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fude, which is injudiciously introduced by the author, and should always be omitted on the stage ; as we cannot well conceive why the mute representation of his crime should not affect as much the conscience of the King, as the scene that follows it.

M. MASON. P. 85. ------the owl was a baker's daughter.] This is a common story amongst the vulgar in Gloucestershire, and is thus related : “ Our Saviour went into a baker's shop where they were baking, and asked for some bread to eat. The mistress of the shop immediately put a piece of dough into the oven to bake for him ; but was reprimanded by her daughter, who insisting that the piece of dough was too large, reduced it to a very small size. The dough, however, immediately af erwards began to swell, and presently becaine of a most enormous size. Whereupon the baker's daughter cried out, Heugh, heugh, heugh, which owi-like noise probably induced our Saviour for her wickedness to transform her into that bird." This story is often related to children, in brder to deter them from such illiberal behaviour to poor people.

DOUCE. P. 86. Like to a murdering piece,] The small cannon, which are, or were used in the forecastle, half-deck, or steerage of a ship of war, were within this century, called murdering-pieces.

MALONE. Perhaps what is now, from the manuer of it, called a suivel. It is mentioned in Sir T. Roes Voiage to the E. Indies, at the end of Della Valle's Travels, 1665. " ---the East India company had a very little pinnace---mann'd she was with ten men, and had only one small murrering-piece within bër.” Probably, it was never charged with a single ball, but always with shot, pieces of old irou, &c. RITSON.

P. 88. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance ;---and there' is prensies, that's for thoughts.] Pansies is for thoughts; because of its name; Pensees; but why ost mary indicates remembrance, except that it is an ever-green, and carried at funerals, I have not discovered.

JOHNSON Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and was not only carried at funerals, but worn at weddings.

STEEVENS. P. 89. There's fennel for you, and columbines :) Greene, in his Quip for an Up start Courtier, 1620, calls fenn.l, women's weeds :' “ fit generally for ihat sex, sith while they are maidens, they wish wa nitonly."

STEEVENS. Columbine was an emblem of cuckoldom on account of the horns of its neciaria, which are remarkable in this plant. It was also eniblematical of forsaken lovers.

WHITE. Ophelia gives her fennel and columbines to the king.

MALONE. P. 89. ------there's rue for you ;] Ophelia means, I think, that the Queen may with peculiar propriety on Sundays, when she solicits pardon for that crime which she has so unuch occasion to rue and repent of, call her rue, herb of grace.

Ophelia, after having given the Queen rue to remind her of the sorrow and contrition she ought to feel for her incestuous marriage, tells her, she may wear it with a difference, to distinguish it from that worn by Ophelia herself ; because her tears fowed from the loss of a father, those of the Queen ought to flow for her guilt.


P. 89. There's a daisy :1 Greene, in his Quip for an Upstart Courtier, has explained the significance of this flower: “---Next them grew the dissembling daisie, to warne such light-of-love wenches not to trust every faire promise that such amorous bachelors make them."

HENLEY. The violet is thus characterized in an old collection of Sonnets:

Violet is for fuithfulnesse,

“ Which in me shall abide;
“ Hoping likewise that from your heart
" You will not let it slide."


P. 98. ----to play at loggats with them?] This is a game played in several parts of England even at this time. A stake is fixed into the ground; those who play, throw loggats at it, and he that is nearest the stake, wins: I have seen it played in different counties at their sheep-shearing feasts, wbere the winner was entitled to a black fleece, which he afterwards presented to the farmer's maid to spin for the purpose of making a petticoat, and on condition that she knelt down on the fleece to be kissed by all the rusticks present.

STEEVENS. A loggat ground, like a skittle ground, is strewed with ashes, but is more extensive. A bowl much larger than the jack of the game of bowls is thrown first. The pins, which I believe are called loggats, are much thinner, and lighter at one extremity than the other. The bowl being first thrown, the players take the pins up by the thinner and lighter end, and fling them towards the bowly 21 VOL. X

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and in such a manner that the pins may once turn rouna in the air, and slide with the thinner extremity foremost towards the bowl. The pins are about one or two and twenty inches long.

BLOUNT. P. 99.

the age is grown so picked) So smart, so sharp, says Sir T. Hanmer, very properly ; but there was, I think, about that time, a picked shoe, that is, a shoe with a long pointed toe, in fashion, to which the allusion seems likewise to be made. Every man now is smart ; and every man now is a man of fashion.

JOHNSON. This fashion of wearing shoes with long pointed toes was carried to such excess in England, that it was restrained at last by proclamation so long ago as the fifth year of Edward IV. when it was ordered that the beaks or pykes of shoes and boots should not pass iwo inches, upon pain of cursing by the clergy, and forfeiting twenty shillings, to be paid, one noble to the king, another to the cordwainers of London, and the third to the chamber of London :---and for other countries and tuwnes the like order was taken. --Before this time, and since the year 1482, the Pyhes of shoes and boots were of such length, that they were fain to be tied up to Lue huee with chains of silver, and gilt, or at least silken laces." STEEVENS.

P. 104. ------mutines in the bilbocs.] The bilbocs is a bar of iron with fetters annex eu to it, by which mutinoss or disorderly sailors were anciently linked together. The word is derived from Bilboa, a place in Spain where instruments of steel were fabricated in the utmost perfection. To understand Shakespeare's allusion completela it should be known, that as these fetters connect the legs of the offenders very close together, their attenipts to rest must be as fruitless as those of Hamlet, in whose mind there was a kind of fighting that would not let him sleep. Every motion of one must disturb his partner in confinement. The bilbocs are still shown in the Tower of London, among the other spoils of the Spanish Armada. STEEVENS.

P. 111. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.] Let us review for a moment the behaviour of Hamlet, on the strength of which Horatio founds this eulogy, and recommends him to the patronage of angels.

Hamlet, at the command of his father's ghost, undertakes with seeming alacrity to revenge the murder; and declares he will banish all other thoughts from his mind. He makes, however, but one effort to keep his word, and that is, when be mistakes Polonius for the king. On another occasion, be defers his purpose till he can find an opportunity of taking his uncle when he is least prepared for death, chat he may insure dainnation to his soul. Though he assassinated Polonius by accident, yet he deliberately procures the execution of his school-fellows, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who appear not, from any circumstances in this play, to have been acquainted with the treacherous purposes of the mandate they were employed to carry. To enibitter their fate, and hazard their punishment beyond the grave, he denies them even the few moments necessary for a brief confession of their sins. Their end (as he declares in a subsequent conversation with Horatio) gives him no concern, for they obtruded themselves into the service, and he thought he had a right to destroy them. From bis brutal conduct toward Ophelia, he is not less accountable for her distraction and death. He interrupts the funeral designed in honour of this lady, at which both the King and Queen were present; and, by such an outrage to decency, renders it still more necessary for the usurper to lay a second stratagem for his life, though the first had proved abortive. He insults the brother of the dead, and boasts of an affection for his sister, which, before, he had denied to her face; and yet at this very time must be considered as desirous of supporting the character of a madman, so that the openness of bis confession is not to be in. puted to bim as a virtue. He apologizes to Horatio afterwards for the absurdity of ibis behaviour, to which, he says, be was provoked by that nobleness of fraternal grief, which, indeed, he oughi rather to have applauded than condemned. Dr. Johnson has observed, that to bring about a reconciliai ion with Laertes, he has availed himself of a dishonest fallacy; and to conclude, it is obvious to the most careless spectator or reader, that he kills the King at last to revenge himself, and not his father.

The late Dr. Akenside once observed to me, that the conduct of Ilamlet was every way unnatural and indefensible, unless be were to be regarded as a young man whose intellects were in some degree impaired by his own misfortunes; by the death of his father, "the loss of expected sovereignty, and a sense of sltame resulting from the hasty and incestuous marriage of his mother.

STEEVENS. Some of the charges here brought against Hamlet, appear to me questionable at jeast, if not unfounded. In the novel on which this play is constructed, the miniswers who by the king's order accompanied the young prince to England, and car. ried with them a packet in which his death was concerted, were apprized of its covtents; and therefore we may presume that Shakespeare meant to describe their representatives, Rosencranız and Guildenstern, as equally criminal; as combining with the King to deprive Hamlet of his life. His procuring their execution there.

fore does not with certainty appear to have been unprovoked cruelty, and might have been considered by him as necessary to his future safety ; knowing, as he must have known, that they had devoted themselves to the service of the King in whatever he should command.

I do not perceive that he is accountable for the madness of Ophelia. He did not mean to kill her father, when concealed behind the arras, but the King; and still less did he intend to deprive ber of ber reason and her life: her subsequent distraction therefore can no otherwise be laid to his charge, than as an unforeseen consequence from his too ardently pursuing the object recommended to him by his father:

He appears to have been induced to leap into Ophelia's grave, not with a design to insult Laertes, but from his love to her, (which then he had no reason to conceal) and from the bravery of her brother's grief, which excited bim (not to condemn that bruther, as has beea stated, but) to vie with him in the expression of affection and sorrow.

When Hamlet says, “ the bravery of his grief did put me into a towering passion," I tbink, he means, into a lofty expression (not of resentment, but) of sorrow.

I may also add, that he neither assaulted nor insulted Laeries. till that nobleman had cursed him, and seized him by the throat.

MALONE. OTHELLO. P, 121. A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife] That Cassio was married is not sufficiently implied in these words, since they mean, according to lago's licentious manner of expressing himself, no more than a man " very near being married." This seems to have been the case in respect of Cassio. ---Act IV. sc. i, lago speaking to him of Bianca, says" Why, the cry goes, that you shall marry her.” Cassio acknowledges that such a report had been raised, and adds, " This is the monkey's own giving out: she is persuaded I will marry her, out of ber own love and selfdattery, not out of my promise.". lago then, having heard this report before, very naturally circulates it in bis present conversation with Roderigo. “Il Shakespeare, however, designed Bianca for a courtezan of Cyprus, (where Cassiq had not yet been, and had therefore never seen her,) lago cannot be supposed to allude to ihe report concerning his marriage with her, and consequently this part of niy argument must fall to the ground.

Had Shakespeare, consistently with lago's character, meant to make him say that Çassio was actually damn'd in being married to a handsome woman,” he would have made him say it outright, and not have interposed the palliative almost. Whereas what he says at present amounts to no more than that (however near his mar riage) he is not yet completely damned, because he is not absolutely marriea. The succeeding parts of lago's conversation sufficiently evince that the poet thought no mode of conception or expression too brutal for the character. STEEVENS.

P. 126. Aş double as the duke's] The double voice of Brabantio refers to the opinion, which (as being a magnifico, he was no less entitled to, than the duke hiinself,) either, of nullifying the marriage of his daughier, contracted without his consent ; or, of subjecting Othello to fine and imprisonment, for having seduced an heiress.

HENLEY. P. 153. Wherein of antręs vast, &c.] Whoever ridicules this account of the pro gress of love, shows his ignorance, not only of history, but of nature and manners it is no wonder that, in any age, or in any nation, a lady, recluse, timorous, and delicate, should desire to hear of events and scenes which she could never see, and should admire the man who had endured dangers, and performed actions, whicha, however great, were yet magnified by her timidity.

JOHNSON. P. 133. Of the cannibals that each other eat,] These lines have been considered by Pope, and others, as the interpolation of the players, or at least vulgar trash, which Shakespeare admitted merely to bumour the lower part of his audience. But the case was probably the very reverse, and the poet rather meant to recommend his play to the more curious and refined among his auditors, by alluding here to somie, of the most extraordinary passages in Sir Walter Raleigh's celebrated voyage to Guiana, performed in 1995: in which nothipg excited more universal attention, than the accounts which he brought from the new world of the cannibals, Amazons, and especially of the nation

-whose heads “ Do grow beneath their shoulders." Hear his own solemn relation: “ Next unto the Arvi" (a river, which he says falls into the Orenoque or Oronoko) “are two rivers, Atoica and Caora ; and on that branch, which is called Caora, are a nation of peuple, whose heads appear not above their shoulders; which though it may be thougbi a mere fable, yet for mine own part I am resolved it is true, because every childe in the province of Arromia and Canuri uffirme the same : they are called Ewaipanoma , they are reported to have their eyes in their shoulders, and their mouthes in the middle of their breasts, and that a long traine of hair growetb backward betweene their shoulders.” &c.

As fur the Anthropophagi, or cannibals " that each other eat,” the same celebraleet voyager tells us: " At one of the outlets of the Orenoque, we left on the right hand of us a nation of inhumaine canibals.” (p. 659.) And in the second voy. agr. to Guiana, in 159), published also by Sir Walter, one of the nations, called I paios, art thus described : “ They are but few, but very cruel to their enemies, for they bind, and eat them alive peecemeale. - These Indjaos, because they eaie thea, whom they kill, use no poyson."

P. P. 135. Tha the bruis'd heart wres pierrel through the car.] Shakespeare was continually chaying his first expression for another. tither stronger or more ancommon; so that very often the reader who has not the same continuity or succession of ideas. is at a loss for its meaning. Many of Shakes;eare's uncouth strained epithets inay le explained, by going back to the obvious and simple expression, which is boost likely to occur to the mind in that state. I can imagine the first mode of expression that ofcurred to the poet was this:

* The troubled beart was never cured by words." To give it poetical force be altered the phrase :

* The wounded heart was never reached through the ear." Wounded heart he changed to broken, and that to bruised, as a more common expression. Reached he altered to touched, and the transition is the easy to pierced. i. e. thoroughly touched.

Sir J. REYNOLDS. P. 159. A Florentine more kind and honest.] In consequence of this line, a doubt has been entertained concerning the country of Iago. Cassio was undoubtedly a Florentine, as appears by the first scene of the play, where he is expres-ly called one. Tbat lago was a Venetian, is proved by a speech in the third scene of Act III. and by what he says in Act V. after having stabbed Roderigo.

MALONE. P. 182. Have you scored me?] To score originally meant no more than to cut a notch upon a tally, or to mark out a form by indenting it on any substance. But it was soon figuratively used for setting a brand or mark of disgrace on any one.

* Let us score their backs," says Scarus, in Antony and Cleopatra ; and it is employed in the saine sense on the present occasion.

STEÉVENS. P. 200. It is the cause, it is the cause, my soul,-) The abruptness of this soliloquy makes it obscure. The meaning, I think, is this:--I am here (says Othello in his mind) overwhelmed with horror. What is the reason of this perturbation ? Is it want of resolution to do justice? Is it the dread of shedding blood? No; it is not the action that shocks me, but “ it is the cause, it is the cause, my soul; let me not pame it to you, ye chaste stars! it is the cause."

JOHNSON Ibid. This sorrow's heavenly) Perhaps the poet would not have retained both these images, bad he published the play himself, though in the hurry of composition he threw them both upon paper. The first seems adopted from the fabulous history of the crocodile, the second from a passage in the scripture.

STEEVENS. Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."

M. MASON. | P. 207. ---the ice-brook's temper] The particular name of the ice-brook may be determined by the following passage in Martial. It was undoubtedly the brook or rivulet called Salo (now Xalon,) near Bilbilis in Celtiberia. In this the Spaniards plun. ged all their swords and other weapons wbile hot from the forge; and to the icy quality of the waters, they were indebted for their stubborn temper:

Sævo Bilbilin optimam metallo
u Et fer Plateaın suo sonantem,
6 Quam puctu tenui sed inquieto
4 Armorum Salo temperator ambit."

P. 207. O ill-starr'd wench !] Wench originally signified only a young woman.
The word is used without any dishonourable meaning in the bible: “ Now Jonathan
and Ahimaaz stayed by Ep-rogel; (for they might not be seen to come into

the city :) and a wench went and told thein; and they went and told king David.” 2 Sam. xvii. 17.


P. 209. Like the base Julean.) I am satisfied that Shakespeare is here alluding to TIerod, who in a fit of blind jealousy threw away such a jewel of a wise as Mariamne.' The story was likewise very obvious, for, in the year 1613 the lady Elizabeth Carew published a tragedy called Klariam, the fair Queen of Jewry.

THEOBALD. By the Judean is meant Herod, whose usage to Mariamne is so apposite to the speaker's ease, that a more proper ipstance could not be thought of. The metapha.


rical term of a pearl for a fine woman, is so common as scarce to need examples.
In Troilus and Cressida, a lover says of his mistress---
hy, she's a pearl, whose price,” &c.

I cannot join with the learned critics in conceiving this passage to refer to the
well-known story of Herod and Mariamne. The poet might just as fairly be suppa-
sed to have alluded to that of Jephthah and his daughter. Othello, in detestation of
what he had done, seems to compare himself to another person who had thrown
away a thing of value, with some circumstances of the meanest villany, which the
epithet base seems to imply in its general sense, though it is sometimes used for low
or mean. The crime of Herod surely deserves a more aggravated distinction. For
though in every crinje, great as well as small, there is a degree of baseness, yet the
furiis agitatus amor, such as contributed to that of Herod, seems to ask a stronger
word to characterize it: as there was spirit at least in what he did, though the spi-
rit of a fiend, and the epithet base, would better suit with petty larceny iban royal
guilt. Besides, the simile appears to me too apposite almost to be used on the occa-
sion, and is little more than bringing the fact into comparison with itself. Each
through jealousy had destroyed an innocent wife, circumstances so parallel, as hard-
ly to admit of that variety, which we generally find in one allusion, which is meant
to illustrate another, and at the same time to appear as more than a superfluous or-
nament. I have read in some book, as ancient as the time of Shakespeare, the fol-
lowing tale; though, at present, I am unable either to recollect the title of the
piece, or the author's name:

A Jew, who had been prisoner for many years in distant parts, brought with him at his return to Venice a great number of pearls, which he offered on the change among the merchants, and, one alone excepted, disposed of them to his satisfaction. On this pearl, which was the largest ever shown at market, he had fixed an immoderate price, nor could be persuaded to make the least abatement. Many of the magnificoes, as well as traders, offered him considerable sums for it, but he was resolute in his first demand. At last, after repeated and unsuccessful applications to individuals, he assembled the merchants of the city, by proclamation, to meet him on the Rialto, where he once more exposed it to sale on the former terms, but to no purpose. After having expatiated, for the last time, on the singular beauty and value of it, he threw it suddenly into the sea before them all."

Though this anecdote may appear inconsistent with the avarice of a Jew, yet it sufficiently agrees with the spirit so remarkable at all times in the scattered remains of that vindiclive nation.

STEEVENS. Shakespeare seems to allude to Herod in the play of Mariamne :

“ I had but one inestimable jewel...

Yet I in suddajne choler cast it downe, u And dasht it all to pieces.”



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