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So full of valour, that they fmote the air
Advanc'd their eye-lids,' lifted up their nofes,
Which enter'd their frail fhins: at laft I left them
5 Advanc'd their eye-lids, &c.] Thus Drayton, in his Nymphidia, or Court of Fairie :
"But once the circle got within,
"A pain he in his head-piece feels,
"And up went poor Hobgoblin's heels:
"At length upon his feet he gets,
"And through the bufhes fcrambles,
Among the briers and brambles." JOHNSON. 6-pricking gofs,] I know not how Shakspeare diftinguished gofs from furze; for what he calls furze is called gofs or gorje in the midland counties.
This word is used in the first chorus to Kyd's Cornelia, 1594: "With worthlefs gorfe that, yearly, fruitlefs dies."
By the latter, Shakspeare means the low fort of gorfe that only grows upon wet ground, and which is well defcribed by the name of whins in Markham's Farewell to Husbandry. It has prickles like thofe on a rofe-tree or a goofeberry. Furze and whins occur together in Dr. Farmer's quotation from Holinthed. TOLLET.
I' the filthy mantled pool' beyond your cell, There dancing up to the chins, that the foul lake O'er-ftunk their feet.
PRO. This was well done, my bird:
I go, I
go. [Exit. PRO. A devil, a born devil, on whose nature Nurture can never ftick; on whom my pains, Humanely taken, all, all loft, quite lost; And as, with age, his body uglier grows, So his mind cankers: I will plague them all, Re-enter ARIEL loaden with glistering apparel, &c. Even to roaring:-Come, hang them on this line.
I the filthy mantled pool-] Perhaps we should read—filthymantled. A fimilar idea occurs in K. Lear:
"Drinks the green mantle of the standing pool." STEEVENS. 8 For stale to catch thefe thieves.] Stale is a word in fowling, and is used to mean a bait or decoy to catch birds.
So, in A Looking glass for London and England, 1617: "Hence tools of wrath, ftales of temptation!"
Again, in Green's Mamillia, 1595. "that the might not strike at the ftale, left she were canvaffed in the nets." STEEVENS.
9 Nurture can never flick ;] Nurture is education. STEEVENS.
-all, all loft,] The first of these words was probably introduced by the careleffness of the tranfcriber or compofitor. We might fafely read-are all loft. MALONE.
3 And as, with age, his body uglier grows,
So his mind cankers:] Shakspeare, when he wrote this defcription, perhaps recollected what his patron's most intimate friend, the great lord Effex, in an hour of discontent, faid of queen Elizabeth ;- "that he grew old and canker'd, and that her mind was become as crooked as her carcafe:"- -a speech, which, according to Sir Walter Raleigh, coft him his head, and which, we may therefore fuppofe, was at that time much talked of. This play being written in the time of king James, these obnoxious words might be fafely repeated. MALONE.
PROSPERO and ARIEL remain invisible. CALIBAN, STEPHANO, and TRINCULO, all wet. CAL. Pray you, tread foftly, that the blind mole may not
Hear a foot fall:
we now are near his cell.
STE. Monster, your fairy, which, you fay, is a harmless fairy, has done little better than play'd the Jack with us."
TRIN. Monster, I do fmell all horse-pifs; at which my nofe is in great indignation.
STE. So is mine. Do you hear, monster? If I fhould take a displeasure against you; look
TRIN. Thou wert but a loft monster.
CAL. Good my lord, give me thy favour ftill: Be patient, for the prize I'll bring thee to Shall hood-wink this mifchance: therefore, fpeak
foftly; All's hufh'd as midnight yet.
TRIN. Ay, but to lose our bottles in the pool,STE. There is not only difgrace and dishonour in that, monster, but an infinite lofs.
TRIN. That's more to me than my wetting: yet this is your harmless fairy, monster.
the blind mole may not
Hear a foot fall:] This quality of hearing which the mole is fuppofed to poffefs in fo high a degree, is mentioned in Euphues, 4to. 1581, p. 64," Doth not the lion for ftrength, the turtle for love, the ant for labour, excel man? Doth not the eagle fee clearer, the vulture smell better, the moale heare lightlyer ?" REED.
5-has done little better than play'd the Jack with us.] i. e. He has played Jack with a lantern; has led us about like an ignis fatuus, by which travellers are decoyed into the mire. JOHNSON.
STE. I will fetch off my bottle, though I be o'er ears for my labour.
CAL. Pr'ythee, my king, be quiet: Seeft thou here,
This is the mouth o' the cell: no noife, and enter:
STE. Give me thy hand: I do begin to have bloody thoughts.
TRIN. O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! look, what a wardrobe here is for
CAL. Let it alone, thou fool; it is but trafh. TRIN. O, ho, monfter; we know what belongs to a frippery :-O king Stephano!
STE. Put off that gown, Trinculo; by this hand, I'll have that gown.
TRIN. Thy grace shall have it.
CAL. The dropfy drown this fool! what do you
Trin. O king Stephano! O peer! O worthy Stephano! look what a wardrobe here is for thee!] The humour of thefe lines confifts in their being an allufion to an old celebrated ballad, which begins thus: King Stephen was a worthy peer-and celebrates that king's parfimony with regard to his wardrobe.There are two ftanzas of this ballad in Othello. WARBURTON.
The old ballad is printed at large in The Reliques of Ancient Poetry, Vol. I. PERCY.
7 - we know what belongs to a frippery:] A frippery was a fhop where old clothes were fold. Fripperie, Fr.
Beaumont and Fletcher use the word in this fense, in Wit without Money, A&t II:
"As if I were a running frippery."
So, in Monfieur d' Olive, a comedy, by Chapman, 1606: " Paffing
To doat thus on fuch luggage? Let's along,
STE. Be you quiet, monfter.-Mistress line, is not this my jerkin? Now is the jerkin under the line: now, jerkin, you are like to lose your hair, and prove a bald jerkin.
yefterday by the frippery, I fpied two of them hanging out at a ftall, with a gambrell thruft from shoulder to shoulder."
The perfon who kept one of these fhops, was called a fripper. Strype, in the life of Stowe, fays, that these frippers lived in Birchin-lane and Cornhill. STEEVENS.
Let's along,] First edit. Let's alone. I believe the poet wrote:
Let alone, "And do the murder firft."
Caliban had ufed the fame expreffion before. Mr. Theobald reads-let's along. MALONE.
Let's alone, may mean-Let you and I only go to commit the murder, leaving Trinculo, who is fo folicitous about the trash of drefs, behind us. STEEVENS.
9-under the line:] An allufion to what often happens to pecple who pafs the line. The violent fevers, which they contract in that hot climate, make them lofe their hair. EDWARDS' MSS. Perhaps the allufion is to a more indelicate disease than any peculiar to the equinoxial.
So, in The Noble Soldier, 1632:
""Tis hot going under the line there."
Again, in Lady Alimony, 1659:
Look to the clime
"Where you inhabit; that's the torrid zone :
Yea, there goes the hair away."
Shakspeare feems to defign an equivoque between the equinoxial and the girdle of a woman.
It may be neceffary, however, to obferve, as a further elucidation of this miferable jeft, that the lines on which clothes are hung, are ufually made of twisted horse-hair. STEEVENS.