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To cluftring filberds, and sometimes I'll get thee
ACT III. SCENE I.
There perhaps cannot be conceived any thing more beautiful
and natural than the following Scene : I almost think it an Injustice to S. to take down any particular part : yet the subjequent lines are so expressive of true and unbiassed affection, I cannot omit them.
Ferdinand, bearing a Log. There (25) be fome sports are painful; and their
labour Delight in them fets off: some kinds of baseness Are nobly undergone: and most poor matters Point to rich ends. This my mean task would be. As heavy to me, as ’tis odious; but The mistress whom I serve, quickens what's dead, And makes my labours pleasures: O, she is Ten times more gentle than her father's crabbed; And he's composed of harshness. I muit remove
(24) Seamels.] This is the reading of the old editions, but the word is no where else to be met with. Sea-mells, which J. would propose, comes very near the traces of the letters: they are birds that haunt the rocks about the sea-fore, and are the same with the sea-mews. Other editors read differently; Theobald and Warburton, Shamois, i. e. young kids: the reading in the text seems lefs uncouth; but it matters little (as has been observed) so long as we take a word fignifying the name of something in nature, which we use. Holt lays, that in some places, lime pets are called scams.
(25) There, &c.] In Paradise Loft, B. 4. V. 437. Adam says to Eve,
But let us ever praise him and extol
His bounty, following our delightful task
Which were it toilfome, yet with thee were sweet,
Some thousands of these logs, and pile 'em up
you, So perfect, and so peerless, are created Of every creature's best(27).
Miranda's offering to carry the Logs for him is pecu
If you'll sit down,
(26) Most busie-less.] i. e. “ Amidst all these labours, the thoughts of her drive away all appearance of labour, and make me seem to myself most busy-less, or least em, ployed, when I am most lo!” soinething after the manner of the old famous nunquam minus otiofus, quam cum otiosus.
(27) Of every creature's beft.) Alluding to the picture of Venus by Apelles. .
And afterwards, how innocent
I am a fool (28) To weep a: what I am glad of! (29) I am your wife, if you will marry me: If not, I'll die your maid: to be your fellow You may deny me: but I'll be your servant, Whether you will or no. SCENE III. Punishment of Crimes delayed not
For which foul deed
Incens'd (28) I am a fool, &c.] This is one of those touches of nature that distinguih S. 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 consumate pleasure had made any near approaches to her heart, she calls such an expression of it, folly.
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 S. 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 pu. rity of her intentions. St,
(29) Mr. Prior has a thought to this effect, in his charming poem of Henry and Emma.
This potent beauty, this triumphant fair,
Incens’d the seas and shores, yea, all the creatures, Against your peace.
Guilty Conscience. 0, (30) it is monstrous ! monstrous ! Methought the billows fpoke, and told me of it; The winds did fing it to me; and the thunder, That deep and dreadful organ-pipe, pronounc'd The name of Prosper. It did bass my trespass. (31) Gon. All three of them are desperate ; their great
guilt Like poison given to work a great time after, Now'gins to bite thy spirit.
(30) O, &c.] The horrors of a guilty mind are thus nobly described by Malinger.
Do, do, rage on; rend open, Æolus,
Unnatural Combat, Act 5. latter end. (31) Bass my trespass.) “ The deep pipe told it me in a rough bass found.
In the next line but one S. alludes to a custom of the natives of Africa, who 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. J. and St,
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Prospero's Boast of Miranda,
Continence before Marriage.
A Lover's Protestation.
As I hope
Paffion too ftrong for Vows.
(32) The strongest, &c.] So in Hamlet, Polonius says, VOL. II.