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Re-enter ARIEL, like a water-nymph.
Fine apparition! My quaint Ariel,
My lord, it fhall be done. (Exit. PRO. Thou poisonous flave, got by the devil himfelf
Upon thy wicked dam, come forth!
CAL. As wicked dew as e'er my mother brufh'd With raven's feather from unwholefome fen,
Drop on you both! a fouth-west blow on ye,
In Profpero's fummons to Caliban, however, as it stands in the old copy, the word forth (which I have repeated for the fake of metre) is wanting. STEEVENS.
2 Cal. As wicked, dew, as e'er my mother brush'd
With raven's feather from unwholesome fen,
Drop on you both!) It was a tradition, it seems, that lord Falkland, lord C. J. Vaughan, and Mr. Selden, concurred in obferving, that Shakspeare had not only found out a new character in his Caliban, but had also devised and adapted a new manner of language for that chara&er. What they meant by it, without doubt, was, that Shakspeare gave his language a certain grotesque air of the savage and antique; which it certainly has. But Dr. Bentley took this, of a new language, literally; for fpeaking of a phrase in Milton, which he supposed altogether absurd and unmeaning, he fays, Satan had not the privilege as Caliban in Shakspeare, to use new phrafe and diɛlion unknown to all others and again to practife distances is ftill a Caliban file. Note on Milton's Paradife Loft, 1. iv. v. 945. But I know of no fuch Caliban file in Shakspeare, that hath new phrase and diction unknown to all others. WARBURTON.
Whence thefe critics derived the notion of a new language appropriated to Calibau, I cannot find: they certainly mistook brutality of fentiment for uncouthnefs of words. Caliban had learned to Speak of Profpero, and his daughter; he had no names for the fun and moon before their arrival, and could not have invented a language of his own, without more understanding than Shakspeare has thought it proper to bestow upon him. His diction is indeed
PRO. For this, be fure, to-night thou fhalt havé
Side-ftitches that shall pen thy breath up; urchins' Shall, for that vast of night that they may work,*
fomewhat clouded by the gloominefs of his temper, and the malignity of his purposes; but let any other being entertain the fame thoughts, and he will find them easily iffue in the fame expreffions. JOHNSON.
As wicked dew.) Wicked; having baneful qualities. So Spenfer fays, wicked weed; fo, in oppofition, we fay herbs or medicines have virtues. Bacon mentions virtuous Bezoar, and Dryden virtuous herbs. JOHNSON.
So, in the Booke of Haukyng, &c. bl. 1. no date « If a wicked fellon be fwollen in fuch manner that a man may hele it, the hauke fhall not dye." Under K. Henry VI. the parliament petitioned againft hops, as a wicked weed. See Fuller's Worthies: Eflex. STEEVENS.
urchins) i. e. hedgehogs.
Urchins are enumerated by Reginald Scott among other terrific beings. So, in Chapman's May Day, 1611:
-to fold thyfelf up like an urchin.",
Again, in Selimus Emperor of the Turks, 1638:
What, are the urchins crept out of their dens, "Under the condu&t of this porcupine!",
Urchins are perhaps here put for fairies. Milton in his Mafque fpeaks of urchin blafts," and we ftill call any little dwarfith child, an urchin. The word occurs again in the next act. The echinus or fea hedge-hog, is ftill denominated the urchin. STEEVENS.
In the M. W. of Windfor we have a urchins, ouphes, and fairies; " and the paffage to which Mr. Steevens alludes, proves, I think, that urchins here fignifies beings of the fairy kind :
His Spirits hear me,
"And yet I needs muft curfe; but they'll nor pinch, Fright me with urchin-fhews, pitch me i'the mire,», &c.
In fupport of Mr. Steevens's note, which does not appear fatisfactory to Mr. Malone, take the following proofs from Hormanni Vulgaria, 4to 1515. p. 109: Urchyns or Hedgehoggis, full of fharpe pryckillys, whan they know that they be hunted, make them rounde lyke a balle." Porpyns have longer prykels
-for that vaft of night that they may work,) The vaft of night
All exercife on thee: thou fhalt be pinch'd
Than bees that made them.
I muft eat my dinner,
This ifland's mine, by Sycorax my mother, Which thou tak'ft from me. When thou cameft
Thou ftrok'dft me, and mad'ft much of me; would't give me
Water with berries in't; and teach me how
means the night which is naturally empty and deferted, without action, or when all things lying in fleep and filence, makes the world appear one great uninhabited waste. So, in Hamlet:
"In the dead waste and middle of the night."
It has a meaning like of nox vafta.
Perhaps, however, it may be used with a fignification fomewhat different, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609;
"Thou God of this great vaft, rebuke the furges."
Vaftum is likewife the ancient law term for wafte uncultivated land; and, with this meaning, vaft is used by Chapman in his Shadow of Night, 1594:
"When unlightfome, vaft, and indigeft,
"The formeless matter of this world did lye."
It should be remembered, that, in the pneumatology of former ages, these particulars were settled with the moft minute exa&ness, and the different kinds of visionary beings had different allotments of time suitable to the variety or confequence 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 fuppofe urchins to have had a part fubje&ed to their domi nion. To this limitation of time Shakspeare alludes again in K. Lear: He begins at curfew, and walks till the fecond cock." STEEVENS. 5 Which thou tak'ft from me. When thou cameft first,) We night
Which thou tak'ft from me. When thou cam'ft here first,—"
The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place, and
Curfed be I that did fo!-All the charms 6
Thou moft lying flave, Whom ftripes may move, not kindnefs: I have
Filth as thou art, with human care; and lodg'd
In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate The honour of my child.
CAN. O ho, O ho!'-'wou'd it had been done! Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled elfe This ifle with Calibans.
Abhorred flave; 8
Which any print of goodness will not take,
6 -All the charms-) The latter wor, like many others of the fame kind, is here used as a diffyllable. MALONE.
Why should we encourage a fuppofition which no inftance whatever countenances? viz. that charms was used as a diffyllable. verfe is complete without fuch an effort to prolong it : "Curfed be I that did | fo! all the charms-.”
7 Oho, O ho!) This favage exclamation was originally and conflantly appropriated by the writers of our ancient Myfteries and Moralities, to the Devil; and has, in this inftance, been transferred to his defcendant Caliban. STEEVENS.
& Abhorred flave;) This fpeech, which the old copy gives to Miranda, is very judiciously beftowed by Theobald on Profpero. JOHNSON.
Mr. Theobald found, or might have found, this fpeech transferred to Profpero in the alteration of this play by Dryden and D'Avenant. MALONE.
Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour
One thing or other: when thou didft not, favage, Know thine own meaning,' but would'ft gabble like A thing moft brutish, I endow'd thy purposes With words that made them known: But thy vile.
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good
Could not abide to be with; therefore waft thou Defervedly confin'd into this rock,
Who hadft deferv'd more than a prifon.
You taught me language; and my profit
Is, I know how to curfe: The red plague rid you,
• When thou didst not, favage,
Know thine own meaning,) By this expreffion, however defeetive, the poet feems to have meant-When thou didst utter founds, to which thou hadst no determinate meaning: but the following expreffion of Mr. Addison, in his 389th Spedator, concerning the Houentots, may prove the best comment on this paiiage; having no language among them but a confufed gabble, which is neither well understood by themfelves, or others."
But thy vile race,) The old copy has vild, but it is only the ancient mode of fpelling vile. Race, in this place, feems to fignify original difpofition, inborn qualities. In this fenfe we ftill fayThe race of wine: Thus in Manger's New Way to pay old Debts: "There came, not fix days fince, from Hull, a pipe "Of rich Cauary.
Is it of the right race?"
and Sir W. Temple has fomewhere applied it to works of literaSTEEVENS.
Race and racinefs in wine, fignifies a kind of tartnefs.
the red plague rid you,) I fuppofe from the reduels of the
body, univeríally inflamed. JOHNSON.
The erysipelas was anciently called the red plague. STEEVENS.
« Now the red peftilence ftrike all trades in Rome!"