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teract; to play stratagem against stratagem.—The parson knows the temper of every one in his house, and accordingly either meets with their vices, or advances their virtues.
HERBERT's Country Parson.
pricking goss,-] I know not how Shakspeare distinguished goss from furze; for what he calls furze is called goss or gorse in the midland counties. STEEVENS.
Line 216. For stale to catch these thieves.] Stale is a word in fowling, and is used to mean a bait or decoy to catch birds.
-the blind mole may not
Hear a foot fall:] It is supposed that this animal possesses the quality of hearing in a particular degree. Line 228. -he has done little better than play'd the Jack with us.] Has led us about like an ignus fatuus, by which travellers are decoyed into the mire. JOHNSON. Line 254. Trin. O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! Look, what a wardrobe here is for thee!] The humour of these lines consists in their being an allusion to an old celebrated ballad, which begins thus: King Stephen was a worthy peer and celebrates that king's parsimony with regard to his wardrobe, -There are two stanzas of this ballad in Othello. WARBURTON.
The old ballad is printed at large in The Reliques of Ancient Poetry, Vol. 1. PERCY. we know what belongs to a frippery :-] A frippery was a shop where old clothes were sold. STEEVENS. Line 264. Let's along,] First edit. Let's alone. JOHNSON. 269. -under the line;] An allusion to what often happens to people who pass the line. The violent fevers, which they contract in that hot climate, make them lose their hair.
I cannot think that this has any indelicate allusion, as Mr. Steevens supposes.
-put some lime, &c.] i. e. Birdlime.
-to barnacles, or to apes] Skinner says barnacle is Anser Scoticus. The barnacle is a kind of shell-fish growing
on the bottoms of ships, and which was anciently supposed, when broken off, to become one of these geese,
"There are" (says Gerard, in his Herbal, edit. 1597, page 1291) "in the north parts of Scotland certaine trees, whereon "do growe shell-fishes, &c. &c. which, falling into the water, "do become fowls, whom we call barnakles, in the north of England brant geese, and in Lancashire tree geese," &c. For this extract from Gerard, I am indebted to Mr. Collins of Hampstead. STEEVENS.
Line 287. A noise of hunters heard.] Shakspeare might have had in view "Arthur's Chase, which many believe to be in "France, and think that it is a kennel of black dogs followed by "unknown huntsmen with an exceeding great sound of horns, "as if it was a very hunting of some wild beast." See A Treatise of Spectres, translated from the French of Peter de Loier, and published in quarto, 1605. Dr. GREY,
Goes upright with his carriage.-] Alluding to one carrying a burthen. This critical period of my life proceeds as I could wish. Time brings forward all the expected events, without faultering under his burthen. STEEVENS,
Line 8. -the king and his ?—] i. e. And his followers. till your release.—] i. e. Till your release of
ACT V, SCENE I.
-that relish all as sharply,
Passion as they,] I feel every thing with the same quick sensibility, and am moved by the same passions as they are. STEEVENS.
Line 40. Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes, and groves,] This speech Dr. Warburton rightly observes to be borrowed from Medea's in Ovid: and it proves, says Mr. Holt, beyond contradiction, that Shakspeare was perfectly acquainted with the sentiments of the ancients on the subject of enchantments. FARMER. Line 43.with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune,-] So Milton, in his
"Whilst from off the waters fleet,
"Thus I set my printless feet."
-Line 49. (Weak masters though ye be)-] The meaning of this passage may be; Though ye are but inferior masters of these supernatural powers,—though you possess them but in a low degree.
STEEVENS. -that entertain'd ambition,] In the old copy we
Line 84. read entertain.
Line 99. There I couch when owls do cry.] Mr. Malone thinks the punctuation of this line incorrect: a full stop should be put after the word couch, which will render the succeeding line in the text free from confusion.
Line 101. After summer, merrily:] This is the reading of all the editions. Yet Mr. Theobald has substituted sun-set, because Ariel talks of riding on the bat in this expedition. An idle fancy. That circumstance is given only to design the time of night in which fairies travel. One would think the consideration of the circumstances should have set him right. Ariel was a spirit of great delicacy, bound by the charms Prospero to a constant attendance on his occasions. So that he was confined to the island winter and summer. But the roughness of winter is represented by Shakspeare as disagreeable to fairies, and such like delicate spirits, who, on this account, constantly follow summer. Was not this then the most agreeable circumstance of Ariel's new recovered liberty, that he could now avoid winter, and follow summer quite round the globe?
The consequence is, that Ariel flies after summer. Yet the Oxford Editor has adopted this judicious emendation of Mr. Theobald. WARBURTON.
Line 103. Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.] Mr. Steevens annexes more importance to this phrase than it deserves; it must be felt and admitted by all readers of poetry, that “fairies" haunt the groves.
Line 112. I drink the air- -] Is an expression of swiftness, of the same kind as to devour the way in Henry IV. JOHNSON. Line 124. -whe'r- -] An abbreviation of whether.
131. Thy dukedom I resign,—] The dutchy of Milan being through the treachery of Anthonio made feudatory to the
crown of Naples, Alonzo promises to resign his claim of sovereignty for the future. STEEVENS. Line 156. who three hours since-] It may be here remarked, that in this play our author has throughout rigidly attended to the unity of time.
Line 160. I am woe for't, Sir.] i. e. I am sorry for it. To woe, is often used by old writers to signify to be sorry. STEEVENS. Line 168. As great to me, as late;· -] My loss is as great as yours, and has as lately happened to me. JOHNSON.
Are natural breath: -] Mr. Malone with great propriety conceives, that these words would improve the meaning of the passage. Line 196. playing at chess.] This game was well known before our author's time.
Line 200. Yes, for a score of kingdoms,-] I take the sense to be only this: Ferdinand would not, he says, play her false for the world; ; yes, answers she, I would allow you to do it for something less than the world, for twenty kingdoms, and I wish you well enough to allow you, after a little wrangle, that your play was fair. So likewise Dr. Grey. JOHNSON.
I would recommend another punctuation, and then the sense would be as follows:
Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle,
Line 253. When no man was his own.] For when perhaps JOHNSON.
should be read where,
Line 270. My tricksy spirit!] i. e. Clever. 292. Was ever conduct of ;
--- -] i. e. Had the conduct+
-with beating on
The strangeness, &c.] A similar expression occurs in one of the parts of Henry VI.
"Beat on a crown."
Line 298. (Which to you shall seem probable)—] Prospero's meaning is: "I will relate to you the means by which I have been "enabled to accomplish these ends; which means, though they
"now appear strange and improbable, will then appear otherANONYMOUS.
Line 308. Coragio,] i. e. Take courage.
$20.-true :- -] That is, honest. A true man is, in the language of that time, opposed to a thief. The sense is, Mark what these men wear, and say if they are honest. JOHNSON.
Line 321. His mother was a witch; and one so strong
That could control the moon, &c.] In the time of our author certain statutes were in force against witchcraft, and it was probable, that this expression might arise out of so weak and wicked a belief. To the disgrace of this country, having then so far approached towards civilization, prosecutions were carried on, and many innocent old women were condemned in various ways, for their supernatural agencies, vide Law Reports. The charge of witchcraft, with much greater propriety, might (I should think, in all ages) be applied to young ladies than to old hags.
Line 332. And Trinculo is reeling ripe; where should they Find this grand LIQUOR that hath gilded them?] Shakspeare, to be sure, wrote-grand 'LIXIR, alluding to the grand Elixir of the alchymists, which they pretend would restore youth and confer immortality. This, as they said, being a preparation of gold they called Aurum potabile; which Shakspeare alluded to in the word gilded. But the joke here is to insinuate that, not withstanding all the boasts of the chymists, sack was the only restorer of youth, and bestower of immortality. WARBURTON.
As the Elixir was a liquor, the old reading may stand, and the allusion holds good without any alteration.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON THE TEMPEST.