« السابقةمتابعة »
in the romances of the middle ages. This system seems to be founded on the opinion that the fallen spirits, having different degrees of guilt, had different habitations allotted them at their expulsion, some being confined in hell, some (as Hooker, who delivers the opinion of our poet's age, expresses it) dispersed in air, some on earth, some in water, others in caves, dens, or minerals under the earth. Of these, some were more malignant and mischievous than others. The earthy spirits seem to have been thought the most depraved, and the aerial the least vitiated. Thus Prospero observes of Ariel:
-Thou wast a spirit too delicate
To act her earthy and abhorr'd commands.
Over these spirits a power might be obtained by certain rites performed or charms learned. This power was called The Black Art, or Knowledge of Enchantment. The enchanter being (as king James observes in his Demonology) one who commands the devil, whereas the witch serves him. Those who thought best of this art, the existence of which was, I am afraid, believed very seriously, held, that certain sounds and characters had a physical power over spirits, and compelled their agency; others who condemned the practice, which in reality was surely never practised, were of opinion, with more reason, that the power of charms arose only from compact, and was no more than the spirits voluntary allowed them for the seduction of man. The art was held by all, though not equally criminal, yet unlawful; and therefore Causabon, speaking of one who had commerce with spirits, blames him, though he imagines him one of the best kind who dealt with them by way of command. Thus Prospero repents of his art in the last scene. The spirits were always considered as in some measure enslaved to the enchanter, at least for a time, and as serving with unwillingness, therefore Ariel so often begs for liberty; and Caliban observes, that the spirits serve Prospero with no good will, but hate him rootedly. JOHNSON.
in Argier.] i. e. Algiers.
452. The strangeness of your story, &c.-] Why should a wonderful story produce sleep? I believe experience will prove, that any violent agitation of the mind easily subsides in slumber,
especially when, as in Prospero's relation, the last images are JOHNSON.
Line 460. ―miss him:] i. e. Do without him.
Cal. As wicked dew, as e'er my mother brush'd
Drop on you both!] Shakespeare hath very ar
tificially given the air of the antique to the language of Caliban, in order to heighten the grotesque of his character. As here he uses wicked for unwholesome. WARBURTON.
Line 474. As wicked dew,-] Wicked; having baneful qualities. Thus Spenser says, wicked wced; so, in opposition, we say herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous Bezoar, and Dryden virtuous herbs. JOHNSON.
urchins-] i. e. Hedge-hogs.
481. ---for that cast of night that they may work,] The vast of night means the night which is naturally empty and deserted, without action. It has a meaning like that of nox vasta.
It should be remembered, that, in the pneumatology of former times, these particulars were settled with the most minute exactness, and the different kinds of visionary beings had different allotments of time suitable to the variety or consequence of their employments. During these spaces, they were at liberty to act, but were always obliged to leave off at a certain hour, that they might not interfere in that portion of night which belonged to others. Among these we may suppose urchins to have had a part subjected to their dominion. To this limitation of time Shakspeare alludes again in K. Lear. He begins at curfew, and walks till the second cock. STEEVENS.
Line 511. Abhorred slave;] This speech, which the old copy gives to Miranda, is very judiciously bestowed by Mr. Theobald on Prospero. JOHNSON.
The modern editions take this speech from Miranda, and give it to Prospero; though there is nothing in it but what she may speak with the greatest propriety; especially as it accounts for her being enough in the way and power of Caliban, to enable him to make the attempt complained of. The poet himself shews he intended Miranda should be his tutoress; when he makes Caliban say, "I've seen thee in her, my mistress shewed me, thee and
"thy dog, and thy bush;" to Stephano, who had just assured the monster he was the man in moon. HOLT.
-When thou didst not, savage,
Know thy own meaning,— -] By this expression, however defective, the poet seems to have meant-When thou didst utter sounds, to which thou hadst no determinate meaning.
-But thy vile race,] Race, in this place, seems
Line 527. the red plague-] The red plague was the ancient name of the disease called the Erysipelas, or St. Anthony's fire.
Line 539. It would controul my dam's god Setebos,] In Hackluyt's Voyages, we have mention of Setebos being accounted a great devil by the Patagons; from which Shakspeare doubtless formed this part of his Dramatis Persona.
Line 543. Court'sied when you have, and kiss'd,] As was anciently done at the beginning of some dances. STEEVENS:
Line 559. Weeping again] i. e. Against. 571. ding-dong, bell.] A common chorus to Shakspeare's songs. See Merchant of Venice.
Line 575. That the earth orces:- -] To owe, in this place, as well as in many others, signifies to own. So in Othello.
Line 576. The fringed curtains, &c.] See also Pericles Prince of Tyre.
Line 604. -certainly, a maid.] Ferdinand asks her not whether she was a created being, a question which, if he meant it, he has ill expressed, but whether she was unmarried; for after the dialogue which Prospero's interruption produces, he goes on pursuing his former question.
O, if a virgin,
I'll make you queen of Naples.
Line 618. And his brave son, being twain.] This is a slight forgetfulness. Nobody was left in the wreck, yet we find no such character as the son of the duke of Milan. THEOBALD.
-control thee.] Confute thee, unanswerably JOHNSON. Line 624. I fear, you have done yourself some wrong:-] Al
luding to his assertion of being king of Naples, which was false; and consequently dishonourable.
Line 658. He's gentle, and not fearful.] Fearful signifies both terrible and timorous. In this place it means timorous. She tells her father, that as he is gentle, rough usage is unnecessary, and as he is brave, it may be dangerous. STEEVENS. -come from thy ward;] Desist from any hope of awing me by that posture of defence. JOHNSON.
Line 681. Thy nerves are in their infancy again,] So Milton; in his Masque at Ludlow-Castle:
"Thy nerves are all bound up in alabaster." STEEVENS.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 3. our hint of woe] memory. The cause that fills our Dr. Warburton reads stint of woe. Line 6. -our theme of woe: -] This sudden repetition of the word "woe," was probably interpolated by the players. Line 10. Alon. Pr'ythee, peace.] All that follows from hence to this speech of the king's,
You cram these words into my ears against
The stomach of my sense,
seems to Mr. Pope to have been an interpolation by the players. For my part, though I allow the matter of the dialogue to be very poor, I cannot be of opinion that it is interpolated. THEOBALD.
Line 12. The visitor- -] Why Dr. Warburton should change visitor to 'viser for adviser, I cannot discover. Gonzalo gives not only advice but comfort, and is therefore properly called The Visitor, like others who visit the sick or distressed to give them consolation. In some of the Protestant churches there is a kind of officers termed consolators for the sick. JOHNSON. and delicate temperance.] Temperance here means STEEVENS.
Line 44. temperature.
Line 46. Temperance was a delicate wench.] In the puritanical times it was usual to christen children from the titles of religious and moral virtues. STEEVENS.
Line 55. How lush, &c.] Lush, i. e. of a dark full colour, the opposite to pale and faint. Sir T. HANMER
Hint is that which recals to the minds with grief is common. JOHNSON.
Line 79. -Widow Dido!] The name of a widow brings to their minds their own shipwreck, which they consider as having made many widows in Naples. JOHNSON.
miraculous harp.] Alluding to Amphion's lyre. 101. The stomach of my sense:] The expression sense, here used, implies feeling.
Line 129. Weigh'd, &c.] i. e. Paused, or deliberated on.
134. Than we bring men to comfort them:] It does not clearly appear whether the king and these lords thought the ship lost. This passage seems to imply, that they were themselves confident of returning, but imagined part of the fleet destroyed. Why, indeed, should Sebastian plot against his brother in the following . scene, unless he knew how to find the kingdom which he was to inherit ? JOHNSON.
-bound of land,—] i. e. Land-mark.
163. The latter end of his commonwealth forgets the beginning.] All this dialogue is a fine satire on the Utopian treatises of government, and the impracticable inconsistent schemes therein recommended. WARBURTON.
Line 170. all foizon,-] Foison or foyzon signifies plenty, ubertas, not moisture, or juice of grass or other herbs, as Mr. Pope says. EDWARDS.
Line 239. I am more serious than my custom: You
Trebles thee o'er.] i. e. If you pay proper attention to
Line 257. Although this lord of weak remembrance,-] This lord, who being now in his dotage, has outlived his faculty of remembering; and who, once laid in the ground, shall be as little remembered himself, as he can now remember other things.
Line 260. For he's a spirit of persuasion,-] Of this entangled sentence I can draw no sense from the present reading, and therefore imagine that the author gave it thus:
For he, a spirit of persuasion, only
Of which the meaning may be either, that he alone, who is a spirit of persuasion, professes to persuade the king; or that, He only pro