to take effect till several years after they were administered, and were then as certain in their effect as they were subtle in their preparation. STEEVENS.
ecstacy] i. e. Want of reflection.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
a thread of mine own life,] In the old copy we read,
third, i. e. a part or fibre thereof.
strangely stood the test.] Strangely is used by way of
commendation, marveilleusement, to a wonder; the sense is the same
in the foregoing scene, with observation strange.
-bring a corollary,] That is, bring more than are sufficient, rather than fail for want of numbers. Corollary means
surplus. Line 67. No tongue ; -] Those who are present at incantations are obliged to be strictly silent, " else," as we are afterwards told, "the spell is marred."
Line 71. -thatch'd with stover,-] Stover is a law word, and signifies an allowance in food or other necessaries of life. It is here used for provision in general for animals. STEEVENS.
Line 72. Thy banks with peonied, and lilied brims.] The old edition reads pioned and twilled brims; which gave rise to Mr. Holt's conjecture, that the poet originally wrote,
with pioned and tilled brims..