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single, occasion, been deceived. He objects to the negation no, as "at once superfluous and injurious to the metre ;" yet it is impossible to read the line harmoniously without it. Nor does it constitute the superfluity of the metre, which has, exclusively, two redundant syllables. If any alteration were allowable, it might be the following,
"Know'st not my clothes? No, nor thy tailor, rascal.”
Thou divine nature, how thyself thou blazon'st-
This judicious emendation from thou thyself &c., claimed by one learned gentleman and adopted by another, is the original property of Sir Thomas Hanmer.
Sc. 2. p. 168.
GUI. With female fairies will his tomb be haunted.
i. e. harmless and protecting spirits, not fairies of a mischievous nature.
Sc. 2. p. 169.
GUI. And worms will not come to thee.
Mr. Steevens imputes great violence to this change of person, and would read "come to him ;" but there is no impropriety in Guiderius's sudden address to the body itself. It might indeed be ascribed to our author's careless manner, of which an instance like the present occurs at the beginning of the next act, where Posthumus says,
If each of you would take this course, how many
With charitable bill,-bring thee all this;
Yea and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none
The question made by Dr. Percy, whether the notion of the redbreast covering dead bodies be older than the celebrated ballad of the babes of the wood, has been satisfactorily answered in the affirmative by Mr. Reed's note. In Dekker's Villanies discovered by lanthorn and candle
light, 1616, 4to, it is said: "They that cheere up a prisoner but with their sight, are Robin red breasts that bring strawes in their bils to cover a dead man in extremitie." See chap. xv.
With respect to winter-ground; until some other example of the use of this word be produced, there will be no impropriety in offering a substitute in winter-green, that is, "to preserve thy tomb green with muss in the winter season, when there will be no flowers wherewith to deck it." Such a verb might have been suggested to Shakspeare, who often coins in this way, by the plant winter-green, the pyrola.
Ruddock was the Saxon name, ɲudduc, for the redbreast, and long continued to be so. In Bullokar's Esop, 1585, 12mo, there is a fable "Of a fowlor and the bird cale'd Robin-redbrest," which concludes in these words: "Then the fowlor, hop of-taking many being lost, when it waz now tym too-rest, drawing the netz, he cauht only on Robin-ruddok, which being unhappy [unlucky] had abydd stil in the shrap."
Sc. 2. p. 175.
IMO. 'Od's pittikins!
Mr. Steevens's derivation from God's my pity,
is not quite correct. It is rather from God's pity, diminutively used by the addition of kin. In this manner we have 'od's bodikins.
ON THE STORY OF THIS PLAY.
FOR the plot of Cymbeline, Shakspeare has been almost exclusively indebted to Boccaccio's novel of Bernabo Lomellin, Day 2, novel 9, as Mr. Malone has proved beyond the possibility of doubt. Unless we suppose, what is not probable, that Shakspeare was acquainted with the Italian language, or that he had heard the above novel read by some person in English, a difficulty arises in accounting for the manner in which he got access to it. The earliest English translation of the whole of the Decameron, was first printed in 1620, by Isaac Jaggard, in folio, and in two parts, the first of which was republished under the title of The modell of wit, mirth, eloquence and conversation, framed in ten days of an hundred curious pieces, by seven honourable ladies, and three noble gentlemen, preserved to posterity by the renowned John Boccacio the first refiner
of Italian prose, and now translated into English, 1625, in folio. See more on this subject in a preceding note vol. i. p. 165. Had Shakspeare been intimately acquainted with Boccaccio's Decameron, one should have expected that he would have made considerable use of that work; but this is the only play in which the most material part of the plot has been extracted from it. There are indeed one or two instances in which a very slight use has been made of it, but then evidently through the medium of an English translation. Is it not possible that our author might have known French enough to have occasionally read the Decameron in that language?