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And they did make no noise,—in such a night
And in such a night Did young Lorenzo swear he lov'd her well; Stealing her soul with many vows of faith, And ne'er a true one.
Jes. I would out-night you, did nobody come;
Lor. Who comes so fast in silence of the night?
Lor. A friend! what friend? your name, I pray you, friend?
Step. Stephano is my name; and I bring word
My mistress will, before the break of day,
Be here at Belmont: she doth stray about
By holy crosses, where she kneels and prays
Lor. Who comes with her?
Step. None but a holy hermit and her maid.
Lor. Sweet soul, let 's in, and there expect their coming.
And yet no matter; why should we go in?
How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon the bank!
Sit, Jessica: look, how the floor of heaven
Come, ho! and wake Diana with a hymn;
Jes. I am never merry when I hear sweet music.
A race of youthful and unhanded colts,
Fetching mad bounds,-bellowing and neighing loud,
If they but hear, perchance, a trumpet sound,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand-
The man that hath no music in himself,
* Patines (Pátine, Paténe, Ital.) have been generally understood to mean plates of gold or silver used in the Catholic service. A new and interesting commentator, however (the Rev. Mr. Hunter), is of opinion that the proper word is patterus.
Enter PORTIA and NERISSA, at a distance.
Por. That light we see is burning in my hall;
Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see the candle.
Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house.
How many things by season, season'd are,
Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows the cuckoo,
Dear lady, welcome home. 13
7" In such a night as this," &c.-All the stories here alluded to,Troilus and Cressida, Pyramus and Thisbe, Dido and Æneas, Jason and Medea, are in Chaucer's Legend of Good Women. It is pleasant to see our great poet so full of his predecessor. He cannot help, however, inventing particulars not to be found in his original.
8 And sigh'd his soul, &c.
"The day go'th fast, and after that came eve,
Clarke's Chaucer, vol. ii., p. 151.
the shadow before she sees the beast (a fine idea!); nor does she in Ovid. In both poets it is a lioness seen by moonlight.
"With bloody mouth, of strangling of a beast."
10 "Stood Dido with a willow in her hand."-The willow, a symbol of being forsaken, is not in Chaucer. It looks as if Shakspeare had seen it in a picture, where it would be more necessary than in a poem.
11" Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs.”—Shakspeare has here gone from Chaucer to Gower. Warton, in his Observations on the Faerie Queene, vol. i., p. 361, edit. 1807, has noticed a passage in Gower's story, full of imagination. The poet is speaking of Medea going out upon the business noticed by Shakspeare.
Thus it fell upon a night,
When there was naught but starrie light,
She was vanish'd right as she list,
That no wight but herself wist,
12 "There's not the smallest orb."--The "warbler of wood-notes wild" has here manifestly joined with Plato and other learned spirits to suggest to Milton his own account of the Music of the Spheres, which every reader of taste, I think, must agree with Mr. Knight in thinking "less perfect in sentiment and harmony."-Pictorial Shakspeare, vol. ii., p. 448. The best thing in it is what is observed by Warton: that the listening to the spheres is the recreation of the Genius of the Wood (the speaker) after his day's duty, "when the world is locked up in sleep and silence."
* Glode, is glided. If Chaucer's contemporary had written often thus, his name would have been as famous.
Then listen I
To the celestial Sirens' harmony,
And keep unsteady Nature in her law,
Arcades, v. 62.
The best account I remember to have read of the Music of the Spheres is in the History of Music by Hawkins.
13" Dear lady, welcome home."-Never was a sweeter or more fitting and bridal elegance, than in the whole of this scene, in which gladness and seriousness prettily struggle, each alternately yielding predominance to the other. The lovers are at once in heaven and earth. The new bride is "drawn home" with the soul of love in the shape of music; and to keep her giddy spirits down, she preached that little womanly sermon upon a good deed shining in a “naughty world." The whole play is, in one sense of the word, the most picturesque in feeling of all Shakspeare's. The sharp and malignant beard of the Jew (himself not unreconciled to us by the affections) comes harmlessly against the soft cheek of love.
ANTONY AND THE CLOUDS.
Ant. Eros, thou yet behold'st me?
Eros. Ay, noble lord.
Ant. Sometime we see a cloud that's dragonish :
A vapor sometime; like a bear, or lion,
A tower'd citadel, a pendant rock,
A forked mountain, or blue promontory
With trees upon't that nod unto the world,
And mock our eyes with air; thou hast seen these signs;
Eros. Ay, my lord.