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ties of retirement, or under the shelter of acade- of such as aspire to exactness of criticism, or mic bowers, but amidst inconvenience and dis-elegance of style.
greater number of readers, who, seldom intending to write or presuming to judge, turn over books only to amuse their leisure, and to gain degrees of knowledge suitable to lower characters, or necessary to the common business of life: these know not any other use of a diction
plaining terms of science, or words of infrequent occurrence, or remote derivation.
traction, in sickness and in sorrow. It may But it has been since considered that works repress the triumph of malignant criticism to of that kind are by no means necessary to the observe, that if our language is not here fully displayed, I have only failed in an attempt which no human powers have hitherto completed. If the lexicons of ancient tongues, now immutably fixed, and comprised in a few volumes, be yet, after the toil of successive ages, inadequate and delusive; if the aggregated knowledge and co-ary than that of adjusting orthography, and exoperating diligence of the Italian academicians, did not secure them from the censure of Beni; if the embodied critics of France, when fifty years had been spent upon their work, were obliged to change its economy, and give their second edition another form, I may surely be contented without the praise of perfection, which, if I could obtain, in this gloom of solitude, what would it avail me? have protracted my work till most of those whom I wished to please have sunk into the grave, and success and miscarriage are empty sounds: I therefore dismiss it with frigid tranquillity, having little to fear or hope from censure or from praise.
TO THE FOURTH EDITION OF THE ENGLISH
MANY are the works of human industry, which to begin and finish are hardly granted to the same man. He that undertakes to compile a dictionary, undertakes that, which, if it comprehends the full extent of his design, he knows himself unable to perform. Yet his labours, though deficient, may be useful, and with the hope of this inferior praise, he must incite his activity, and solace his weariness.
Perfection is unattainable, but nearer and nearer approaches may be made; and finding my dictionary about to be reprinted, I have endeavoured, by a revisal, to make it less reprehensible. I will not deny that I found many parts requiring emendation, and many more capable of improvement. Many faults I have corrected, some superfluities I have taken away, and some deficiencies I have supplied. I have methodised some parts that were disordered, and illuminated some that were obscure. Yet the changes or additions bear a very small proportion to the whole. The critic will now have less to object, but the student who has bought any of the former copies needs not repent; he will not, without nice collation, perceive how they differ; and usefulness seldom depends upon little things.
For negligence or deficience, I have perhaps not need of more apology than the nature of the work will furnish: I have left that inaccurate which never was made exact, and that imperfect which never was completed.
TO THE OCTAVO EDITION OF THE ENGLISH
HAVING been long employed in the study and cultivation of the English language, I lately published a Dictionary like those compiled by the academies of Italy and France, for the use
For these purposes many dictionaries have been written by different authors, and with different degrees of skill; but none of them have yet fallen into my hands by which even the lowest expectations could be satisfied. Some of their authors wanted industry, and others literature; some knew not their own defects, and others were too idle to supply them.
For this reason a small dictionary appeared yet to be wanting to common readers; and, as I may without arrogance claim to myself a longer acquaintance with the lexicography of our language than any other writer has had, I shall hope to be considered as having more experience at least than most of my predecessors, and as more likely to accommodate the nation with a vocabulary of daily use. I therefore offer to the public an Abstract or Epitome of my former Work.
the same kind, it will be found to have several In comparing this with other dictionaries of advantages.
I. It contains many words not to be found in any other.
II. Many barbarous terms and phrases by which other dictionaries may vitiate the style, are rejected from this.
III. The words are more correctly spelled, partly by attention to their etymology, and partly by observation of the practice of the best authors.
ther from foreign languages or from native roots, IV. The etymologies and derivations, wheare more diligently traced, and more distinctly
ously enumerated, and more clearly explained. V. The senses of each word are more copi
thors, such as Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton. VI. Many words occurring in the elder auwhich had been hitherto omitted, are here carefully inserted; so that this book may serve as a glossary or expository index to the poetical writers.
VII. To the words, and to the different senses of each word, are subjoined from the large dictionary the names of those writers by whom they have been used; so that the reader who knows the different periods of the language, and the time of its authors, may judge of the ele gance or prevalence of any word, or meaning of a word; and without recurring to other books, may know what are antiquated, what are unusual, and what are recommended by the best authority.
The words of this Dictionary, as opposed to others, are more diligently collected, more accurately spelled, more faithfully explained, and more authentically ascertained. Of an Abstract it is not necessary to say more; and I hope it wili not be found that truth requires me to say less.
TRAGEDY OF MACBETH:
WITH REMARKS ON SIR T. HANMER'S EDITION OF SHAKSPEARE
FIRST PRINTED IN THE YEAR 1745.
out soldiers, was, at the instance of the Empress Placidia, put to death, when he was about to have given proofs of his abilities. The empress showed some kindness in her anger by cutting him off at a time so convenient for his reputation.
ACT I. SCENE I.-Enter three Witches. In order to make a true estimate of the abilities and merit of a writer, it is always necessary to examine the genius of his age, and the opinions of his contemporaries. A poet who should But a more remarkable proof of the antiquity now make the whole action of his tragedy de- of this notion may be found in St. Chrysostom's pend upon enchantment, and produce the chief book de Sacerdotio, which exhibits a scene of enevents by the assistance of supernatural agents, chantments not exceeded by any romance of the would be censured as transgressing the bounds middle age; he supposes a spectator, overlookof probability, he would be banished from the ing a field of battle, attended by one that points theatre to the nursery, and condemned to write out all the various objects of horror, the engines Fairy Tales instead of Tragedies; but a survey of destruction, and the arts of slaughter. of the notions that prevailed at the time when κνύτο δὲ ἔτι παρὰ τοῖς ἐναντίοις καὶ πετομένους ἵππους this play was written, will prove that Shak- διά τινος μαγγανείας, καὶ ὁπλίτας δι' ἀέρος φερομένους, speare was in no danger of such censures, since καὶ πάσην γοητείας δύναμιν καὶ ἰδέαν. Let him then he only turned the system that was then uni-proceed to show him in the opposite armies horses versally admitted to his advantage, and was far from overburdening the credulity of his audience.
flying by enchantment, armed men transported through the air, and every power and form of magic. Whether St. Chrysostom believed that such The reality of witchcraft or enchantment, performances were really to be seen in a day of which though not strictly the same, are con- battle, or only endeavoured to enliven his defounded in this play, has in all ages and coun- scription, by adopting the notions of the vulgar, tries been credited by the common people, and it is equally certain, that such notions were in in most by the learned themselves. These phan- his time received, and that therefore they were toms have indeed appeared more frequently, in not imported from the Saracens in a later age; proportion as the darkness of ignorance has the wars with the Saracens, however, gave ocbeen more gross; but it cannot be shown, that casion to their propagation, not only as bigotry the brightest gleams of knowledge have at any naturally discovers prodigies, but as the scene of time been sufficient to drive them out of the action was removed to a greater distance, and world. The time in which this kind of credulity distance either of time or place is sufficient to was at its height, seems to have been that of the reconcile weak minds to wonderful relations. holy war, in which the Christians imputed all The reformation did not immediately arrive their defeats to enchantment or diabolical oppo- at its meridian, and though day was gradually sition, as they ascribe their success to the assis-increasing upon us, the goblins of witchcraft tance of their military saints; and the learned Mr. Warburton appears to believe ("Sup. to the Introduction to Don Quixote") that the first accounts of enchantments were brought into this part of the world by those who returned from their eastern expeditions. But there is always some distance between the birth and maturity of folly as of wickedness: this opinion had long existed, though perhaps the application of it had in no foregoing age been so frequent, nor the reception so general. Olympiodorus, in Photius's Extracts, tells us of one Libanius, who practised this kind of military magic, and having promised χώρις ὁπλιτῶν κατὰ Βαρβαρων ἐνεργεῖν, to perform great things against the Barbarians, with- |
still continued to hover in the twilight. In the time of Queen Elizabeth was the remarkable trial of the witches of Warbois, whose conviction is still commemorated in an annual sermon at Huntingdon. But in the reign of King James, in which this tragedy was written, many circumstances concurred to propagate and confirm this opinion. The king who was much cele brated for his knowledge, had, before his arrival in England, not only examined in person a woman accused of witchcraft, but had given a very formal account of the practices and illusions of evil spirits, the compacts of witches, the ceremonies used by them, the manner of detecting them, and the justice of punishing them, in his
If I say sooth, I must report they were As cannons overcharged with double cracks, So they redoubled strokes upon the foe. Mr. Theobald has endeavoured to improve the sense of this passage by altering the punctu ation thus :
As cannons overcharg'd, with double cracks
dialogues of Dæmonologie, written in the Scot- he had a just quarrel to endeavour after the The sense therefore is, fortune smiling ish dialect, and published at Edinburgh. This crown. book was, soon after his accession, reprinted at in his execrable cause, &c. London; and as the ready way to gain King James's favour was to flatter his speculations, the system of Dæmonologie was immediately adopted by all who desired either to gain preferment or not to lose it. Thus the doctrine of witchcraft was very powerfully inculcated; and as the greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion, it cannot be doubted but this persuasion made a rapid progress, since vanity and credulity co-operated in its favour, and it had a tendency to free cowardice from reproach. The infection soon reached the parliament, who, in the first year of King James, made a law, by which it was enacted, ch. xii. that, "If any person shall use any invocation or conjuration of any evil or wicked spirit; 2. Or shall consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed, or reward any evil or cursed spirit to or for any intent or purpose; 3. Or take up any dead man, woman, or child out of the grave,-or the skin, bone, or any part of the dead person, to be employed or used in any manner of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment; 4. Or shall use, practise, or exercise any sort of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment; 5. Whereby any person shall be destroyed, killed, wasted, consumed, pined, or lamed in any part of the body; 6. That every such person, being convicted, shall suffer death."
Thus, in the time of Shakspeare, was the doctrine of witchcraft at once established by law and by the fashion, and it became not only unpolite, but criminal, to doubt it; and as prodigies are always seen in proportion as they are expected, witches were every day discovered, and multiplied so fast in some places, that Bishop Hall mentions a village in Lancashire, where their number was greater than that of the houses. The Jesuits and Sectaries took advantage of this universal error, and endeavoured to promote the interest of their parties by pretended cures of persons afflicted by evil spirits, but they were detected and exposed by the clergy of the esta
Upon this general infatuation Shakspeare might be easily allowed to found a play, especially since he has followed with great exactness such histories as were then thought true; nor can it be doubted that the scenes of enchantment, however they may now be ridiculed, were both by himself and his audience thought awful and affecting.
He declares with some degree of exultation, that he has no idea of a cannon charged with double cracks; but surely the great author will not gain much by an alteration which makes him say of a hero, that he redoubles strokes with double cracks, an expression not more loudly to be applauded, or more easily pardoned, than that which is rejected in its favour. That a cannon is charged with thunder or with double thunders, may be written not only without nonsense, but with elegance; and nothing else is here meant by cracks, which in the time of this writer was a word of such emphasis and dignity, that in this play he terms the general dissolution of nature the crack of doom.
There are among Mr. Theobald's alterations others which I do not approve, though I do not always censure them; for some of his amendments are so excellent, that, even when he has failed, he ought to be treated with indulgence and respect.
King. But who comes here?
Lenor. What ha te looks through his eyes?
The meaning of this passage as it now stands is, so should he look, that looks as if he told things strange. But Rosse neither yet told strange things, nor could look as if he told them; Lenox only conjectured from his air that he had strange things to tell, and therefore undoubtedly said,
-What haste looks through his eyes?
So should he look, that teems to speak things strange. He looks like one that is big with something of importance, a metaphor so natural, that it is every day used in common discourse.
NOTE V.-SCENE III.
Thunder. Enter the three Witches.
1st Witch. Where hast thou been, sister?
3d Witch. Sister, where thou?
1st Witch. A sailor's wife had chesnuts in her lap, And mouncht, and mouncht, and mouncht. Give me,
(1) Aroint thee, witch, the rump-fed ronyon cries.
And like a rat without a tail,
1st Witch. I myself have all the other,
I will drain him dry as hay
In one of the folio editions the reading is anoint thee, in a sense very consistent with the common accounts of witches, who are related to perform many supernatural acts by the means of unguents, and particularly to fly through the air to the place where they meet at their hellish festivals. In this sense, anoint thee, witch, will mean, away, witch, to your infernal assembly. This reading I was inclined to favour, because I had met with the word aroint in no other place; till looking into Hearne's Collections, I found it in a very old drawing that he has published, in which St. Patrick is represented visiting hell, and putting the devils into great confusion by his presence, of whom one that is driving the damned before him with a prong, has a label issuing out from his mouth with these words, out out aroynt, of which the last is evidently the same with aroint, and used in the same sense as in this passage.
(2) And the very points they blow.
As the word very is here of no other use than to fill up the verse, it is likely that Shakspeare wrote various, which might be easily mistaken for very, being either negligently read, hastily pronounced, or imperfectly heard.
(3) He shall live a man forbid.
Mr. Theobald has very justly explained forbid by accursed, but without giving any reason of his interpretation. To bid, is originally to pray, as in this Saxon fragment:
He is wis thaet bit & bote, &c.
He is wise that prays and improves. As to forbid therefore implies to prohibit, in opposition to the word bid in its present sense, it signifies by the same kind of opposition to curse, when it is derived from the same word in its primitive meaning.
Cawdor, whom he has just defeated and taken prisoner, or call him a prosperous gentleman, who has forfeited his title and life by open rebellion? Or why should he wonder that the title of the rebel whom he has overthrown should be conferred upon him? He cannot be supposed to dissemble his knowledge of the condition of Cawdor, because he inquires with all the ardour of curiosity, and the vehemence of sudden astonishment; and because nobody is present but Banquo, who had an equal part in the battle, and was equally acquainted with Cawdor's treason. However, in the next scene, his ignorance still continues; and when Rosse and Angus present him from the king with his new title, he cries out,
-The Thane of Cawdor lives.
Why do you dress me in his borrowed robes? Rosse and Angus, who were the messengers that in the second scene informed the king of the assistance given by Cawdor to the invader, having lost, as well as Macbeth, all memory of what they had so lately seen and related, make this answer,
Whether he was
Combin'd with Norway, or did line the rebels With hidden help and vantage, or with both He labour'd in his country's wreck, I know not Neither Rosse knew what he had just reported, nor Macbeth what he had just done. This seems not to be one of the faults that are to be imputed to the transcribers, since, though the inconsistency of Rosse and Angus might be removed, by supposing that their names are erroneously inserted, and that only Rosse brought sent to compliment Macbeth, yet the forgetthe account of the battle, and only Angus was fulness of Macbeth cannot be palliated, since what he says could not have been spoken by
This conjecture is supported by the passage in the letter to his lady, in which he says, They referred me to the coming on of time, with Hail King that shall be
NOTE IX.-SCENE VI.
As the word ow'd affords here no sense but such as is forced and unnatural, it cannot be doubted that it was originally written, The dearest thing he own'd; a reading which needs neither defence nor explication.
Are to your throne and state, children and servants, Which do but what they should, in doing every thing Fiefs to your love and honour.
My esteem of these critics inclines me to believe, that they cannot be much pleased with the expression Fiefs to love, or Fiefs to honour; and that they have proposed this alteration rather because no other occurred to them, than because they approved it. I shall therefore propose a bolder change, perhaps with no better success, but sua cuique placent. I read thus,
Are to your throne and state, children and servants, Which do but what they should, in doing nothing Save tow'rds your love and honour.
We do but perform our duty when we contract all our views to your service, when we act with no other principle than regard to your love and honour.
It is probable that this passage was first corrupted by writing safe for save, and the lines then stood thus,
Safe tow'rd your love and honour. Which the next transcriber observing to be wrong, and yet not being able to discover the real fault, altered to the present reading.
NOTE XII.-SCENE VII.
-Thou 'dst have, great Glamis,
As the object of Macbeth's desire is here intro-
The intent of Lady Macbeth, evidently, is to wish that no womanish tenderness, or conscientious remorse, may hinder her purpose from proceeding to effect; but neither this, nor indeed any other sense, is expressed by the present reading, and therefore it cannot be doubted that Shakspeare wrote differently, perhaps thus:
That no compunctious visitings of nature
To keep pace between, may signify to pass between, to intervene. Pace is on many occasions a favourite of Shakspeare. This phrase is indeed not usual in this sense, but was it not its novelty that gave occasion to the present corruption?
NOTE XV.-SCENE VIII.
King. This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air
Banquo. This guest of summer,
The temple-haunting Martlet, does approve,
In this short scene, I propose a slight alteration to be made, by substituting site for seat, as the ancient word for situation; and sense for senses, as more agreeable to the measure; for which reason likewise I have endeavoured to adjust this passage,
-Heav'n's breath Smells wooingly here. No jutting frieze, by changing the punctuation, and adding a syllable-thus:
Smells wooingly. Here is no jutting frieze. Those who have perused books printed at the time of the first editions of Shakspeare, know that greater alterations than these are necessary