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PRO. For this, be fure, to-night thou fhalt have
Side-stitches that fhall pen thy breath urchins ' up; Shall, for that vaft of night that they may work,4
fomewhat clouded by the gloominefs of his temper, and the malignity of his purpofes; but let any other being entertain the fame thoughts, and he will find them eafily iffue in the fame expreffions.
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 wycked "fellon be fwollen in fuch manner that a man may hele it, the "hauke fhall not dye." Under K. Henry VI. the parliament petitioned against hops, as a wicked weed. See Fuller's Worthies: Effex. STEEVENS.
3 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 conduct of this porcupine!"
Urchins are perhaps here put for fairies. Milton in his Mafque fpeaks of " urchin blafts," and we ftill call any little dwarfish 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 " 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 fpirits 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."-Again,-" Porpyns have longer prykels than urchyns." DOUCE.
4-for that vaft of night that they may work,] The vaft of night
All exercife on thee: thou shalt be pinch'd
Than bees that made them.
CAL. I must eat my dinner. This island's mine, by Sycorax my mother, Which thou tak'ft from me. When thou camest
Thou ftrok'dit 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 wafte. So, in Hamlet: "In the dead waste and middle of the night."
It has a meaning like that 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 ufed by Chapman in his Shadow of Night, 1594:
When unlightfome, vaft, and indigeft,
"The formelefs matter of this world did lye."
It should be remembered, that, in the pneumatology of former ages, thefe particulars were fettled with the moft minute exactness, and the different kinds of vifionary beings had different allotments of time fuitable to the variety or confequence of their employments. During thefe fpaces, 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 thefe, we may fuppofe urchins to have had a part fubjected to their dominion. 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 firft,] We might
"Which thou tak'ft from me. When thou cam'ft here first,—” RITSON.
The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place, and fertile;
Curfed be I that did fo!-All the charms"
Thou most lying flave, Whom ftripes may move, not kindness: I have us'd thee,
Filth as thou art, with human care; and lodg'd
In mine own cell, till thou didst feek to violate
CAL. O ho, O ho!-'wou'd it had been done!
Abhorred flave; 8 Which any print of goodness will not take, Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,
6 All the charms-] The latter word, like many others of the fame kind, is here ufed as a diffy llable. MALONE.
Why should we encourage a fuppofition which no inftance whatever countenances? viz. that charms was used as a diffyllable. The verfe is complete without fuch an effort to prolong it:
"Curfed | be I ❘ that did | fo! all the charms—”
STEEVENS. 7 Oho! O bo!] This favage exclamation was originally and conftantly 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.
8 Abhorred flave;] This fpeech, which the old copy gives to Miranda, is very judiciously beftowed by Theobald on Profpero.
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
One thing or other: when thou didst not, favage, Know thine own meaning, but would'st gabble like A thing moft brutish, I endow'd thy purposes With words that made them known: But thy vile race,2
Though thou didst learn, had that in't which good
Could not abide to be with; therefore waft thou
CAL. You taught me language; and my profit
Is, I know how to curfe: The red plague rid you,
9 When thou didst not, favage,
Know thine own meaning,] By this expreffion, however defective, the poet feems to have meant-When thou didst utter founds, to which thou hadft no determinate meaning: but the following expreffion of Mr. Addison, in his 389th Spectator, concerning the Hottentots, may prove the beft comment on this paffage; "-having no language among them but a confused gabble, which is neither well underflood by themselves, or others." STEEVENS.
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 still fay The race of wine: Thus in Maffinger's New Way to pay old Debts : "There came, not fix days fince, from Hull, a pipe "Of rich Canary.
"Is it of the right race?"
and Sir W. Temple has fomewhere applied it to works of literature. STEEVENS.
Race and racinefs in wine, fignifies a kind of tartnefs.
3-the red plague rid you,] I fuppofe from the redness of the body, univerfally inflamed. JOHNSON.
The eryfipelas was anciently called the red plague. STEEVENS, So again, in Coriolanus:
"Now the red peftilence ftrike all trades in Rome!"
For learning me your language!
PRO. Hag-feed, hence! Fetch us in fuel; and be quick, th' wert beft, To answer other bufinefs. Shrug'ft thou, malice? If thou neglect'ft, or doft unwillingly What I command, I'll rack thee with old cramps; Fill all thy bones with aches; make thee roar, That beafts fhall tremble at thy din.
No, 'pray thee!— I must obey his art is of fuch power, It would control my dam's god Setebos, " And make a vaffal of him.
So, flavé; hence!
Re-enter ARIEL invisible, playing and singing;
Come unto thefe yellow fands,
Court'fied when you have, and kifs'd,
The word rid, which has not been explained, means to deftroy. So, in K. Henry VI. P. II:
-If you ever chance to have a child,
"Look, in his youth, to have him fo cut off,
As, deathfmen! you have rid this fweet young prince."
my dam's god, Setebos,] A gentleman of great merit, Mr. Warner, has obferved on the authority of John Barbot, that "the Patagons are reported to dread a great horned devil, called Setebos."-It may be asked however, how Shakspeare knew any thing of this, as Barbot was a voyager of the prefent century?— Perhaps he had read Eden's Hiftory of Travayle, 1577, who tells us, p. 434, that "the giantes, when they found themfelves fettered, roared like bulls, and cried upon Setebos to help them."The metathefis in Caliban from Canibal is evident. FARMER.
We learn from Magellan's voyage, that Setebos was the fupreme god of the Patagons, and Cheleule was an inferior one. TOLLET.