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When Mr. Collier offered the very unnecessary conjecture impress” on account of “ the context” (“ seal”), he did not perceive that these two rapturous encomiums on the hand of Helena have no connexion with each other. Demetrius terms it “princess of pure white,” because its whiteness exceeded all other whiteness; and “seal of bliss,” because it was to confirm the happiness of her accepted lover.
Scene 1.-C. p. 446.
Tita. Music, ho! music ! such as charmeth sleep.
Obe. Sound, music! Come, my queen, take hands with me,
“ After these words [_music! such as charmeth sleep') in the folio, 1623, we have the stage-direction Music still ;' which means, probably, that the music was to cease before Puck spoke, as Oberon afterwards exclaims, · Sound, music!' when it was to be renewed.” Collier.
“ Music still” is nothing more than Still music : compare a stage-direction in Beaumont and Fletcher's Triumph of Time (Four Plays in One), where, according to the old eds., the epithet applied to “ Trumpets” is put last; " Jupiter and Mercury descend severally. Trumpets small above."
The Music, instead of “ceasing before Puck spoke,” was not intended to commence at all till Oberon had said, “ Sound, music!" The stage-direction here (as we frequently find in early editions of plays, see my remarks on Troilus and Cressida, act i. sc. 2), was placed prematurely, to warn the musicians to be in readiness.
SCENE 1.-C. p. 447 ; K. p. 76.
When in a wood of Crete they bay'd the bear
In spite of what the commentators say (see Var. Shakespeare), I am strongly inclined to think that “bear" is a misprint for “boar."
“ The. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind, So flew'd, so sanded.” "So sanded' may refer to the sandy marks on the dogs, or possibly it is a misprint for sounded, in allusion to their mouths.” COLLIER.
Did Mr. Collier really believe that “sounded” could be used in the sense of 'having, or giving forth, a sound ?' Besides, the earlier portion of this speech is entirely occupied by a description of the appearance and make of the hounds (“sanded" denoting their general colour); in a later part of it, Theseus describes their cry,—“ match'd in mouth like bells.”
Scene 1.-C. p. 462 ; K. p. 89.
Sweet moon, I thank thee for thy sunny beams;
I thank thee, moon, for shining now so bright,
I trust to take of truest Thisby sight.”
“ The old [oldest] copies repeat beams, as the rhyme to the same word in the line next but one preceding it; and the editor of the second folio substituted streams, perhaps upon some then existing authority which we have no right to dispute; but it appears more likely, from the alliteration, that the word written by Shakespeare was 'gleams, which is quite as applicable to moonlight. I owe this suggestion to Mr. Knight's Pictorial Shakspere.'” COLLIER.
The editor of the second folio gave here what Shakespeare undoubtedly wrote. Neither Mr. Knight nor Mr. Collier appears to recollect that from the earliest times stream has been frequently used in the sense of ray ;'
“ And firy Phebus riseth up so bright
That all the orient laugheth of the sight,
And with his stremes drieth in the greves
Chaucer's Knightes Tale, v. 1495, ed. Tyrwhitt. “For with the stremes of her eyen clere I am wounded euen to the hert.”
Lydgate's Temple of Glas, sig. b iii. ed. 4to, n. d.
Lydgate's Lyfe of our Lady, st. 1. Caxton's ed. n. d. “ And Marcury he trewe downe his golden bemes And [He]sperus her syluer stremes."
Cocke Lorelles Bote, n. d. sig. c ii.
“ like sunny beames,
Spenser's Faerie Queene, b. iii. c. ix. 20. (In all the editions of Spenser the last line is erroneously printed,
* And through the persant aire shoote forth their azure streames ;" that sagacious commentator, Church, informing us, that through the persant aire' means piercing through the air’!!! and, we may presume, seeing nothing remarkable in the rays of the sun being described as azure!!!)
“Resembling Titan in his hottest streames,
Cutwode's Caltha Poetarum, 1599, st. 18. “ Lett a dire comett with his blazing streames,” &c.
Timon, a play, p. 80 (printed for the Shakespeare Soc.). "Amongst all those he [Phæbus) makes his choice,
And with delight goes thorough,
Scottish Song,—Leader-Haughs and Yarrow.
Beaumont and Fletcher's Maid's Tragedy, act i. sc. 2.
(where the Editors of 1778 and Weber, having, like Mr. Collier and Mr. Knight, an unreasonable objection to “stream,” substituted “beam").
Even in Fielding we find; “ The day now began to send forth its first streams of light.” Tom Jones (conclusion of b. viii.), vol. ii. 284, ed. 1763.
Shakespeare uses the verb stream in the sense of pour forth rays;
“ her eyes in heaven
Romeo and Juliet, act ii. sc. 2. MERCHANT OF VENICE.
[Vol. ii. COLLIER; Vol. ii. Knight.]
Scene 2.-C. p. 485; K. p. 262. Come, Nerissa.—Sirrah, go before.—Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at the door." Mr. Knight gives the passage thus ; Come, Nerissa. Sirrah,
before. Whiles we shut the gate upon one wooer, another knocks at
the door.' and remarks, that "the doggrel line is not inconsistent with the playfulness of the preceding dialogue.” He is doubtless right. Many passages might be cited to shew that our early dramatists frequently, at the end of a scene, make a prose speech conclude with a couplet, the first line of which is much shorter than the second.
Scene 3.-C. p. 487; K. p. 264.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,” &c. Mr. Knight observes; “ We have the same expression in Othello ;
• I'll have our Michael Cassio on the hip.' Johnson says the expression is taken from the practice of wrestling.”
But in his Dictionary Johnson derives the phrase (and with more probability) from hunting ; "the hip or haunch of a deer being the part commonly seized by the dogs.”
The commentators are evidently at a loss for an example of this phrase in some other writer. The following passages may be cited;
“ When Dauid seem’d, in common sence, already on the hip, Was Absolom himselfe ore- e-throne,” &c.
Warner's Albions England, p. 262. ed. 1596.