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For, if we two be one, and thou play false,
Ant. S. Plead you to me, fair dame? I know you not:
Luc. Fy, brother! how the world is chang'd with you:
Ant. S. By Dromio?
Adr. By thee; and this thou didst return from him,-
Ant. S. Did you converse, sir, with this gentlewoman? What is the course and drift of your compact?
Dro. S. I, sir? I never saw her till this time.
words Didst thou deliver to me on the mart.
8 I am possess'd with an adulterate blot;
My blood is mingled with the crime of lust:] Both the integrity of the metaphor, and the word blot, in the preceding line, show that we should read:
with the grime of lust: i. e. the stain, smut. So, again, in this play,- A man may go over shoes in the grime of it. Warburton.
9 Being strumpeted -] Shakspeare is not singular in his use of this verb. So, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632:
By this adultress basely strumpeted.” Again:
“ I have strumpeted no Agamemnon's queen.” Steevens. 1 I live dis-stain'd, thou undishonoured.) To distain (from the French word, distaindre) signifies, to stain, defile, pollute. But the context requires a sense quite opposite. We must either read, unstain’d; or, by adding an hyphen, and giving the preposition a privative force, read dis-stain'd; and then it will mean, unstain'd, undefiled. Theobald. I would read:
I live distained, thou dishonoured. That is, As long as thou continuest to dishonour thyself, I also live distained. Heath.
Dro. S. I never spake with her in all my life.
Ant. S. How can she thus then call us by our names, Unless it be by inspiration
Adr. How ill agrees it with your gravity,
• you are from me exempt,] Exempt, separated, parted. The sense is, If I am doomed to suffer the wrong of separation, yet injure not with contempt me who am already injurei Johnson.
Johnson says that exempt means separated, parted; and the use of the word in that sense may be supported by a passage in Beau. mont and Fletcher's Triumph of honour, where Valerius, in the character of Mercury, says
“ To shew rash vows cannot bind destiny,
“They fix you there a rock, whence they're exempt.” Yet I think that Adriana does not use the word exempt in that sense, but means to say, that as he was her husband she had no power over him, and that he was privileged to do her wrong.
M Mason. 3 Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine ; &c.] Thus, in Ovid's 'tale of Vertumnus and Pomona:
“Ulmus erat contra, spatiosa tumentibus uvis:
Complexum.” Catull. 57.
- They led the vine
stronger state,] The old copy hasmestranger. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.
Who, all for want of pruning, with intrusion
Luc. Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.
Dro. S. O, for my beads! I cross me for a sinner.
idle moss ;
$;] i.e. moss that produces no fruit, but being unfertile is useless. So, in Othello:
"- antres vast and desarts idle.” Steevens.
the free'd fallacy.
• the offer'd fallacy." This conjecture is from an anonymous correspondent. Mr. Pope reads-favour'd fallacy. Steevens. ? We talk with goblins, owls, and elvish sprites ;] Here Mr. Theobald calls out, in the name of Nonsense, the first time he had formally invoked her, to tell him how owls could suck their breath, and pinch them black and blue. He therefore alters owls to ouphs, and dares say, that his readers will acquiesce in the justness of his emendation. But, for all this, we must not part with the old reading. He did not know it to be an old popular superstition, that the screech-owl sucked out the breath and blood of infants in the cradle. On this account, the Italians called witches, who were supposed to be in like manner mischievously bent against children, strega from strix the screech-owl. This superstition they had derived from their pagan ancestors, as appears from this passage of Ovid:
“Sunt avidæ volucres; non quæ Phineïa mensis
“ Guttura fraudabant; sed genus inde trahunt.
“Canities pennis, unguibus hamus inest.
“Et vitiant cunis corpora rapta suis.
“ Et plenum poto sanguine guttur habent.
Warburton. Ghastly owls accompany elvish ghosts, in Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar for Fune. So, in Sherringham's Discerptatio de Anglorum Gentis Origine, p. 333: “Lares, Lemures, Stryges, Lamiæ, Manes
If we obey them not, this will ensue,
Luc. Why prat’st thou to thyself, and answer'st not? Dromio, thou drone, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot!8
Dro. S. I am transformed, master, am not I ? 9
No, I am an ape.
(Gastæ dicti) et similes monstrorum Greges, Elvarum Chorea dicebatur.” Much the same is said in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus. Septentrionalibus, p. 112, 113. Tollet.
Owls are also mentioned in Cornucopiæ, or Pasquil's Night-cap, or Antidote for the Headach, 1623, p. 38:
Dreading no dangers of the darksome night,
Steevens. How, it is objected, should Shakspeare know that striges or screech-owls were considered by the Romans as witches? The notes of Mr. Tollet and Mr. Steevens, as well as the following passage in The London Prodigal, a comedy, 1605, afford the best answer to this question: “'Soul, I think, I am sure cross'd or witch'd with an owl.” Malone.
The epithet elvish is not in the first folio, but the second haselves, which certainly was meant for elvish Steevens.
All the emendations made in the second folio having been merely arbitrary, any other suitable epithet of two syllables may have been the poet's word. Mr. Rowe first introduced-elvish.
Malone. I am satisfied with the epithet-elvish. It was probably in. serted in the second folio on some authority which cannot now be ascertained. It occurs again, in King Richard III:
“Thou elvish-mark'd abortive, rooting hog." Why should a book, which has often judiciously filled such vacuities, and rectified such errors, as disgrace the the folio 1623, be so perpetually distrusted? Steevens. 8 Dromio, thou drone, &c.] The old copy reads
Dromio, thou Dromio, snail, thou slug, thou sot! Steevens. This verse is half a foot too long; my correction cures that fault; besides, drone corresponds with the other appellations of reproach. Theobald.
Drone is also a term of reproach applied by Shylock to Launcelot, in The Merchant of Venice :
he sleeps by day
Steevens. am not 1!] Old copy-am I not? Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.
I should kick, being kick’d; and, being at that pass, You would keep from my heels, and beware of an ass. Ant. E. You are sad, signior Balthazar: 'Pray God,
our cheer May answer my good will, and your good welcome here. Bal. I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your wel
come dear. Ant. E. O, signior Balthazar, either at flesh or fish, A table full of welcome makes scarce one dainty dish. Bal. Good meat, sir, is common; that every churl
affords. Ant. E. And welcome more common; for that's no
thing but words. Bal. Small cheer, and great welcome, makes a merry
feast. Ant. E. Ay, to a niggardly host, and more sparing
guest: But though my cates be mean, take them in good part; Better cheer may you have, but not with better heart. But, soft; my door is lock'd; Go bid them let us in.
Dro. E. Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicely, Gillian, Jen'! Dro. S. [within] Mome,5 malt-horse, capon, coxcomb,
idiot, patch! Either get thee from the door, or sit down at the hatch:
Mr. Theobald, instead of doth, reads-don't. Malone.
I do not think this emendation necessary. He first says, that his
wrongs and blows prove him an ass; but immediately, with a correction of his former sentiment, such as may be hourly observed in conversation, he observes that, if he had been an ass, he should, when he was kicked, have kicked again. Johnson.
5 Mome,) A dull stupid blockhead, a stock, a post. This owes its original to the French word Mumon, which signifies the gaming at dice in masquerade, the custom and rule of which is,
that a strict silence is to be observed: whatever sum one stakes, ano. ther covers, but not a word is to be spoken. From hence also comes our word mum! for silence. Hawkins. So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:
Important are th' affairs we have in hand; “ Hence with that Mome!!”
Brutus, forbear the presence.” Steevens.
patch!] i. e. fool. Alluding to the parti-coloured coats worn by the licensed fools or jestets of the age. So, in Macbeth:
what soldiers, patch ?” See notes on A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, sc. ii, and The Merchant of Venice, Act I, sc. i. Steevens.